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31, High Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Hastings, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8582 / 50°51'29"N

Longitude: 0.5925 / 0°35'32"E

OS Eastings: 582554

OS Northings: 109718

OS Grid: TQ825097

Mapcode National: GBR QYP.0M9

Mapcode Global: FRA D64T.SRK

Entry Name: 31, High Street

Listing Date: 19 March 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392918

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505951

Location: Hastings, East Sussex, TN34

County: East Sussex

District: Hastings

Town: Hastings

Electoral Ward/Division: Old Hastings

Built-Up Area: Hastings

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Hastings St Clement and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text

757/0/10097 HIGH STREET
19-MAR-09 31

Wealden house, C15. Hall floor inserted late C16, upper chamber floors inserted late C16 to early C17. The southern bay divided from the main house to form No. 32 (which was subsequently rebuilt). C17 or early C18 cross wing shared with No. 32. Narrow, possibly C18, parallel rear bay.

MATERIALS: Timber-framed upper floors which are weatherboarded. Rebuilt ground floor, which is rendered. Plain tile roofs over largely replaced roof structure. Cross wing in red, brow and buff brick with plaintile gambrel roofs; rear bay weatherboarded over rendered ground floor. Internal decoration: comb decorated daub on oak laths.

PLAN. Building of two bays forming the northern and central bays of a Wealden hall house, which would have comprised a central open hall with two-storey jettied wings to each side each with first floor chambers, probably over the parlour to the north and service bays to the south. There is a later cross wing attached to the rear of the south bay and small parallel range to the east. Two storeys and attics, the first floor jettied, the eaves raised to accommodate the upper floor, evident in the dual-raked roof. The ground floor level is substantially below street level. The ground floor forms a single space, which is curtailed to the south to form the entrance and passage to the side and rear of No. 32. At upper floor levels the house occupies the full two bays of the building, on both upper floors divided by an arch-braced partition. Probably late C16 inserted hall floor and late C16 or early C17 ceilings inserted in upper chambers, of which the spine beam is resting on the tie beams. Inserted C20 stairs at rear, and stairs to upper floor against north gable wall. There is no evidence of a chimney stack in the original bays. The entrance and passage to No. 32 was probably inserted in the C17 or C18, when the original house was subdivided. The structure of the rear bays is not visible internally.

EXTERIOR. The ground floor is set back under a continuous jettied first floor, but breaks forward to the upper floor building line to enclose southern entrance. C19 southern door of four flush panels is under a narrow overlight. There is a large later C20 timber casement bay window and to the left of it an off-centre C20 panelled door and a smaller casement to north. First floor windows are a pair of later C20 two-light timber casements and at attic level timber casements in flat-roofed dormers. Rear and cross wing upper floor C20 timber casements have diamond lattice lights. The rear bay has a C20 ground floor door and timber casements. The rear bay has a late C18 or early C19 brick ridge stack.

INTERIOR: Timber frame of standard construction is exposed on the upper floors. Ground floor main beams are replaced but some joists, which are plain, are reused. At upper floor level the south wall and central truss are foot-braced asymmetrically from the outer posts, and also from a central stud beneath the crown post. Similar bracing was exposed on the ground floor of the north wall during refurbishment when a plain jetty bracket was also revealed at the north end of the front wall. Bracing to the stud of the central truss is removed, the tie beam damaged and repaired, to allow door openings and possibly former internal windows. The central tie beam has a slight chamfer on the upper side otherwise there is no ornament on the original structure and none was seen during the refurbishment. First floor spine beam to southern bay is deep with chamfered stops; joists are plain throughout. Three square-profile crown posts are in situ, although only two are visible, footbraced to cambered tie beams. The longitudinal braces and the collar purlin are removed to augment headroom in the upper chambers. The central post has a replaced or repaired head. The southern gable wall of the uppermost chamber over the hall has straight and wavy comb-decorated daub infilling, now painted. An inserted doorway, formerly giving access to the southern bay is now blocked. The roof is largely replaced, but a pair of smoke blackened rafters survive over the central truss and the apex of the south gable wall retains smoke blackened daub cladding on oak laths. A rear purlin, evidence of later alterations to the roof, may have a rebate for a former inserted window. Cross wing rafters survive under a C20 roof.

The site of No. 31 High Street incorporates the plot of No. 2 Roebuck Street at the rear. The C20 studio to the rear of the house and garage fronting Roebuck Street are not of special interest and are excluded from the listing.

HISTORY: The building was surveyed during refurbishment in 1967 and included in the 'Rape of Hastings Architectural Survey' 1975. The structure was identified as a late medieval Wealden hall house which would have comprised a hall flanked by a two-storey jettied bay to the north and south each with an upper chamber, probably with the service bay in the lost southern bay. From the evidence visible during the survey the configuration of the upper chamber relative to the parlour below is not clear. It is clear that the upper section of the open hall was of a single bay. As was common in Hastings from the C17, the house was divided, the southern bay of the original house demolished, and during the late C18 or early C19 it was rebuilt as No. 32 High Street. Passages such as the entrance to No. 32 were commonly cut through to reach rear buildings. During probably the C18 a parallel range was added at the rear of No. 31, butting against the C17 rear wing of No. 30. A late C17 or C18 cross-wing at the rear of the southern bay of No. 31 is divided between Nos. 31 and 32. The building is within a rich context of historic buildings in the High Street, which forms the core of medieval and early post-medieval Hastings.

In 1967 restorations took place in which the building was stripped to the frame which was then repaired and in part replaced, particularly the roof. Photographs by JM Baines, 1967 were taken recording the frame. The building was described, using the information recorded in the 1967 restoration, in the 'Rape of Hastings Architectural Survey' of 1975.

David Martin, Report No. 0180, Rape of Hastings Architectural Survey, 1975
David Martin, Archaeology South East, pers comm.

31 High Street, comprising two bays of a late medieval Wealden house, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The upper floor timber frame survives sufficiently to describe the plan and development of the building.
* The roof retains smoke blackened rafters and smoke blackened south gable.
* Survival of comb decorated panels in the southern upper chamber
* Subsequent division and development of the house and its relationship to the adjoining No. 32.
* Its situation in the rich context of medieval and early post-medieval Hastings.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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