Farmhouse, early- to mid-C16 with subsequent later phases.
Reasons for Designation
Slough Farm, a house of early- to mid-C16 with subsequent later phases is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a late two-bay hall house illustrating traditional forms of carpentry and construction in C16 Surrey;
* in the subsequent phases which reflect changing vernacular building traditions, plan forms and patterns of internal joinery and detailing.
* as an example of a C16 farmhouse evolved to accommodate changing standards of domestic comfort and patterns of occupation over more than 400 years.
Slough Farm, known prior to the mid-C19 as Claygate Farm, is situated to the north of the village of Claygate, in the northern part of the county of Surrey. It has been proposed that the farm could occupy the site of the Court of Claygate, a medieval demesne farm belonging to the estate of Westminster Abbey (J Richards, Claygate Court – A Discovery).
The house now stands as the only pre-C20 building on the farm and inspection of its fabric suggests its primary phase may date from the first half of the C16. The house possibly originated as a four-bay house with a central two-bay open hall. The gablet on the north end of the roof supports the theory that the house had an open hall, as does the fact that the floor structure over the two central bays appears to be a secondary insertion. Two-bay open halls are less common in Surrey after about 1440 but they do continue to be found until around the mid-C16. Visible elements of the roof trusses indicate a queen post roof with side purlins; this typology becoming much more common in Surrey after 1500.
The evolution of the two central bays seems complex; their ceiling-over might be expected to coincide with the insertion of the large brick stack. The stack has clearly undergone subsequent alteration, but aspects in the joinery of the inserted floor, close to the fireplace opening, indicate a lost feature contemporary with the floor, possibly a stair or screen, thus the stack in its current position or configuration may be later than the inserted floor. What does appear clear from the fabric is that the building underwent a campaign of works in the late C17 or early C18, with the addition of a parlour cross-wing to the east, and a stair inserted in the north bay of the early house. At some point the exterior of the house was faced in brick. The brickwork is difficult to date and appears to have been applied in several phases, in some cases one phase not bonded into an adjacent phase.
A later extension was added to the south of the house, possibly in the C19. This led to the south end wall of the early house being entirely opened up to the new extension, although the corner posts of the frame, the girding beam and the tie beam remain in-situ. At ground floor, the south bay (probably the lower end of the early house) became largely occupied by a stack to heat the new extension, built against the back of the inserted stack in the hall. Anecdotally, the south extension was used to accommodate casual labourers in the C20, with a ladder giving access to the attic space above; the ladder has since been replaced by a stair. The house suffered some blast damage during the Second World War after a nearby doodle bug strike; repair work included replacing some of the tiles on the roof.
Farmhouse, early- to mid-C16 with subsequent later phases.
MATERIALS: the building is of timber-framed construction, clad in later brick. The roof is covered in clay-tiles. Doors are timber and windows are of uPVC.
PLAN: the house is orientated to face south-east, but for ease of reference the front elevation will be referred to as east, the rear west, and the two ends north and south. The building has two storeys, except the extension to the south which has a single storey plus attic. The principal roof is hipped, with later additions having gables.
The early house appears to be of four structural bays, but evidence for the two internal bay divisions to the south is scant. A pair of opposing doors in the east and west elevations, within the second bay to the south, may be the vestiges of a cross-passage, now separated by a large internal brick stack opening into the central bays, the likely position of the open hall, now a dining room. The bay division to the north, the likely upper end of the hall, appears to be in-situ, with the north bay now divided into a stair lobby and pantry. On the first floor the north bay is divided between stair landing and bathroom and the hall bays form two bedrooms.
To the east, a cross wing of about 1700 with a large external stack projects from the two northernmost bays; this contains a single room on each floor.
To the south, the end of the early house has been opened up into a C19 extension. Much of the southern bay is taken up by a large brick stack built against the back of the earlier one, opening into the extension, now kitchen. The attic space over the kitchen is reached by a C20 stair. There are several small lean-tos to the rear of the building.
EXTERIOR: the building’s exterior is defined by three distinct phases of construction: the early house, clad in later yellow brick, a deep hipped roof with gablet to the north of the ridge and chimney stack to the south; the red-brick parlour cross-wing of about 1700, with gable end and substantial, shouldered external stack on its south flank wall; and the C19, gable-ended extension to the south, in line with the early house but with a lower roof.
About half of the east front of the early house is masked by the parlour wing, which has a single window to the east on each floor, both under segmental arches. The ground-floor windows of the early house (which are found only to the rear) have heavy lintels, whereas first-floor windows are tucked beneath the eaves. The only element of the timber frame visible externally is the south-east corner post; the opposing post to the south-west is visible within a later rear lean-to.
INTERIOR: the building is entered to the east side of the large inserted stack which faces into the two central bays. The floor frame in the central bays is exposed and comprises a spine beam embedded into the stack to the south and into the bay division to the north; floor joists span between the spine beam and east and west walls of the house, visibly resting on the girding beam of the east wall. The beam and joists are chamfered and stopped. Notably, the chamfers and stops on the spine beam stop short of the stack, and a filled mortice socket at this point aligns with several filled mortice sockets in the adjacent joist to the east which is also un-chamfered. The next joist to the south is also un-chamfered and rougher in character. This evidence points to a missing feature in this location, perhaps some form of baffle or screen, perhaps the location of a stair. The large square-framed panels of the timber frame are visible in the east wall.
The north bay is entered through a wide, moulded plank door, possibly contemporary with the stair of about 1700. The stair is straight, with a wind at the top and a balustrade of turned vase balusters, a wide moulded handrail and square newels. At first floor the rooms are ceiled to collar height and the lower part of a queen-post truss is visible in the north bay division. Sections of wall plate and bay posts are visible in some areas.
The south bay is now predominantly occupied by a later stack, but at ground floor the girding beam of the end wall is exposed in the ceiling of the kitchen. Empty mortice sockets indicate lost wall framing and a diagonal inset in the south face of the beam indicates a missing down-brace. In the attic room above, the corner posts and wall plate of the early frame are visible, the plate also displaying empty mortice joints on the underside.
The cross wing to the east has a single room at each floor; the ground-floor room has a substantial east/west spine beam with deep chamfers and stops. The floor joists are ceiled over.