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Top Farm, North End

A Grade II Listed Building in Dunmow, Essex

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Latitude: 51.8375 / 51°50'14"N

Longitude: 0.4136 / 0°24'49"E

OS Eastings: 566385

OS Northings: 218183

OS Grid: TL663181

Mapcode National: GBR NGS.PF2

Mapcode Global: VHJJN.420Q

Plus Code: 9F32RCP7+XC

Entry Name: Top Farm, North End

Listing Date: 28 September 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1402284

Location: Great Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex, CM6

County: Essex

District: Chelmsford

Civil Parish: Great Waltham

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Great Waltham St Mary and St Lawrence with Ford End St John

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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A C17 farmhouse, encased in the late C19 or early C20 and extended in the late C20.


A C17 farmhouse, encased in the late C19 or early C20 and extended in the late C20.

MATERIALS: red brick external walls laid in Flemish bond, with an interior timber frame and a tiled roof.

PLAN: the house has a lobby entrance plan, with heated rooms on either side of the stack and an unheated room to the far right (south). The addition of a wing to the north-east in the 1960s has resulted in a ‘L’ shape plan.

EXTERIOR: the façade has an off-centre porch, beneath a tiled gablet, and a four-panel, timber entrance door. On the ground floor are three horizontal sash windows beneath shallow-arched, brick heads and on the first floor are three ‘Yorkshire’ sashes with twelve lights and glazing bars. The off-centre ridge stack has dog tooth moulded brick decoration and terracotta pots. In the 1960s, a central outshot beneath a tiled, catslide roof with a dormer window and a two storey wing to the north-east were constructed. Attached to the right (south-west) gable end is a single-storey outhouse with a tiled, gable roof which has ’velux’ windows in both the front and rear pitches and an off-centre, brick stack. C20 casement windows have been inserted at the front and rear elevations and there is weatherboard cladding and two plank doors to the rear. The north-east elevation has C20 windows in the rear wing, but the gable end of the linear range is blind.

INTERIOR: the earliest phase comprises a linear range with an intact lobby entrance plan, although the original winding stairs at the rear of the off-centre stack bay have been removed. On the ground floor, the wall posts and midrails to the front and rear wall frame remain in-situ, except at the rear corner of the south-west gable end where the framing has been replaced with brick (on both floors). Evidence for a diamond mullion window and shutter is apparent in the rear midrail of the left-hand room. Most of the sole plate appears to have been replaced and all of the timber studs have been removed with the exception of those in the central, rear wall frame at the ground floor and two-thirds of the rear wall frame at the first floor.

The principal timbers of the original cross-frames at the gable ends and room partitions survive on both floors. The floor frame comprises axial bridging beams with wide chamfers and lamb's tongue stops. On the first floor, all of the wall plate and tie beams are present and there are wide floorboards in each room. Throughout the building, the surviving timber frame is of substantial scantling, jointed and pegged in place, and there are wattle and daub panels remaining in the rear wall frame and first floor cross frames. The common, coupled rafter roof structure has collars and purlins and is largely intact, with a later structure laid over it.

On the ground floor, the original fireplaces have been infilled and the surrounds replaced in the C20. In the central room are two, substantial timber plank doors with C17, round-ended strap hinges. The room to the south-west has pamment flooring; a door leads through the gable end into the single-storey extension, which although remodelled in the late C20, retains a simple, open fireplace and has the tie beams to the roof exposed. On the first floor are two, late C18, two-panel doors and one, late C19 fireplace in the northernmost room.

The C20 extensions do not have special interest.


Top Farm is located at the south-west fringes of the hamlet of North End. The farmhouse is separated from the farm’s outbuildings by Black Chapel Lane. Originally a C17 lobby entrance house, the farmhouse may be represented on the 1777 Chapman and Andre map and is clearly shown as a linear range on the historic Ordnance Survey maps of 1875 and later. The farmhouse was encased in the late C19 or early C20 when a small porch was added to the façade. In the 1960s, a rear wing was added to the north-east and an outshot was constructed to the rear of the earliest phase. At this time, the original stairs to the rear of the stack were removed and C20 stairs were positioned in the outshot. The single storey outbuilding attached to the south-west gable end was remodelled to form a kitchen, bathroom and storage.

The farm buildings on the west side of Black Chapel Lane are altered substantially.

Reasons for Listing

Top Farmhouse, North End, Dunmow a vernacular dwelling of the C17, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: the remaining timber frame constitutes a significant proportion of historic fabric. It is constructed with good quality timber and well-crafted
* Intactness: although the building was encased in the late C19 or early C20, the main components of the building's timber frame survive, including the wall posts, midrails, wall plate, some sections of sole plate, the floor frames and the roof. The lobby entrance plan-form remains largely intact and legible
* Interior: the survival of the original floorboards, two C17 doors, wattle and daub panels and the evidence of a diamond mullion window in the rear midrail of the left-hand room adds to the interest of the farmhouse
* Group Value: the house has considerable group value with the listed buildings in its immediate vicinity, including Baytree Cottage, the interior of which is comparable to Top farmhouse in architectural interest, and Marple Cottage which also dates to the C17

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