History in Structure

The Rectory

A Grade II Listed Building in Peasmarsh, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9708 / 50°58'14"N

Longitude: 0.6899 / 0°41'23"E

OS Eastings: 588955

OS Northings: 122488

OS Grid: TQ889224

Mapcode National: GBR QXG.180

Mapcode Global: FRA D6BJ.W2J

Plus Code: 9F22XMCQ+8X

Entry Name: The Rectory

Listing Date: 26 August 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392725

English Heritage Legacy ID: 504854

ID on this website: 101392725

Location: Peasmarsh, Rother, East Sussex, TN31

County: East Sussex

District: Rother

Civil Parish: Peasmarsh

Built-Up Area: Peasmarsh

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Beckley and Peasmarsh

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Tagged with: Clergy house

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The Rectory


Vicarage. The north part is a mid C16 house of two bays, encased and extended in the 1930s to south and north. These north and south 1930s extensions are not of special interest

MATERIALS: The original part is timber framed, refronted in brown brick in stretcher bond to the ground floor and cedar shingles to the first floor. Tiled roof with brick chimneystacks.

PLAN: The original part is of two storeys and two bays, which comprised a hall to the south with smoke cavity, smaller service bay to the north and two unequal sized chambers to the first floor, originally open to the rafters. In the 1930s this plan was modified by the addition of some first floor partitions and the extension of two storey living accommodation to the south and a one storey garage block to the north, changing the plan from a rectangular plan to a T-shaped plan.

EXTERIOR: The original part of the building is clad in brown brick in stretcher bond to the ground floor and the first floor clad in cedar shingles. Of the timber frame only the north east corner post is exposed externally. There is a steeply pitched hipped roof with mid C20 tiles, gablet to the north and three mid C20 brick chimneystacks. The central chimneystack is in the position of the C17 chimneystack with the northern external stack situated at the north end of the original part of the house and a south chimneystack to the south addition. The east or front elevation has three irregularly-spaced metal casements with leaded lights, including a flat-roofed dormer with shingled cheeks to the south end in a penticed roof forming a porch. The rear or west elevation has two similar irregularly-spaced casements. The south addition is entirely of brown brick with one row of headers above every five rows of stretchers, a brick stringcourse, and the south elevation has three irregularly-spaced casements and French windows.

INTERIOR: The entrance through the east porch leads to a hall where the south eastern corner post of the mid C16 house is visible. The adjoining room to the north comprises the original hall of the mid C16 house and retains evidence of a smoke cavity, shown by the dovetail floor joists in the wall plates. The ceiling has a spine beam with one inch chamfer and lambs tongue stops. Some studs were embedded in the wall when the mid C20 alterations took place and shuttered concrete replicas only are visible. There is an original partition wall between this room and the north service room. This room has the wallplate exposed and there is evidence from a trimmer that the stairs originally rose in the western part of this room. Access to the upper floor of the C16 wing is now by a mid C20 straight flight staircase with solid balustrade in the 1930s extension. The first floor of the mid C16 house comprised two unequal sized chambers. An eastern partition wall was inserted in the mid C20 to form a corridor and a bathroom and separate WC, carved out of the north eastern side of the northern chamber. The south eastern jowled corner post and south gable end are visible in the corridor and the eastern wall has a face-halved scarf joint in the wallplate, two curved braces and a number of studs visible. In the larger southern chamber the south tiebeam, south west corner post and wallplate are visible. The ceiling has been heightened. The northern room has the north west corner post, western wallplate and tiebeam of the partition wall visible. In the WC the tie beam and post to the partition wall and wallplate are visible and the bathroom has the remainder of the east wallplate, north east corner post and remainder of the north tie beam visible. The attic has some old wide floorboards and is of side purlin and queenpost construction with collars and smoke-blackened rafters to the south end. The brickwork to the chimney is entirely mid C20. The northern end has the remains of a partition.


The building was built as a rectory. An exterior photograph of this building taken in about 1907 from the south east shows the steeply pitched tiled roof with gablet to the north, tall formerly external C17 brick chimneystack to the south and a gabled dormer to the east. This photograph shows that at this date there was an C18 or early C19 hipped south extension with multi-pane sash window and the eastern side of the south timberframed bay had a later extension with catslide roof and casement window.

The living of Peasmarsh was in the gift of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and these later additions to a mid C16 house may have been added by John Lettice (1737-1832) perhaps the most noteworthy vicar of Peasmarsh, who was presented by his college to the living of Peasmarsh which he held from 1785 to his death there in 1832. Lettice was tutor to William Beckford who later Built Fonthill Abbey and accompanied him to Geneva and on the Grand Tour between 1777-80 and was later tutor to Beckford's family. Besides sermons, Lettice published other works including in 1803 a plan for evacuating the coastal population if an invasion was threatened. Peasmarsh would have been in the frontline of the threatened Napoleonic invasion. Peasmarsh Vicarage, now called Peasmarsh House (Grade II, about half a kilometre to the south west), was built in 1839 by Donthorne but may have replaced an earlier vicarage on the site which is perhaps more likely to have been Lettice's residence.

In the 1930s the building underwent extensive alterations and additions. These included the encasing of the original mid C16 house, replacement of the roof tiles, replacement of the windows by C20 casement windows, the removal of the C17 chimneystack and the replacement of the later additions to the south and east by a larger brick south wing and the addition of a one storey garage block to the north. The building is first shown on the 1872 Ordnance Survey map as an L-shaped structure which accords with the circa 1907 photograph. The outline remains unchanged on the 1898, 1909 and 1929 map editions. The current outline, after the demolition of these south and east extensions and replacement by further additions to north and south is T-shaped.

Reasons for Listing

The Rectory, Peasmarsh is designated for the following principal reasons:

* The building retains a significant proportion of its mid C16 timber frame, despite 1930s encasing in brick and shingles and additions to north and south.

* The plan form of larger hall and smaller service room with two unequal sized chambers above is still readable and there is evidence for the original smoke cavity and the position of the stairs.
* The building is competently constructed of timbers of average scantling and with a chamfered spine beam to the hall.

* There is some historical interest for a connection with the eminent clergyman John Lettice, Vicar of Peasmarsh between 1785 and his death in 1832, although he may have lived in a vicarage nearer to the church.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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