Monument record BSE 475 - Cupola House, 17th century timber framed and jetted

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Cupola House, well discovered in the cellar chimneys and fireplaces recorded.


Grid reference Centred TL 8528 6426 (15m by 13m)
Map sheet TL86SE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Cupola House is a late 17th century Grade 1 listed building.In 2012 fire damaged the building.

During work to rebuild the late 17th century Cupola House a bricked-up entrance to a small
subterranean room was uncovered which was an annex to the extensive cellars that lay
beneath the house. The arch-headed entrance and the room were part of the original build and
an integral part of the cellar. The annex room extends outside the footprint of the above-ground
house; it is lower than the main cellar and would have been accessed by a short flight of steps.
The brick vaulted annex room was sealed off probably during the early 18th century leaving the
arch as a blind recess and the arch itself was bricked up later on in the same century. The
annex room remains intact but is now full, almost to its roof, with spoil.. Also found was a medieval well (S1).
The two chimney stacks of the Grade I listed, 17th century, Cupola House were surveyed as
part of the ongoing recording work related to the reconstruction programme following the fire in
2012. During the aftermath both chimneys were truncated for reasons of safety; the north
chimney at the second floor hearth, the south one at the third floor (attic) hearth. It is estimated
that at least 3-4m has been lost from their full extents but despite this the recorded heights were
still more than 10m and 14m respectively.

The two chimneys are contemporary and part of the original fabric of Cupola House and were
constructed in conjunction with the raising of the timber-frame in 1693 and when built served in
total fifteen fireplaces. The only fireplace left in its original form is probably the basement
kitchen; this is only a simple opening but its bressumer beam remains unmolested. The
attribution of the ‘Queen Anne style’ deep bolection-moulded fireplaces, of which only the south
chimney ground floor example survives, was uncertain when recorded in 2003; this style of
moulding dates from the turn of the 18th century and therefore could be considered as part of
the house’s original design. Evidence, however, from the survey shows that the south chimney
on the second floor chimney was modified very early in its history to accommodate such a
fireplace and therefore the installation of these may have been the work of William Macro
updating updating his father’s house twenty years after it was built (S2).

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Gill D. 2014. Archaeological Monitoring Report, Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds Basement Recording.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Gill D. 2014. Archaeological Monitoring / Survey Report, Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds, Chimney Recording.
  • <S3> Source Unchecked: RCHME?. Various. Field Investigators Comments. F1 PAS 26-MAR-81.
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: District of St Edmundsbury. 1974. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. DOE (HHR) Borough of Bury St Edmunds Suff 12 7 72, 202.

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Record last edited

Mar 12 2021 11:56AM

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