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Fern Cottage, Rose Cottage and End Cottage

A Grade II Listed Building in Combe, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8398 / 51°50'23"N

Longitude: -1.4027 / 1°24'9"W

OS Eastings: 441249

OS Northings: 215853

OS Grid: SP412158

Mapcode National: GBR 7WG.L5N

Mapcode Global: VHBZX.M0TY

Entry Name: Fern Cottage, Rose Cottage and End Cottage

Listing Date: 22 June 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393850

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506429

Location: Combe, West Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX29

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Combe

Built-Up Area: Combe

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Combe Longa

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Listing Text


1700/0/10007 CHURCH WALK
22-JUN-10 Fern Cottage, Rose Cottage and End Cot

Row of three cottages. C17 to C18 with C19 alterations and C20 extensions.

MATERIALS: coursed limestone rubble; Fern Cottage has concrete tile roofs to the main range, Rose Cottage and End Cottage have stone slate roofs. Fern Cottage has a brick stack above the roofline; the main stack to Rose Cottage is of stone, the smaller right-hand stack is of brick. End Cottage has a large external stone stack rebuilt in brick above the roof line.

PLAN: Fern Cottage and End Cottage are of single-cell, end-stack plan, with a winder stair behind the stack; Fern Cottage has an entrance passage separated from the main cell by a stud partition wall, a rear outshut, probably C19 in date, and a deeper additional bay with a small outshut to the north, added c1960. The left-hand cell of Rose Cottage is also of single-cell plan, probably with a former gable-end entrance, to which a further single-cell bay, also with a smaller stack, was added to the south. The stair is in front of the main stack. Whilst the row of cottages is marked as a rectangular block on the 1778 map, the southern bay of Rose Cottage, is offset and on the same alignment as End Cottage, and appears to be of more recent construction than the northern cell. Fern Cottage is of one-and-a-half storeys; Rose Cottage and End Cottage are two full storeys, possibly with raised eaves to accommodate a larger upper storey.

Fern Cottage
EXTERIOR: one-and-a-half storeys with a steeply-pitched gable enclosing the upper floor window. Windows are paired timber casements each of eigth panes under timber lintels and with stone or concrete cills and, in the core of the house, with deep chamfered internal openings. The cottage has a plank front door.
INTERIOR: substantial chamfered timber framing is exposed in the ground floor entrance passage, while lighter scantling studding is exposed on the first floor. The main room has a deep, chamfered axial beam and a chamfered bressumer over the fireplace. The fireplace opening is enclosed by dressed stone piers, which were added in the 1960s, flanked by an alcove, possibly a former oven, to the left. A larger alcove is set into the front wall of the cottage. Blocked openings in the rear wall have timber lintels. Next to the stack is a section of re-used panelling, possibly introduced to the cottage. On the ground floor, an C18 oak fielded panel door with butterfly hinges leads to a winder stair with a curved outer profile, and with a replaced balustrade at landing level. On the first floor, a similar door, but with four panels on the inner face, has HL hinges. The cottage has plank internal doors to the rear outshut. Floors are of limestone flags. A blocked doorway on the first floor connected with Rose Cottage. The deeper northern bay of the cottage was rebuilt c1960 on earlier footings.

Rose Cottage
EXTERIOR: is of two storeys in two unequal bays with a large stack to the left bay and a smaller stack to the right. The entrance is placed off-centre and leads to the right-hand bay and has a 1970s door in a wide architrave under a stone lintel. Windows are later-C19 horned sashes, with stone quoins and lintels.
INTERIOR: the ground floor has a chamfered axial beam in the principal room which has a large fireplace with a replaced bressumer; the smaller fireplace has a rebuilt brick arch; stairs rise in front of the main stack, floors are replaced. The ground-floor door between the bays, which is probably C19, is reused but set in an earlier doorway which is splayed on one side and was probably the original gable-end entrance to the cottage. A filled-in doorway leading to Fern Cottage is partially blocked by the stairs which are rebuilt. The internal upper gable wall between the bays, which was formerly the external southern wall of the single bay cottage, has an original splayed loading entrance, but with a replaced door. The central first-floor doorcase is chamfered and probably of late C19 or early C20 date. The roof is of two builds. The northern bay has an oak butt purlin roof above an elm truss. Evidence revealed during restoration of superimposed roof structures and of the position of the tie beam suggests that the roof may have been replaced in the C19, raising the eaves to give added upper floor space. The roof of the southern bay was not visible but is said to resemble End Cottage.

End Cottage
EXTERIOR: End Cottage occupies the smallest, southernmost, plot of the row. It has an external stepped stone gable-end stack; a plank door to the left of the bay and a pair of possibly early C19 two-light timber casements, each of eight panes, one to each floor.
INTERIOR: it is said to have deep chamfered tie beams and joists, possibly C17 in date, a winder stair behind the stack, and a built-in cupboard against the party wall. It is possible that the roof was altered in the C19 raising the eaves to give added upper floor space, creating two full storeys.

This row of small, workers' cottages lie in Church Walk, a narrow lane or walkway previously known as the Passage or Tchure which runs behind, but parallel to, the south-east side of the village green and leads to the C14 church. A row of buildings are marked on the site on a parish map of 1788 which shows enclosed gardens and orchards to the south of the cottages, with similar boundaries to the current boundary walls, and backing on to Upper Church Close. A number of new houses were built between the lane and the green in the C19, giving Church Walk its present character, where the cottages are tightly packed in the core of the village. In 1876 the row is shown as separate single cell units with rear outshuts, and it is possible that each reverted to single-cell workers' cottages during the later-C19 agricultural depression.

West Oxfordshire is characterised by limestone buildings, both of dressed stone and of rubble like these, and has a long history of high quality masonry associated with quarries such as Taynton.

In plan, Fern Cottage, Rose Cottage and End Cottage are single-cell, end stack buildings of a C17 and C18 type identified by Wood-Jones in his study of vernacular houses in the Banbury area, but also built further south in this area of Oxfordshire. As a group they show how single-cell units have been adapted and sometimes linked as status, use and ownership have varied. While Fern Cottage stands out as the most complete and richly fitted of the three, Rose Cottage and End Cottage are an integral part of the group whose position in the historic core of the village strongly defines the vernacular tradition in the area. Together they give three variants of the evolution of a similar plan. The facades show three phases of door and window openings and their fittings, while the variety of treatment of chimney stacks and roofing material is commonly found in the area.

Boundary walls and outbuildings which survive, particularly at the rear of Fern and Rose Cottages, describe the extent of village plots and how they were used. These include an external privy and an outbuilding which may have been a brewhouse, also built of limestone rubble. These features are not of special interest in a national context.

Sherwood, J and Pevsner N, Buildings of England, Oxfordshire,1974
Wood-Jones, R, Traditional Domestic Architecture in the Banbury Region, 1963

Fern Cottage, Rose Cottage and End Cottage, Combe are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a row of late C17 or C18 single-cell, end-chimney cottages which together give three variants of the evolution of a similar house type. The facades show three phases of types of doors, windows and openings;
* Plan: a variant of the single-cell end-stack plan, typical of north Oxfordshire; here entrances are on the front elevation, although the northern cell of Rose Cottage may originally have had an entrance in the south gable wall;
* Intactness: Fern Cottage retains a rare entrance passage, and good quality fixtures and fittings;
* Historic Interest: a row of cottages in the core of the village which together reflect a sequence of changes to a typical plan type in response to changes of use, status and ownership.

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

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