History in Structure

Former tithe barn at the Manor House

A Grade II Listed Building in Chelford, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.2647 / 53°15'52"N

Longitude: -2.271 / 2°16'15"W

OS Eastings: 382018

OS Northings: 374219

OS Grid: SJ820742

Mapcode National: GBR DZLP.3F

Mapcode Global: WHBBM.26TL

Plus Code: 9C5V7P7H+VH

Entry Name: Former tithe barn at the Manor House

Listing Date: 28 November 1984

Last Amended: 29 April 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1115550

English Heritage Legacy ID: 59043

ID on this website: 101115550

Location: Cheshire East, Cheshire, SK11

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Chelford

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Chelford St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Tagged with: Tithe barn

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A timber-framed barn of C16 origins with a pre-1850 brick addition, substantial repairs following a serious fire of 2006, and C21 alterations relating to partial conversion to residential use.


A barn of late-C16 origins with later alterations, and extensive C21 repairs and alterations after a serious fire.

MATERIALS: timber, brick, stone and a stone flag roof.

PLAN: a linear range aligned north-south.

EXTERIOR: the east wall is now the front. To the left this is largely obscured by a low lean-to outshut (excluded from the listing) which forms an entrance to living accommodation in the former store extension at the southern end of the barn. Above the outshut are five visible courses of hand-made brick, with an additional lower course concealed by a continuous lead flashing. The brick is laid in stretcher bond, with a single header course. This begins at the left as the fourth visible course up, jumping up at the right to the fifth visible course. At the extreme right are thirteen headers on their side which occupy the fourth and fifth courses, with a single course of stretchers above.
To the right of the outshut are modern full-height barn doors hung from timber posts, and six bays of timber framing with brick nogging. This stands on a red-sandstone sill. There are angled braces to both sides at the foot and head of the post to the right of the barn-doors, and of the angle-post at the right, which is the only new member of this stretch of framing. The brick nogging is laid in stretcher bond using hand-made bricks. This section of wall is largely obscured by an attached car-port with a duo-pitch roof, constructed from historic timbers and with a blue slate roof. The barn has a graduated stone-flag roof with lead-lined timber gutter on iron stays.

The left return wall of the entrance outshut is keyed into the south wall of the southern extension. This is constructed of hand-made bricks, laid generally to a variant English Garden Wall bond with four stretcher courses between header courses. This wall is mostly obscured by the cottage to the south and glazed links between the two buildings (none included), but is visible at ground-floor to the east, and from within the links. The gable has chamfered timber verge plates, supported by the purlins.

Returning to the left is the west wall, with a similar timber gutter to the east wall. At the right the walling is the same as the south wall, but with, above the heads of the ground-floor openings, different mortar joints. Above this section are two modern conservation rooflights. At the right is a glazed doorway with a segmental head, to the left of this a small window with a segmental head and modern frame, and left of this a former doorway with a segmental head, now bricked-in below a modern window. To the left of this the barn wall is timber-framed with brick nogging. There are 14 posts, of which numbers (from the left) 5, 7, 10 and 11 are historic with fire damage, and the rest are modern. The mid-rails and braces of this wall are also historic with fire damage and some repairs; the sill and wall-plate are modern. The red-sandstone sill is in-situ. There are angle braces to posts 1, 6 and 11. Timber-plank doors have been inserted in bays 4 and 9-10. Bays 6-7 show historic alterations including the removal of the sandstone sill and subsequent blocking in brick. There is an inserted window in bay 3 below the eaves. The brick nogging is of hand-made bricks in stretcher bond.

Returning at the left is the north wall. This is entirely of modern timber-framing of six bays and three levels, standing on the in-situ red-sandstone sill and with nogging of hand-made bricks in herring-bone pattern. The wall-plate, two purlins and ridge-purlin are all exposed, the purlins entrenched in the queen-strut gable truss, with collar. Between the struts the brick is laid in a checker pattern of alternating horizontal and vertical three-brick panels. There are braces to all four corners.

INTERIOR: in the northern section (comprising the original timber-framed portion), the walls and roof are exposed. The southern gable truss is concealed by a later skin of brick (but is exposed within the former store to the south, with modern wattle-and-daub infill). There are two central trusses, each with a king strut and two angle-struts. Both tie-beams are historic, with fire damage. All other roof timbers are modern, in oak. Below the northern central truss are stub walls at either end, with a single post, two rails and angled braces. The southern central truss has longer stub walls of the same design but with two posts each. The southern bay of the timber-framed barn has inserted plasterboard partitions creating a utility room and small stairwell, approximately one metre south of the stub walls. On the eastern wall between the stub wall and the partition can be seen the burnt end of a timber embedded in the brickwork. Within the utility room the applied skin to the repaired timber-framed wall has herring-bone brickwork and applied timber fillets in imitation of timber framing.

