591/0/10020 GREAT WALDINGFIELD
21-NOV-05 HOLE FARM
House. Formerly a mid-C15 service building remodelled as a house in c.1600; later C17 extension to west; c.1970 jettied cross-wing. Two storeys. The building is of timber-framed construction, rendered, with a plain tile roof, hipped at the east end and two lateral brick stacks. The plan essentially comprises a long east-west range divided by an entrance passage, with two rooms to the east, one to either side of the chimney stack. To the west of the cross-passage are two further rooms, a second stack, and west again, a c.1970s jettied cross-wing. There are further projections to the rear.
The main façade is the result of C20 restoration. The central door and all of the casement windows are C20 insertions. The jettied cross wing to the west was added in c.1970. Windows to the rear are also C20, including the long windows in the rear wall of the staircase tower (now the dining hall). The largely C20 facade masks an interior which contains evidence for the original timber-framed building on the site and its subsequent development.
The earliest building, a multi-functional service building attached to an earlier manor house (Alston 2005), originally extended an impressive 17m (56 feet) from the current east gable to the present kitchen, in which exposed framing provides evidence of the former gable end. This building was quite narrow at only 4.6m (15 feet). The entrance passage and rendered screen appear to be insertions of c.1600. The substantial plain ceiling joists visible in the passage extend to the east as far as the central binding joist in the adjacent hall. The joists beyond are later insertions of smaller section and not pegged to the joist. The ceiling and chimney in this part of the structure are secondary, indicated by the heavy sooting of the beams in the roof above, suggesting that this was an open hall heated by a an open hearth. The wide brick fireplace with chamfered bressumer is typical of c.1600. The fireplace on the east side of the chimney in the room beyond is concealed behind a small C20 replacement and the timbers in this room concealed under render.
The evidence suggests that the open hall was originally L-shaped (or 'boot-shaped')in long section, with its western half floored over. The chamber above this floored section contains an open truss, with high chamfered tie-beam braces to maximise headroom. This truss has subsequently been infilled to separate the two bays of the original chamber. On the east side of the former open hall was a single floored bay (as indicated by gable windows with grooves for sliding shutters). Evidence in the surviving timber-frame suggests that the first-floor of this chamber was not closed off from the hall; smoke entered beneath a tie-beam with heavy, unchamfered braces (of which only the front example survives, exposed in part in the east bathroom). This chamber must have resembled an open-sided storage loft in a barn. Unusually, above this, a solid wall of heavily sooted studs with wattle and daub infill rises from the tie-beam to the collar above, leaving a triangular area beneath the roof apex, presumably to permit smoke to escape out of an open gablet above the hip. The sooting in this part of the roof is exceptionally heavy.
There is evidence in the timber-framing to indicate that this building was originally attached to a second structure, possibly a former manor house, located to the south. There is also evidence for a rear wing or lean-to (Alston, 2005, 4).
The entire roof of the building is intact and is of simple collared rafter construction without crown posts, with hipped gables and much original wattle and daub in its partitions. The heavy sooting of the latter and joint pegs of the rafters are indications that it has not been moved from elsewhere and re-assembled. The majority of the rafters and collars in this C15 roof are re-used from a C13 roof, probably salvaged from another open hall on the same site, as all are were heavily sooted before re-use. They all contain empty lap joints for raking struts above their collars. This type of lap joint is usually associated with buildings of the C13 or earlier.
At about 1600 the building was substantially remodelled. A brick chimney was built in the former open hall, now the sitting room, which contains a large open fireplace, with bressumer. The remaining open area of the former hall was floored over and the common joists, narrower than the C15 joists on the west side of the binding joist, are exposed in the sitting room. In the bedroom above is a smaller c.1600 brick fireplace with a four-centre arched head and chamfered brick surround. The cross passage at the west end of the former hall, now the entrance hall, was also formed at this time, and the rear door with four-centred arch was inserted. A staircase tower (the galleried dining hall) was built to accommodate a staircase that rose to a new doorway cut through the old back wall of the building. The close studding of the staircase tower is exposed, as is a blocked two-light window in the west wall at first-floor level. In the late C17, the staircase tower was extended to the north and the main wing of the house extended to the west by c. 6m (20ft, both extensions utilising re-used late C15 or eary-C16 timbers. The framing is closely spaced studding with long tension braces. A renovation of c.1970 saw the further addition of a cross-wing at the west end of the house, jettied to the front and rear. The narrow flat roofed rear extension was also added to accommodate the ground and first-floor corridors.
Summary of Importance:
The façade of Hole Farm conceals a complex timber-framed building which has seen several phases of construction, starting out as a service building to a manorial hall. It retains a remarkably complete C15 roof built of C13 timbers, and meets the criteria for listing.
Alston, L, June 2005, Hole Farm, Great Waldingfield, Suffolk. Outline Survey of Historic Fabric, unpublished report.