Blacksmith's Cottage, Over Cross


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Over Cross, Banham, NR16 2BY


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Statutory Address:
Over Cross, Banham, NR16 2BY

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Breckland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A C17 vernacular cottage with lobby entry plan form, constructed with elements of earlier building phases and showing C19 alterations internally.

Reasons for Designation

Blacksmith's Cottage, built in the C17 incorporating earlier building phases and with alterations in the C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for the survival of its multi-phased historic timber frame utilising fabric from the medieval period, C16 and C17; * for its construction utilising timber, wattle and daub, and thatch, exhibiting local distinctiveness in its materials and craftsmanship; * for the high proportion of survival of the C17 lobby entry plan form which remains largely unaltered.

Historic interest:

* as an unusually complete cottage of relatively low status which has largely escaped modernisation, allowing a rare insight into the rural way of life in Norfolk between the C17 and C19.


This isolated rural cottage within the parish of Banham is first clearly marked on the 1840 tithe map for the parish, but may also appear on maps in 1797 and as early as 1619. The building is timber framed and its fabric reveals a history of reconstruction and reuse, with at least three different types of wall framing present, incorporating material from the medieval period through to the C19. The plan and principal structural elements indicate the building is likely to have arrived at its present form by the mid-C17. Despite its name the cottage only acquired an association with blacksmithing in the second half of the C20.


A C17 vernacular cottage with lobby entry plan form, constructed with elements of earlier building phases and showing C19 alterations internally. Single storey and attic.

MATERIALS Corrugated iron roofing with remnants of local long straw thatch; rendered walling over, timber framing with wattle and daub infill; brick and pamment flooring.

PLAN The ground floor is arranged along the lines of the lobby entry plan type: the principal entrance accesses a lobby to one side of the chimney stack, and leads to each of the main rooms on either side (a larger room to the east and a smaller one to the west). At the east end of the larger eastern room a timber partition screens a pantry and a tight winder stair that is the only access to the first-floor attic. The attic floor plan places one room next to another with the chimney stack in between.

EXTERIOR The building is a simple rectangular shape that has a continuous steeply pitched metal roof with barge-boarded gable ends. The walling is covered in a white render and a pentice board is fixed to the north-west gable at eaves height. There is one window on the north-west gable, and one in the long south-west elevation and three irregularly placed and sized windows appear on the long north-east elevation. There are no windows to the attic. The main entrance is on the south-west elevation and is in-line with the off-centre, through-ridge brick chimney stack, and a secondary doorway appears at the eastern end of the north-east elevation.

INTERIOR At ground floor the lobby is accessed via a six-panelled door and is partly lined in C19 vertical matchboard panelling. In the larger room the fireplace is a C19 cast iron coal grate occupying part of a former inglenook fireplace, the bresumer beam of which extends into the adjoining C19 cupboard. The earlier fabric of this fireplace is in narrow red brick in English bond typical of the C16 or early C17. A second C19 fireplace can be found in the room to the west. The flooring in the ground-floor rooms is of C19 brick and square terracotta pamments. The pantry at the east of the larger room retains shelves and hooks and in the adjoining compartment the staircase winds tightly upwards to the attic. The attic consists of two consecutive rooms with a ceiling at the level of the roof collars. Lightweight common rafters of waney timber are exposed to the interior. The rooms have no natural light, but there are blocked-in openings in both gables at this level. The larger room has an open brick fireplace with a timber bresumer added to the common chimney stack while the smaller room is unheated. Floor boards, some up to 11 inches wide, are laid over common joists. Here and throughout the cottage there is evidence of wattle and daub infill material between the timber framing.


‘Blacksmiths Cottage, Over Cross, Banham, Norfolk, Built Heritage Survey’, Pre-Construct Archaeology Report No: 13932 (November 2019).


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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