Abel's Farm


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
134 Widney Lane, Solihull, B91 3LH


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Statutory Address:
134 Widney Lane, Solihull, B91 3LH

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

Solihull (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A timber-framed dwelling of late-C16 origin, with later additions and C20 extensions and alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Abel’s Farm, a late-C16 timber-framed building in Solihull, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * as a good example of a C16 timber-framed dwelling, with a good level of survival in the three eastern bays with plan-form and interconnecting rooms still legible on the first floor.

Historic interest: * despite later alteration and extension, the C16 core of the building is relatively unaltered and provides evidence of construction methods and techniques used during the post-medieval period; * some of the later alterations, such as the insertion of the first-floor corridor, demonstrate the evolving way of life of the inhabitants of the building over the course of subsequent centuries.


Abel’s Farm is likely to date to the late-C16 as evidenced by the surviving timber framing. The building is shown on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map as a range oriented west-east fronting Widney Lane with a small extension at the centre of the range abutting to the rear (south).

While the four-room plan form of the C16 range remains legible, and much of the timber-framing survives, some alteration has taken place with the ground floor reception room at the centre of the building having had the joists replaced and the beam supported at the east end, possibly due to the removal of a larger stack in that location. On the first floor a corridor has been inserted along the south elevation, possibly in the C18, with the original doorway openings between the rooms infilled.

In the mid-C20 the building was further extended to the rear to provide a kitchen, sunroom and rear stair hall to the south along with a detached double garage to the south-east. The western bay of the building was also altered at this time to create a garage with a large opening at ground floor created to accommodate a garage door. A further period of alteration took place in the 1980s with new timber applied to the northern and western elevations of the western bay, to mimic the historic timber-framing. The eastern gable-end was also repaired at this time with new timber-framing applied to the exterior. The building was also extended in the 1980s which saw further extension to the south east to create an adjoining snooker room to the formerly detached garage.


A timber-framed dwelling of late-C16 origin, with later additions and C20 extensions and alterations.

MATERIALS: a timber-framed building with tiled roof, rendered brick and brick chimney stacks.

PLAN: the building is a linear range of four bays with two stacks, one on the west gable-end and one situated to the east between the first and second bays. To the rear is a perpendicular range, running north-south. A large C20 garage extension is situated to the south-east of the principal range and is accessed by a lean-to conservatory connected to the house.

EXTERIOR: the building is one-and-a-half storeys with small square box framing and diagonal braces in the upper half of the first (eastern) bay and in the second and third bays. There is a plinth at the eastern end. The principal elevation is of four bays, each with a dormer window. All of the dormers contain late-C20 uPVC casement windows. At ground floor, the first bay contains a small uPVC casement window while a large bay window has been inserted into the second. The third bay features a small, mid-C20 entrance porch with hipped roof. A garage door has been inserted into the final bay, which was partly re-faced in the late-C20 with the timber renewed on the northern and western elevations. The eastern gable contains a further bay window at ground floor with C20 casement above. The rear of the building has been extended, with a two-storey projecting range to the centre, a single-storey extension to the west, and a lean-to conservatory to the east which links to a further large-C20 extension to the south-east.

INTERIOR: the main range has four cells to each storey, defined by the bay partitions of the timber-framed structure. The principal entrance leads to a hallway with timber posts visible to the rear (south), at the original extent of the C16 building. The east wall of the hall is a timber partition. The entrance hall leads to a sitting room to the east with beam running west-east with bar stop at the western end. The eastern end of the beam has been reinforced with an inserted support below, possibly following the reduction in depth of a chimneybreast. The joists appear to be later replacements and are slightly chamfered without stops. The second reception room is located at the eastern end of the building and features a deeply chamfered beam with chamfered joists and bar stops. The westernmost cell of the building is used as a garage, and retains the remains of a fireplace on the western gable-end wall.

On the upper floor, the rooms have timber-framed stud partitions beneath closed queen-post roof trusses with purlins and wind braces; some of this fabric is exposed, while sections are encased in later fabric or partially replaced. The bedroom located at the western end of the house has visible purlins and architrave with pintle latch leading to a corridor along the south elevation of the building with visible sill and wall plate. Moving east, the next bedroom has visible timber partitions in either wall denoting the bays of the building. A former doorway can be seen in the eastern wall, linking it to the room beyond. The wall plate is visible in the northern wall, with two purlins carrying through from the neighbouring bedroom to the west. From the next bedroom the other side of the partition and doorway can be seen with purlins carrying on further to the east. Chiselled carpenters’ marks are visible on some of the partition timbers. The final bedroom is located at the eastern end of the house and has a small inserted en-suite bathroom. Its western wall contains a further timber partition and the northern wall contains a wall plate with roof braces partially visible above.

To the rear of the ground floor, now in use as the breakfast room, is the historic extension with timber framing, ceiling beam and joists dating from the late-C18/earlyC19. This was extended to the south and west in the mid-C20 to provide a new stair hall, WC and single-storey kitchen. Above a landing, bathroom and shower room serve the main range. There is a late-C20 lean-to conservatory to the south-east, and a large garage/snooker room.




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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