Building record BIL 045 - Stair at Dower House 116 High Street

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19th century timber staircase in an early 17th century house.


Grid reference Centred TL 9928 4946 (13m by 13m)
Map sheet TL94NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Dower House occupies a narrow medieval burgage plot in a highly conspicuous position on Bildeston High Street at the eastern end of its market place. The property’s late Georgian facade conceals an early-17th century timber-framed structure of considerable historic interest, preserving a number of ovolo-moulded window mullions, a clasped-purlin roof with a full complement of wind-braces and a fine contemporary chimney with four octagonal shafts and original fireplaces on both floors. The chimney also serves a jettied cross-wing to the north (left) which appears to survive from the early-16th century and contained the parlour of the house, but now belongs in part to the neighbouring property at 118 High Street. The ground-floor room of Dower House formed a hall of two bays but was subdivided in the early-19th century when a service wing or bay to the right was probably demolished to create the present vehicle access. The ceiling incorporates re-used ogee-moulded joists that may well have been salvaged from an earlier hall on the site. The upper storey is reached by a rare contemporary stair tower in the angle of the parlour cross-wing behind the chimney, but the original newel stair was removed during the extensive late-Georgian refurbishment. It was replaced by a softwood staircase with a moulded hand rail, turned newel post and ‘stick’ balustrade of circa 1820 which rises to a spacious first-floor landing and affords access via a rear corridor to the various bedrooms. The boarded stair which continues to the attic storey dates from the same phase of refurbishment and consists of a mixture of oak, elm and deal planks confined behind a partition of re-used studs. The fashionable enlargement of the stair landing on the first floor confined it to an exceptionally small space against the rear gable of the stair tower and necessitated a steep pitch which, when combined with its narrow upper treads, is undoubtedly perilous. The boards of the lower steps have split and require replacement (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2012. Historical Assessment: Stair at Dower House, 116 High Street, Bildeston.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Feb 18 2019 3:35PM

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