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Latitude: 52.2418 / 52°14'30"N
Longitude: 0.3992 / 0°23'57"E
OS Eastings: 563907
OS Northings: 263115
OS Grid: TL639631
Mapcode National: GBR N9X.KQ4
Mapcode Global: VHJGH.VXX9
Plus Code: 9F4269RX+PM
Entry Name: Queensbury Stables and yard wall
Listing Date: 3 August 1995
Last Amended: 6 June 2018
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1249493
English Heritage Legacy ID: 431614
Location: Newmarket, West Suffolk, Suffolk, CB8
Civil Parish: Newmarket
Built-Up Area: Newmarket
Traditional County: Suffolk
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk
Church of England Parish: Newmarket St Mary the Virgin
Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich
Stables and yard wall. Stables most likely commissioned by Lord March (from 1788 Duke of Queensbury) in mid-late C18 with C19 and early C20 alterations.
A stables and yard wall, the stables most likely commissioned by William Douglas, Lord March (from 1788 Duke of Queensbury) in mid-late C18 with C19 and early C20 alterations.
MATERIALS: brick built, with a mixture of pantile and clay tile roof covering, timber doors and predominantly timber loose box partitions.
PLAN: linear in plan
EXTERIOR: the entire stable range is of simple vernacular construction, built in red brick, painted on the yard side and with a combination of pantile, plain clay tiles and felt roof covering. A large number of plain clay tiles, stored in the stables, are understood to have been removed from the central stable block, which currently (2018) stands with only an under felt roof covering. The whole range is boarded up and in relatively poor condition.
The mid-C18 stable range sits approximately central to the yard and, with its mansard roof, stands slightly taller than those on either side. The front elevation, facing into the yard, is of 11 bays, each bay represented by a door or window opening, all of which are characterised by segmental arched heads. The window heads are set higher than the doors, indicating clearly that two former windows have been cut down to form additional doors. These changes relate to a series of early-C20 alterations, when the whole building, including former stalls, was divided into loose boxes. Towards the east end of the central block, are four loose boxes each with a two-piece stable door to the west and a window to the east, except the third from the east end which has the window to the west, presumably to allow an external stair to reach the loft door above without compromising a ground-floor door (stair no longer survives). The stable at the west end of the range has a near-central door and would have originally been flanked by two windows but that to the east has been cut down to create a door. This difference in form at the western end indicates where the former three stalls were converted into two loose boxes. The windows and most of the doors are boarded but the strapped stable doors and window openings are retained behind in most cases. The northern elevation is blind save for a low opening at the west end which appears to have been blocked at an early date, its function is unknown.
The lower stable range to the east of the central block is single storey with a clay-tile roof covering, also of mid-C18 but originally timber framed. On the north elevation a brick plinth, built of thin red brick surmounted by a few courses of yellow brick, supports the remains of a timber frame. Three posts and the rear wall plate survive but the sill has been largely cut away to allow for later red-brick infill. The front elevation contains four doorways, each providing access to loose boxes behind. Three stable doors with overlights survive behind boarding. The fourth opening has been widened to allow vehicle access (now boarded over) and a matching opening (now blocked) was made in the rear (north) wall.
The range to the west of the central block is understood to date to early-mid C19. The stables are well built but simple in design, built of red brick with pantile roofs and five stable doors (one off its hinges) with overlights. All openings are boarded up but strapped, timber doors and overlight frames survive behind in most cases.
Between 1906 and 1927 a former tack room at the western extreme of the yard, was refronted and partitioned as two loose boxes. Again built of red brick with a pantile roof the two stable doors are boarded up but appear to survive behind, although access wasn’t possible at the time of the site visit. The north wall of this block is clasped to the existing north-west corner of the adjacent block. The building makes use of the western wall of the yard and the site of a former stable building which has been depicted on maps since 1768. The wall survives continuously from the stable range running south-eastwards to the High Street. Built of red brick, the southern half survives to full height with curved capping stones. The height is reduced to a couple of courses in places but adjacent to the stables it is again at full height.
INTERIOR: the doors and facings of the box partitions are, throughout the entire stable range, of iron bound timber typical of Newmarket racing stables of around 1900 and a feature of the early C20 alterations undertaken to the complete stable range. Most communicating doors between the loose boxes are of a sliding design, hung from a track fixed above each opening, also part of the early C20 alterations. An extant ceramic feed trough spanning the width of one of the largest loose boxes in the central block, possibly intended for mare and foul, and the few remaining supports for mangers in the corner of other loose boxes appear to be part of the same refurbishment. Many of the external, two-part stable doors have rounded or chamfered jambs on the interior to avoid injuring horses passing through. Several of the floors are of concrete, probably replaced in mid-C20, but the floors of the central block are varied: the floor of the yard side of the second box in from the west end and the whole of the easternmost box are of yellow brick and the third and fourth box in from the east end have floors of thinner red/yellow brick, laid on edge. These brick surfaces are characteristic of, and therefore thought to date from, the C18. The remaining two boxes of the central block have modern concrete floors.
Within the central block the dividers between boxes are thin timber divisions, not reaching to the ceiling. In the three easternmost boxes, clasping posts supporting a spreader beam, under the spine beam of the floor above, are clearly evident, suggesting the spreader beam replaced a post in the centre of an original partition. An equivalent post is evident in the west divider of the third box from the east and others maybe concealed elsewhere. In the westernmost loose box, the spine beam of the floor above is reinforced by a secondary beam extending across the next two boxes to the east, a reinforcement probably intended to carry storage in the loft above.
