Farmstead record WTH 050 - Farmstead: Hall Barn

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Summary

Hall Farm, Withersfield. 16th century farmstead and 19th century farmhouse. Regular courtyard F-shaped plan formed by working agricultural buildings. The farmhouse is attached to the agricultural range. The farm buildings are extant. Located within an isolated position.

Location

Grid reference Centred TL 6554 4760 (84m by 96m)
Map sheet TL64NE
Civil Parish WITHERSFIELD, ST EDMUNDSBURY, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (6)

Full Description

The thatched barn at Withersfield Hall is one of the most remarkable in the county. Extending to over 73 feet in length by 20 feet in width and rising to no less than 20 feet at its eaves it was built in the early-16th century as a timber-framed structure of exceptional status. Its original layout and subsequent alterations were both abnormal, and it appears to have been designed as a park lodge or possibly the parlour wing of a demolished courtyard house rather than a complete dwelling in its own right. Initially containing seven bays it was extended northwards by an additional two bays in the early-19th century and converted into a barn by removing its internal ceilings and partitions, showing carved Tudor door heads.

An inspection of the empty stud mortises in the tie-beams and a single remaining binding joist reveals the building's original layout, with three large rooms on the ground floor and five on the upper. A narrow central bay of 5 feet contained a trimmer for either a stair or chimney. Although the framing is largely intact in the eastern and western walls, no original timbers survive in the gables and it seems certain that both were abutted by massive chimney stacks heating the principal rooms. Numerous windows on the eastern wall containing hollow-moulded mullions including a projected oriel or bay window in the centre of the northern room 25feet in length. No evidence of any windows on either floor in the entire western elevation, with the only original features represented by the two external doors in the narrow stair bay. The upper storey contained three single-bay chambers to the south of the stair, all of wich had ceilings at collar height, and a further pair to the north with ceilings at eaves level. The roof structure of collared rafters survives in the southern chambers but has been rebuilt elsewhere. The foliate carved spandrels and sharply defined four-centred arches of the remaining door heads indicate a date in the second quarter of the 16th century, with the 1520s or 30s most likley.

A major refurbishment in the mid-16th century saw the addition of a 6ft rare jettied gallery to the western wall which replaced the two-storied structure abutting ther original entrance. This contained west-facing windows and was entered by a doorway in its northern gable. Additional doors with carved heads were inserted into the upper and lower storeys of the original building to link their various rooms to the new gallery, which contained and original staircase at its southern end. A number of additional windows were inserted into the eastern wall as part of this remodelling, and the original wattle-and-daub appears to have been replaced with expensive brick nogging (S1).

Hall Farm, Withersfield. 16th century farmstead and 19th century farmhouse. Regular courtyard F-shaped plan formed by working agricultural buildings. The farmhouse is attached to the agricultural range. The farm buildings are extant. Located within an isolated position (S2-7).

Recorded as part of the Farmsteads in the Suffolk Countryside Project. This is a purely desk-based study and no site visits were undertaken. These records are not intended to be a definitive assessment of these buildings. Dating reflects their presence at a point in time on historic maps and there is potential for earlier origins to buildings and farmsteads. This project highlights a potential need for a more in depth field study of farmstead to gather more specific age data.

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <S1> Article in serial: Alston, L.. Spring 2017. Withersfield Hall Barn, Eavesdropper, No. 55, pp.8-10.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Campbell, G., and McSorley, G. 2019. SCCAS: Farmsteads in the Suffolk Countryside Project.
  • <S3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1880s. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 1st edition.
  • <S4> Map: Ordnance Survey. c 1904. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 2nd edition. 25".
  • <S5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1949. Ordnance Survey 6 inch to 1, mile, 3rd edition. 1:10,560.
  • <S6> Vertical Aerial Photograph: various. Google Earth.
  • <S7> Map: 1841. Withersfield Tithe Map.

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 11 2019 3:37PM

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