The structural timbers are visible on the south side of this wall, within the former store extension. The western end of the wall has a doorway into the stairwell, with five bays of timber framing to the right, with stretcher-bond brick nogging. The red-sandstone sill is supported by concrete infill and it, the timber sill and the mid-rail all stop short of the eastern wall. There is a straight vertical joint with the eastern wall and the courses of it are misaligned with those of the timber-framed wall. The three outer walls of the former store are of exposed brick, retaining several burnt ends of embedded timber. The ceiling is supported by re-used beams which are roughly-shaped. The western one has stave holes. Both ends of the eastern beam, and the north end of the western beam, are supported by modern timber corbels attached to the north and south walls. The south wall has a doorway with architrave of re-used timber, leading into the glazed link (not included) to Wisteria Cottage.

The modern stair leads to the first-floor store room which is now converted to a bedroom and bathroom with modern fittings. All of the roof timbers are modern, as are the rooflights and the door to the glazed link. The bedroom is plastered, with an exposed fire-damaged horizontal timber in the south wall.


The earliest map on which the building can be located with some certainty is the Cheshire tithe map which was surveyed between 1836 and 1851. The length of the building and the presence of the outshut projecting westwards at its southern end on this map suggest that the barn had already been considerably extended by this date, which is supported by the physical and other evidence.

Ordnance Survey (OS) map evidence from 1872 to 1975 suggests that the lean-to outhouse mentioned in the original List description was added in the second quarter of the C19 using earlier timbers (rather than being of C18 date), and that in the same period the southern outshut of the barn was removed and the building now called Wisteria Cottage was built. The distance shown between the cottage and the barn on the 1969 1:2,500 map suggests that Wisteria Cottage was subsequently extended northwards, as it is now only approximately half a metre from the barn, and the physical evidence suggests that the southern end of the barn dates from the late-C18 or early-C19.

In June 2006 the barn suffered a serious fire and it was repaired over that winter. The debris was protected from the weather and carefully sifted to allow the reuse of as much fabric as possible and faithful reconstruction of the damaged areas. The fire resulted in the loss of all of the roof structure (except for the tie-beams of the two central trusses) and 90 per cent of the roof covering, which was replaced with stone flags matching the originals. A northern extension (excluded from the original listing) was removed. The northern gable (which at the time of listing had a modern replacement truss) was entirely rebuilt with new timber framing, and with herring-bone nogging replacing the previous horizontally-coursed brickwork with diamond-pattern vents (age unknown). The timber framing of the west wall also suffered extensive damage but some structural timbers were retained and reused, the wall being rebuilt up from the in-situ stone sill. The timber-framed northern portion of the east wall suffered internal damage but was retained in full, as was the brick southern portion of the east wall. The southern timber-framed wall was rebuilt retaining two of the five posts and most of the rails but with a new truss, infilled with wattle-and-daub which has been given a finish only on the north face, so that in the historic southern extension (now part of the accommodation for the attached cottage), its construction can be read.

Internally, new partial cross walls were built beneath the two central trusses, using reclaimed brick from elsewhere. These appear to reinstate historic features which were indicated by mortice holes in the timber framing. However, stave holes in the soffit of the south-of-centre tie-beam suggest that this cross-wall originally extended the full width and had wattle-and-daub nogging. The C19 brick extension to the south (which was not described in the original List entry) was largely retained in-situ, with some rebuilding of the gable and western eaves.

Planning and listed building consent was granted later for the extension of Wisteria Cottage into this area, with a glazed link at roof level. This also included adding a new north skin to the southern timber-framed wall using reclaimed brick from elsewhere (in a herring-bone pattern rather than the horizontally-coursed pre-fire appearance which was reinstated in the south skin), and with applied timber indicating the location of the structural timbers behind. The previously-blocked door immediately to the south of the timber frame on the west wall was converted to a window, as was the former doorway into a lean-to greenhouse (not mentioned in the original List entry) in the south-west corner (the greenhouse not being replaced). The first floor here was replaced reusing historic beams, and accessed by a stair entering southwards through the southern timber-framed wall. On the east wall the former fuel store (also not mentioned in the original List entry, and now - 2019 - excluded from the listing) which had survived the fire was extended to the north and south, and altered to form a porch to this southern cell.

Reasons for Listing

The former tithe barn at the Manor House, Chelford, a timber-framed barn of C16 origins with a brick addition of prior to 1850, substantial repairs following a serious fire of 2006, and C21 alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its surviving in-situ historic fabric, which retains evidence of the original configuration of the barn and historic alterations to this, the whole sensitively repaired and restored post-fire.

Group value:

* for its strong visual and historic functional relationship with the Manor House (Grade II*).

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