Although access to the roof was not possible at the time of the site visit, a building survey report written in 2016 provides a recent and detailed record (see sources) and the following description is based on that report. The mansard roof structure is very lightly framed; the upper roof hipped at the west end only. There is no evidence that it has been altered at the east end, suggesting that it originally abutted another building at this end. The roof appears to retain most of its primary timber structure but with extensive, later strengthening. The lower pitches take the form of inclined stud walls with straight bracing rising from wall plates tied back to the substantial floor joists with square section wrought iron ties on the truss lines. The floor joists are further supported by a spine beam breaking the span. Trusses take the form of collars between plates set on the lower pitch walls, principal rafters rising to a ridge board, and further supported by purlins clasped by high collars. In its primary form the loft provided clear headroom between floor and collars of the seven trusses. It was entered from a semi-dormered, timber panelled door in the bay west of centre (now boarded over). Mortices in the collars show that the four bays to the east were divided into two enclosed spaces by closed trusses with doors on the south side, while the three bays to the west were open. Three tie beams with struts to the upper roof plates have been inserted between the wall plates of the loft, their pattern unrelated to the primary trusses. That to the west defines the east side of a granary bin, lined to tie beam level with match boarding. The reinforcing beams, evident in the boxes below, were designed to carry the heavier floor loads above. In the easternmost bay of the loft is a large timber grain hopper with a feed chute into the eastern box below. An iron belt wheel suggests the use of an electric motor (this no longer survives) to drive a feed grinder and raise the feedstuff to the hopper and bin. This is thought to be early–C20 in date.
In the easternmost stable range the surviving posts of the former timber frame imply four equal bays which is now reflected in four loose boxes (one later adapted as a garage). The exceptionally narrow width of the boxes might suggest that they reflected stalls in the original building. The roof appears to be original, substantially framed in seven narrow bays with A-frame trusses and clasping purlins.
In the stable block attached to the west of the central range, full-height brick partitions suggest the range was built as loose boxes, which became usual by around 1820. It is understood the block dates from the mid-C19 although the internal fittings are later. All boxes here are ceiled and the roof space inaccessible at the time of the site visit. Three of the boxes have finely laid red-brick floors typical of the early-mid C19.
The pair of looseboxes at the western end of the range was not accessible at the time of the site visit (2018).
The most prestigious of several centres for the training and breeding of race-horses in Britain, Newmarket is popularly known as the ‘headquarters’ of thoroughbred racing. With the interest dating from early-C17, this pre-eminence is evident within the town and its environs by two historic race courses and the high concentration of stables and other buildings provided for the sport, its associated industries and its administration. Though there are other important historic racehorse stables elsewhere in the country, Newmarket stands out for the number and importance of its racehorse stables, and for the fact so many are still in use.
Queensbury Yard is located on former manorial waste land, an area of chalk pits, between the High Street and the common field of Newmarket. The Lodge, which dates from the late-C17, and the Cottage which is early or mid-C18 in date, both of which are listed Grade II, form the front range of the yard along the High Street. A substantial brick stable was added to the east side of the Lodge in the early-mid C18, and by that time both the cottage and the lodge were related to the horse-racing industry, as shown by the 1768 Chapman Map of Newmarket.
The north side of the yard is lined with stables, consisting of four adjoining structures of different dates. The earliest block dating to the mid-late C18, suggesting a conspicuous investment, most likely commissioned by William Douglas, Lord March (from 1788 Duke of Queensbury), who acquired and amalgamated the properties as an extension to his stables, based at Queensbury House on the opposite side of the High Street. The four boxes at the eastern end were originally timber framed but were largely rebuilt in brick in the early-mid C19, when a block of five boxes was added to the west, establishing the plan that survives today. An L-plan stable extension was added to the eastern end by 1895 but this was destroyed by fire in 2001. In the early-C20 a former mess room in the north-west corner of the yard was rebuilt as two boxes and general repairs were carried out to all buildings. The yard continued to function as a training yard, often as an overspill yard into the middle of the C20. By 1952 the lodge was being used as an antique shop and between 1957 and 1977 the buildings were rented out as a livery business. Between 1977 and 1983 the site was used by a horse transport company. The yard and buildings lay empty between 1984 and 1988 after which horses were reintroduced between 1988 and 1989.
Queensbury Lodge was first listed in 1984 and amended in1995 at the same time as the cottage and stables were first added to the List.
Queensbury has been associated with leading figures in the racing world during much of its history, most importantly 'Old Q', Lord March, 4th Duke of Queensberry, for whom the principal stables were understood to have been built. He was among the most notorious C18 owners, who rode his own horses, and gambled spectacular sums of money. Subsequently, the yard was used by a series of leading trainers, including John Alfred Dawson, Leandro Alvarez, who trained Derby and St Leger winners for James Buchanan (Lord Woolavington), Frederick McCabe who trained Signorina the 1908 Derby winner here, and Felix Leach.
Queensbury Stables, probably commissioned by Lord March (from 1788 Duke of Queensbury) in mid-late C18 with C19 and early C20 alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as an example of an C18 stable range at the transition of major changes in stable design following the development of the thoroughbred for racing and hunting.
* as part of one of the earliest racing stable groups to survive in Newmarket documenting the development of the horse racing industry with which Newmarket is synonymous internationally, and from which the town has evolved;
* for its association with leading figures in the horse racing industry including the notorious Duke of Queensbury known as ‘Old Q’ who was a notorious rake and dominant figure in the town at the time.
* the stables hold an extremely high level of group value with Queensbury House, Lodge and Cottage, one of the earliest racing stable groups to survive in Newmarket.
Other nearby listed buildings