History in Structure

Epcombs and Garden Wall to West

A Grade II Listed Building in Hertford, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7934 / 51°47'36"N

Longitude: -0.1055 / 0°6'19"W

OS Eastings: 530749

OS Northings: 212228

OS Grid: TL307122

Mapcode National: GBR KBP.J53

Mapcode Global: VHGPN.452Z

Plus Code: 9C3XQVVV+9Q

Entry Name: Epcombs and Garden Wall to West

Listing Date: 12 April 1973

Last Amended: 9 September 1996

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1268856

English Heritage Legacy ID: 461361

Also known as: Epcombs

ID on this website: 101268856

Location: Hertingfordbury, East Hertfordshire, SG14

County: Hertfordshire

District: East Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Hertford

Built-Up Area: Hertford

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Hertingfordbury

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: House Architectural structure

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 5 July 2017.


Epcombs and garden wall to west

(Formerly Listed as: HERTINGFORDBURY (East side) Epcombs)


Small country house. C17, altered and extended C18, early C19 and early C20. Pink-brown brick, English bond and Flemish bond, timber-framed core. Hipped Welsh slated roofs behind parapets, red brick chimneystacks with brick bands, dentil courses and oversailing caps, cream terracotta rimmed pots.

PLAN: at the core of the house is a C17 hall with east and west cross wings, refronted C18, with the west wing and north range rebuilt early C19, and an irregular angled link with southeast wing added 1902 (architects Wood and Ainslie).

EXTERIOR: Two storeys and attics. South front has rebuilt west wing, two bays, at left, first floor has two recessed 12-pane sashes under rubbed brick flat arches. Ground floor has full length openings with twelve-pane sashes over dwarf doors, tall parapet conceals roof. Slightly recessed centre of four bays, with four flush-set twelve-pane sashes, with projecting blind boxes, under rubbed flat arches. Plat band above, and tall parapet, partly concealing setback early C18, truncated gabled dormer, weatherboard clad, with sash window and lead flat roof with modillioned eaves cornice. Ground floor has two C19 French windows with six large panes, the blank brickwork to the left conceals the vestibule of an earlier lobby entry to the property against the chimneybreast, while on the right an early C20 conservatory conceals a third French window. The angled link to the south-east wing largely conceals the parapeted front to the original east wing.

Garden front of southeast wing, 1902, has two twelve-pane sash windows on first floor and two full length multi-pane French windows with transom lights on ground floor. Tall parapet with setback hipped roof, generally matching the style of the east wing. Loggia with plain tiled roof on the right-hand southeast flank elevation running into the projecting roof of the single storey servants' hall.

Irregular grouping of one storey outbuildings conceals much of east elevation of east wing, two first-floor sashes in centre, one tall plain glazed sash at far right, box dormer with nine-pane sash in centre between two chimneystacks, that to left truncated, that to right with external chimneybreast and tall square shaft.

North end elevation of east cross wing setback at left, and partly covered by north range. Brickwork irregular with some English bond, with plat bands at first and second-floor levels, raised over windows, slightly recessed twelve-pane sashes with architrave surrounds, which appears to indicate casing of an earlier timber-framed structure. Brickwork of attic includes one blocked window at left below central nine-pane casement and half hipped roof; adjacent return flank end of north range includes English bond brickwork.

Main north front of six bays, first floor with six recessed twelve-pane sashes, spaced 3:1:2. 3 sashes on ground floor at left, two sashes with lower dwarf flush panelled doors at right, door of right centre, recessed C18 half-glazed door with quadrant bars and two lower raised and fielded panels in doorcase with elliptical arch and impost bands and slim pilasters.

West front four bays, four twelve-pane sash windows on first floor, two at ground floor left and right, central porch, with six pane French windows and slim pilaster surround, recessed between Tuscan antae and responds, on plinth bases, with entablature with modillion cornice and lean-to lead roll roof.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: at right, dividing the west forecourt from the gardens is a red brick wall, with a garden door with recessed pilasters, moulded base, Portland stone caps, and a stone keyblock carved with the head of Medusa in a red rubbed brick flat arch. This wall also has circular openings, and niches for sculptures including a figure of a satyr.

INTERIOR: reflects the complex history of the house, and many features were renewed in the remodelling of 1902, when the southeast wing with Smoking Room, with an Arts and Crafts fireplace, was added. The Drawing Room has a C19 plaster frieze and cornice with swags and rosettes. The entrance hall leads through to the stair hall. The north vestibule is a small square hall with some C18 panelling, some early C20, with a C20 eared-architrave fire surround. Dining Room in position of original hall, with Tuscan columns on line of recessed front, C17 reproduction panelling to door height, with C18 wood cornice, closet alongside fireplace, possibly original lobby entry vestibule. Stair in north re-entrant behind west wing, early C19 open well, open string, Tuscan column newels, stick balusters, plain moulded handrail with sweeping curtail steps at foot. Stair hall toplit by lantern light. First floor has two principal bedrooms in west wing with late C18/early C19 features, including arcaded door heads, some C18 panelling, wood cornices and two-panel doors with H-hinges. Later subdivision to create bathroom, rooms in north range remodelled early C20. C18 stair to attic in east wing, dogleg plan, newel construction, column on bobbin on urn balustrades, moulded handrail. Simple panelled dado above first flight dies out for top run. Attics ceiled at collar level, plank and two-panel C17/early C18 doors, rear wall appears to be subdivided into gables. East wing has two attics either side of central stair. Plank doors with broad architraves. Upper roof structures not accessible for inspection.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Epcombs originated as a pre-Conquest farm, but the later history of the estate is uncertain. The gardens extend on both sides of the River Mimram. Jane Austen stayed at the house. It is reputedly the model for ‘Longbourn’, the home of the Bennett family in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

(Victoria History of the Counties of England: Hertfordshire: London: 1902-1912: 466-7; Smith JT: Hertfordshire Houses: Selective Inventory: London: 1993: 82; Green L: Hertford's Past in Pictures: Ware: 1993: 73).

Listing NGR: TL3074912228

This listing was enhance in 2017 to mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death.

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