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Daniel Taylor's Almshouses, water pump and walls to the rear

A Grade II* Listed Building in Bridport, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7303 / 50°43'49"N

Longitude: -2.7574 / 2°45'26"W

OS Eastings: 346639

OS Northings: 92570

OS Grid: SY466925

Mapcode National: GBR PP.0K87

Mapcode Global: FRA 5734.X5P

Plus Code: 9C2VP6JV+42

Entry Name: Daniel Taylor's Almshouses, water pump and walls to the rear

Listing Date: 28 November 1950

Last Amended: 20 July 2020

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1287414

English Heritage Legacy ID: 402503

Location: Bridport, Dorset, DT6

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Bridport

Built-Up Area: Bridport

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Bridport St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Tagged with: Almshouse

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Almshouses, presently (2019) six units, most probably a dwelling originally. Dating from the C15 with C16 and C18/C19 additions. Various alterations, including periods of remodelling in the mid-and late C20.


Almshouses, presently (2019) six units, most probably a dwelling originally. Dating from the C15 with C16 and C18/C19 additions. Various alterations, including periods of remodelling in the mid-and late C20.

MATERIALS: constructed of limestone (Bothenhampton Forest Marble) rubble, brought to course and painted in parts, under slate roofs with raised copings to the front range and short east range The front range has end chimneystacks of red brick; the south chimney inset slightly from the gable end; a ridge stack to the north range and end stacks to the east range; all have been rebuilt at various dates.

PLAN: it has an accretional, roughly L-shaped plan comprising a C15 front (west) range, formerly a two-unit through-passage house, and a C16 north range at right angles that define two sides of a small courtyard. At the east end of the north range is a shorter, slightly-offset east range, probably also C16, which contains a covered passage. To the south-east, beyond the courtyard, is a later range of probable C18/C19 date which is orientated west-east. The south and east sides of the courtyard are formed by the Grade II-listed Quaker meeting house and a former tenement.

EXTERIOR: the almshouses' ranges are all of two storeys. The principal, four-bay front facing onto South Street has an entrance to the right of centre with a round-headed, stone surround with fluted, early-C19 reveals and a six-panel door. To the left are two, mid- to late-C20 eight/eight sash windows under segmental heads, to the right is a three-light casement window, and at first-floor level there are two mid- to late-C20, two-light casements and an earlier three-light casement. The central first-floor window is a C20 insertion. There is a stone corbel set high in the north gable wall and evidence for a blocking. The sides of the passage are boarded, and there is a timber plank door on the south side and the floor is laid with Forest marble slabs. The rear (east) elevation has metal-framed, single-light, leaded casements hung on pintles to the ground and first floors on the right side of the passage and C20 three-light, metal casements in enlarged openings on the opposite side. Further to the left (south) is a large area of patching or infill in the stonework which may indicate the position of a former doorway or possibly a stair turret. The courtyard elevation of the north range has altered openings, with C20 timbers casements of one, two and three lights and a doorway in the left-hand bay. At the east end of the north range is a doorway with a depressed four-centred arch and a stone staircase to the upper floor; its newel also serves as part of the doorframe. There is a modern door at the top of the stairs. The north wall of the adjacent passageway is built of brick and contains a doorway with modern door. The floor of the passage is laid with stone and the opening at the east end has a concrete lintel. The windows in the rear elevation of the east range are C18 casements of two and three lights; those to the ground floor under replacement lintels. The later west-east range to the rear has a regular arrangement of door and window openings under segmental-arched heads and stone cills. The windows are two-light, pegged timber casements, and the doors are six-panelled. The east gable end has a later external brick staircase with metal balustrade providing access to a recessed door at first floor, and a small window to both the ground and first floors. The openings have concrete lintels and drip moulds. The timber, single-light casements windows in the left return also date to the C20, and include paired windows with a brick infill between them.

