Building record SAL 033 - Farm buildings at Chevers Farm (now known as the Laurels)

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16th century former farmhouse, barn and stables


Grid reference Centred TM 1411 5905 (78m by 66m)
Map sheet TM15NW


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Chevers Farm lies to the west of Crowfield Road at the south-eastern margin of the village of Stonham Aspal, and formerly faced a medieval green known as Broad Green. The grade Iilisted farmhouse is a high-status merchant or minor gentry house which contains an early-16th century parlour cross-wing, jettied towards the green, and a slightly later rear hall and service range which is jettied to a southern courtyard – reflecting an apparent change of orientation. The property was known until recently as The Laurels, but reverted to its supposed medieval name after the publication of a local history in 1971. The present buildings were probably built by the affluent Camp family in the 16th century when the site was known as Camps. The weatherboard and partly pargeted structure known as the barn, which forms the subject of this report, lies 10 metres south-east of the house and divides the courtyard from the adjacent road. It was not built as a barn and probably represents a rare timber-framed stable of the early-16th century. It retains a re-used rail from an 18th or 19th century hay rack which bears the painted names of three horses: Peacock, Frolik and Prince, but has otherwise been stripped of any relevant fixtures and fittings. The building contains a structure of three bays with an original roof of trussed rafters and extends to 13.1 metres in overall length by 4.7 metres in width (43 ft 6 ins by 15 ft 4 ins). It was originally divided into two compartments of one and two bays respectively, each entered by external doors from the courtyard and possibly with a third door on the east forming a cross-passage. The eastern wall consisted of closely spaced timbers with a mid-rail and was exposed externally to passers-by, while the western wall and hipped southern gable (the latter with a hooded open gablet) were rendered externally. The eastern wall has been largely destroyed, precluding any precise analysis of the building’s original layout, but at present there is no obvious evidence of either fenestration or an original ceiling. The building adjoined an ostentatious jettied gatehouse which spanned the entrance to the courtyard, and the fragmentary wall of this structure, demolished prior to the earliest known map of 1839, now forms its northern gable. Remarkably, a truncated jetty bracket projects through the secondary tarred weatherboarding at the north-eastern corner. The building is of great historic interest as a rare early-16th century stable, and for the evidence it contains of the sophisticated nature of rural base courts in Tudor Suffolk (S1).

Farm buildings adjacent to SAL 025, a medieval moat. The listed farmhouse is a high-status merchant or minor gentry house which contains a late-15th century parlour crosswing, jetting towards the green, and a slightly later hall and service range which is jettied to a southern courtyard, reflecting a change of orientation. The medieval hall was replaced at the beginning of the 16th century by a more up-to-date hall with a moulded ceiling, high-end chimney, cross-passage and service rooms. The unusual change of location and direction is likely to have coincided with the construction of a new yard with a stable and jettied gatehouse facing the green. The hall preserves the remians of a fine carved corbel block. During the 17th century a kitchen cross-wing consiting of largely re-used 14th century timber was added to the west of the 16th century service gable. A rare fragment of original pargeting survives in the roof of a slightly later lean-to extension. Further additions were made during the 18th and 19th centuries. Also present is a 4 bay timber-framed and weatherboarded 16th C barn, which would have originally been thatched. The small size of the barn suggests that it was used to house cows. The barn re-uses a number of timbers and the north gable may have been part of an earlier structure. Also present is a 16th C timber-framed structure which was probably used as a stable (S1 & S2).

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2008. Archaeological Record: Chevers Farm, Stonham Aspal.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Aitkens, P and Wade-Martins, S.. 1998. The Farmsteads of Suffolk. A Thematic Study.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2014. Heritage Asset Assessment: Chevers Farm, Stonham Aspal.

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Record last edited

Oct 26 2022 10:27AM

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