Building record WLN 105 - Holly Tree Cottage, The Street

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Late 18th century grade-II listed structure with original ceiling


Grid reference Centred TM 4415 6912 (14m by 15m)
Map sheet TM46NW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Holly Tree Cottage is a grade II-listed structure dated by English Heritage to the late-18th century. Although now a single property it was built as a pair of identical semi-detached tenements, each consisting of a narrow service room of just 5.5 feet in length and a two-bay hall of 14 feet heated by a shared central chimney. There is evidence of blocked cross-passages between the hall and service bays. Much of the timber is re-used but the wide oak floorboards and the neatly chamfered joists of the ground-floor ceilings are typical of the late-17th century and the present external brickwork of the late-18th or early-19th century probably represents a later facing to walls of clay or flint-rubble. The chimney was rebuilt at the same time. Small semi-detached tenements of this early period are rare survivals and the building is accordingly of considerable historic interest.

The ceiling of the upper storey appears to be original and retains early clay plaster where it survives intact in the left-hand (north-eastern) tenement. This plaster had been replaced in the late-20th century by plasterboard in the right-hand tenement (with the exception of a small cupboard adjoining the chimney), and this was removed in turn as part of the current restoration work. The remaining joists are secured to the rafters by large blacksmith-made nails and consist largely of re-used timber as elsewhere in the structure. Panels of lime plaster remain in situ between the rafters above the level of the missing ceiling, ostensibly suggesting the latter was inserted into a chamber that was originally open to the apex of its roof. In fact, however, this upper tier of plaster respects the ceiling, with a roughly finished lower edge where the two adjoined, and it represents rare evidence of the rendering of a roof-void against drafts and damp above a chamber ceiling. This evidence is best preserved to the rear of the service chamber, which is divided from the hall chamber by an original framed partition that incorporates re-used sections of a high-status egg-and-dart carved oriel window of the early-17th century. This partition also respects the ceiling, and never continued above (as would be expected if the ceiling was secondary).

Although the ceiling joists remain intact in the service chamber, several have been replaced with softwood between the chimney and the dormer windows of the hall chamber, offering some scope for removing a section of the ceiling while avoiding the loss of any historic fabric (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2015. Historic Asset Assessment of Ceiling: Holly Tree Cottage, The Street, Westleton.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 2 2019 2:31PM

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