INTERIOR: a doorway in the through passage opens onto the southern half (Porch House) of the front range. The timber ledged, plank door is C18 or C19, but has re-used C17 strap hinges. The ground-floor room has a fireplace, much reduced in size; cupboards with short strap hinges to the right of the chimney breast; a modern wooden winder stairs to the left and a rough-hewn, chamfered ceiling beam. The room on the opposite side of the passage (not inspected, 2019) retains hollow-chamfered and moulded ceiling beams, with carved paterae to the central beam, and moulded wall plates. Upstairs, there is a square-headed fireplace with a chamfered stone surround in the north wall, a rough-hewn, deep ceiling beam that appears to have been strengthened, and the exposed end of an arch-braced truss. The principal rafters are collared, with a central one is closed truss, and there is a single row of purlins. The present entrance to the north range opens onto a lobby which has a C16 roll-moulded ceiling beam which continues through into the adjacent room to the right (east). The staircase is C20. The rest of the north range, the east range and rear range were not inspected (2019). It is understood that the north and east ranges retain some historic features. There are two fire surrounds, one with mitred chamfers, moulded ceiling beams, including a large axial beam with hollow-moulded chamfers and run-out stops in the rear ground-floor room of the east range, and the lower parts of the roof trusses are exposed in the north range.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the courtyard is paved with limestone slabs and has a water pump dated 1814. This is encased with painted, raised and fielded panels with an iron circular spout and handle. The upper panel was renewed in the early C20, but an historic photograph (undated) shows a small door in the upper part of the casing. In front of the pump is a stone trough, although it may not be original, and below this is a stone-lined channel that crosses the courtyard to a drain. Limestone rubble walls to the rear of the east range define two sides of a small yard. The east wall, which contains a square-headed opening, turns ninety degrees and continues on a west-east alignment as far as the Quaker burial ground (walls listed at Grade II).


The almshouses on South Street, Bridport were established in August 1696 when Daniel Taylor, one of Bridport’s most prominent Quakers and a successful merchant, gave ‘a tenement, with curtilage, backside and garden bounded on the South Side with an house Edifice or Building now used for a Barn’ in trust for ‘the use of such poor persons of the borough of Bridport to dwell in as should be appointed by the trustees and their successors.’ The Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) had for some time been meeting in the barn adjacent to the almshouses which also belonged to Daniel Taylor. It was given to the Friends for use as their meeting house in 1697.

The almshouses comprise a C15 west or front range, originally probably a two-room, through-passage house, that faces onto South Street, a C16 north range at right angles to the rear and at its east end is a short, slightly-offset east range which is orientated north-south and also dates from the C16. Together with the Quaker meeting house (Grade II) they define a small courtyard. To the east is a further range dating from the late C18/early C19 which is accessed via a covered passage on the east side of the courtyard.

A report of the Charity Commissioners from 1836 records that there were 19 inhabitants living in nine double apartments and one single apartment. There were still ten apartments in 1873, as depicted in a plan entitled Porch-house Bridport, although by this date five of them were single storey and the others were arranged over two floors. The southern half of the front range is shown on this plan as ‘Warder’s Cottage’. A comprehensive programme of refurbishment was carried out in the 1960s when the number of apartments was reduced to eight. The work included reconfiguring the internal layout, with the introduction of new partitions, openings and staircase, as well and also modern finishes, and the removal of some historic fittings. It seems that the warden accommodation was also enlarged to include all of the first floor of the front range. Further remodelling took place in 1984 when the number of apartments was reduced to the present arrangement of six apartments, plus the former warden accommodation on the south side of the passage in the part now known as the Porch House.

Reasons for Listing

Daniel Taylor’s Almshouses, the water pump and walls to the rear, which date from the C15 to the C19, are listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* there is evidence of historic alterations which speak clearly of the evolution of the complex, from a C15-C16 dwelling to almshouses in the late C17;
* there have been later alterations and some internal reconfiguration, but these have not compromised the integrity of the buildings and a substantial proportion of early fabric survives;
* some high-quality interior features such as moulded ceiling beams, chamfered stone fire surrounds and an arch-braced roof survive.

Historic interest:
* as a relatively early example of a charitable foundation which has provided care for the town’s poor since 1696.

Group value:
* it forms a strong grouping with the adjacent Quaker meeting house (Grade II) and the burial ground (the walls are Grade II listed) to the east, and also with a high number of other listed buildings on South Street.

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