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Farmhouse at Chithams Farm

A Grade II Listed Building in Ramsden Heath, Essex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6343 / 51°38'3"N

Longitude: 0.464 / 0°27'50"E

OS Eastings: 570620

OS Northings: 195712

OS Grid: TQ706957

Mapcode National: GBR PLP.J3V

Mapcode Global: VHJKN.055Y

Entry Name: Farmhouse at Chithams Farm

Listing Date: 1 June 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393828

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507791

Location: South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Essex, CM11

County: Essex

District: Chelmsford

Civil Parish: South Hanningfield

Built-Up Area: Ramsden Heath

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Downham St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Listing Text

SOUTH HANNINGFIELD

719/0/10116 HEATH ROAD
01-JUN-10 Ramsdon Heath
(South of)
87
Farmhouse at Chithams Farm

GV II
Farmhouse; late C14 or early C15; extended in the mid-late C19 and early C20. The medieval hall and cross-wing are of timber frame construction, partially rebuilt and clad in brick. The C19 and early C20 additions are of brick. The pitched roofs are tiled.

The timber-framed and weatherboarded building to the north of the house, possibly a dovecot, is not of special interest.

PLAN: The house is of five bays and two storeys, of which the hall and cross wing form the three bays to the north. The cross-wing projects slightly to the rear of the hall, and its first-floor gable end is jettied to the front. The gable of the C19 wing to the south also projects forward slightly, in balance with the medieval cross wing. To the south of that is the early C20 extension.

EXTERIOR:
The main east elevation presents two full gable ends to the front, flanking the hall range, with an additional larger half hipped gable end to the south. The medieval cross-wing is to the north and has a steeply pitched roof. There is a chimney on the east slope of the hall range roof, and there are two other chimneys to the rear of the main hall and cross-wing range. The front door and main entrance to the house is at the south end of the east elevation of the hall range. To the rear the hall range is concealed behind the early C20 west extension. All windows are C19 or modern timber mullioned casements.

INTERIOR:
At the south end of the hall range is a door to the rear of the modern hallway, forming a cross passage with the front door. The upper part of another door, framed by a pointed arch formed by chamfered braces, can be seen at the north end of the west wall. There are also studs surviving at ground-floor level on this length of wall, and fragments of timber framing survive in the east wall, now covered in plaster. The ground floor of the hall range has been subdivided into a hall, corridor and living room, the latter with medieval stop chamfered ceiling beams and a modern brick fireplace. The north wall of this room is shared with the cross-wing, and contains medieval wall studs and a substantial post with down braces to either side. On the hall side, these are pegged for a dais, bench and canopy. The ground floor ceiling of the two bay cross-wing consists of substantial joists supported by a large unchamfered transverse beam braced to posts on either side. The quality of the timber here suggests that this was the service end.

Access to the first floor of the cross-wing is now from a first-floor corridor above the hall, but there is evidence that there was originally a stairwell at the west end of the cross-wing. The small Tudor arched door in the first-floor west wall may have been to a garderobe. The walls at first-floor level contain medieval studs behind which are down braces designed to be seen from the inside and outside of the hall. Elements of original windows survive at the east end, including grooves for sliding shutters. A substantial, slightly curved tie beam across the centre of the room supports a moulded crown post, and the beam is braced to create a single wide arch spanning the width of the room, the braces chamfered and moulded to jowled posts. The crown post is braced to rafters and the crown plate; this has been truncated, and the roof modified in the C20 by the addition of purlins and struts to either side of the crown post. Most of the original collars and rafters remain.

HISTORY: Chithams Farm is an isolated farmstead to the west of the village of Ramsden Heath, consisting of a farmhouse, barn and possible dovecot (modified for use as a shed). The house, the historic core of which is a timber framed hall and cross-wing, occupies the north-west corner of a moated enclosure, while the barn is immediately to the east, but outside the moat. The date of the moat is uncertain; most were constructed in the C13 or early C14. The house can be more closely dated. The hall and cross-wing share the same frame, and the hall framing is typically late C14 or early C15; the top-plate scarf joints are face halved and bridled, indicating a date after 1375.

The cross-wing seems to have been constructed with two storeys, but the originally open hall was ceiled in the late C16 or C17; a chimney stack would have been built at the same time to replace the open hearth. Substantial additions to the building were made in the C19. By the time of the 1874 OS map an additional cross-wing had been added to the south, and a small wing attached to the north elevation. Between 1896 and 1922 the house was further extended by additions to the south and west. There has been some loss of timber framing to the south end of the hall, and the roof is of C19 or C20 construction.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The farmhouse at Chithams Farm, a medieval hall with cross-wing extended in the C19 and early C20, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: The hall with its cross-wing is an early vernacular building, the fabric of which survives substantially intact. The fine quality of detail is indicative of its status, which is reinforced by the presence of the surrounding moat and the substantial barn to the east.
* Architectural interest: Techniques used in its construction provide significant evidence of local building traditions.
* Group value: The hall and cross-wing form an important component, with the scheduled moat and barn, of a medieval farmstead.

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

Reasons for Listing

The farmhouse at Chithams Farm, a medieval hall with cross-wing extended in the C19 and early C20, is recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: The hall with its cross-wing is an early vernacular building, the fabric of which survives substantially intact. The fine quality of detail is indicative of its status, which is reinforced by the presence of the surrounding moat and the substantial barn to the east.
* Historic interest: Techniques used in its construction provide significant evidence of local building traditions.
* Group value: The hall and cross-wing form an important component, with the scheduled moat and barn, of a medieval farmstead.

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