Building record BRK 167 - Late 15th/early 16th century detached kitchen or bakehouse, Clay Hall

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A late-15th or early-16th century rare ‘two-cell’ structure representing a rare detached kitchen or bake-house belonging to a larger farmhouse to the rear that had disappeared by the 19th century.


Grid reference Centred TM 0903 5239 (11m by 13m)
Map sheet TM05SE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

At first sight the building appears typical of the many small 16th and 17th century timber-framed farmhouses which survive across Suffolk, albeit in an unusual state of preservation having escaped recent modernisation and extension. It reflects the ubiquitous domestic room plan of the period, with a central hall flanked by a pair of service rooms on the north and a brick chimney heating both the hall and a parlour to the south. However, the house never possessed an open truss and on closer inspection reveals a far more complex and historically interesting process of evolution. It was built in the late-15th or early-16th century as a rare ‘two-cell’ structure of just 29.5 feet in length with a cross-passage, a single service room and a floored hall heated by a large external chimney against its gable. Although small, its frame was of high quality and almost certainly represents a rare detached kitchen or bake-house belonging to a larger farmhouse to the rear that had disappeared by the 19th century. A new bay containing a pair of service rooms replaced the gable chimney in the early part of the 17th century, and part of the hall ceiling was removed to accommodate the open furnace of a brewing vat that heavily sooted both the remaining joists and the timbers of the upper storey. This was in turn replaced by the present brick chimney with back-to-back fireplaces which obstructs the original cross-passage and retains a 19th century copper and bread oven. The historic importance of the building lies in its fine and largely intact timber frame, retaining both arched door heads to the cross-passage; its identification as a rare detached bake-house and the subtle evidence of its numerous alterations over the centuries – including its sub-division into cottages (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: 2012. Heritage Asset Assessment: Clay Hall, Darmsden.

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Record last edited

Sep 11 2019 3:47PM

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