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Laurel Cottage

A Grade II Listed Building in Sway, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.7747 / 50°46'28"N

Longitude: -1.6296 / 1°37'46"W

OS Eastings: 426215

OS Northings: 97296

OS Grid: SZ262972

Mapcode National: GBR 66G.8V3

Mapcode Global: FRA 77G1.JYM

Plus Code: 9C2WQ9FC+V5

Entry Name: Laurel Cottage

Listing Date: 28 October 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1426003

Location: Sway, New Forest, Hampshire, SO41

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest

Civil Parish: Sway

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Hordle All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Winchester

Tagged with: Cottage

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Cottage, late C18 or early C19 with subsequent extensions.


Cottage, late C18 or early C19 with subsequent extensions.

MATERIALS: the walls to the cottage and western extension are built from clay cob, and those to the eastern garden room are likely to be brick; all are rendered and painted. The roof structure is timber and is covered with reed thatch, with some long straw remaining underneath. Windows are timber framed, except for that to the bathroom which has a metal frame.

PLAN: the building has a long, linear plan and is orientated roughly west to east, set back from Northover Lane. The central section is one-and-a-half storeys and represents the original, two cell cottage, which has a large inglenook fireplace at the east end, and a central stair. A single-storey hipped extension abuts the west gable end, as does another, later extension on the east, accessible only externally.

EXTERIOR: the principal elevation is south facing, and the central section of the building is roughly symmetrical; it has a porch with a window to either side, and two eyebrow dormers in the attic above. The porch is built from brick and has a plank door, leaded lights on the returns, and a pitched roof clad in cedar shingles. To the right (east) is a single-storey canted bay window with a shingle-covered roof and quarry-tiled cill; it contains four casements with timber diamond-pattern glazing bars. To the right of it, lighting the inglenook, is a small window formed from a single piece of dressed limestone. On the left (west) of the porch is a shallow canted bay window, also capped in shingles, and supported on crude timber brackets; it has one fixed light and two single-light casements. The dormers each have a pair of four-light casements and have glazed side lights. On the left the thatched roof continues as a catslide over the single-storey extension; this has a round-headed metal framed window with a central four-light casement, margin glazing bars and coloured and textured glass. To the right of the original cottage is the single-storey garden room, accessed by a plank door just beyond the junction with the cottage. A projecting square bay with five casement windows makes up the remainder of the elevation.

The rear elevation has two triangular bay windows with shingle roofs, lighting the kitchen and the garden room, and there are two small fixed casements lighting the pantry and the living room. The rear and side elevations are otherwise blind.

INTERIOR: from within the porch the front door enters directly into the living room, which has two roughly rounded timbers forming transverse ceiling beams, with narrower poles forming joists. Internal walls are generally plastered, with the timber lintels to the doors and windows left exposed. The inglenook occupies the entire east wall accessed beneath a pair of roughly-hewn bressumer timbers. It is ceiled, and to one side is a recess with rounded walls; there is a relatively modern fireplace and metal flue. There are timber seats built into the inglenook and the bay window. The other principal room on the ground floor, now the kitchen, has undergone some replacement to the ceiling timbers. Internal doors on the ground floor are ledged and planked, some with braces, and with some C19 door furniture; windows have a mix of C19 and C20 ironmongery. There is a very steep central stair, almost a modified loft ladder, enclosed by partitions separating the two rooms. Upstairs there are also two rooms; the stair emerges into the eastern room, which has a simple timber-boarded balustrade around the opening. The second room is accessed via the first. The purlins are exposed and the underside of the roof is boarded, possibly on top of earlier lath and plaster.

The western extension contains the bathroom and pantry, the latter formed by a single skin of brick laid side-on. The underside of the roof is visible, and consists of pole rafters and narrow branches forming battening for the thatch.

The garden room has a wide, roughly hewn cross beam, and machine-sawn joists. In the loft above the rafters are machined, and the battens made from slender branches.


Laurel Cottage appears to be shown on the Ordnance Survey 1” map of 1810-11, and is then shown clearly on the Tithe map of 1846. The series of Ordnance Survey maps beginning in 1868 show the building in greater detail, and illustrate a central section with additions at either end, as is evident in the fabric as it stands today. The porch is first shown on the 1898 map, but is not illustrated on later maps, including the modern map, possibly due to its size. The 1939 map shows an additional block on the rear, north side of the building; this block is not shown on the 1960 map.

Possibly built as a squatter’s cottage, it appears to have been a two-cell plan building with a central stair, and a fireplace heating the eastern room only. An extension to the west was made early in the life of the building using cob, a material also used for the earlier phase. The eastern extension, inaccessible through the cottage itself, is brick, and appears to have replaced an earlier, lean-to structure: the external façade of the eastern gable of the original cottage is visible in the loft of the eastern extension, and is rendered to a crisp horizontal line, below which the cob wall is exposed. The function of the extension is unknown, but its large bay and southerly aspect suggest it may have been some sort of garden room.

The large inglenook in the east end of the original cottage has a walled recess on the north side which may have housed a bread oven or copper. Some modification has been made to the chimneystack, which at ground floor level has a wide metal flue. A stack was added to the western room, possibly when the western extension was made. The rear wall of the pantry within that extension is brick rather than cob, suggesting it may be a blocked doorway.

Reasons for Listing

Laurel Cottage, a late-C18 or early-C19 cottage is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a modest, largely complete, forest cottage which retains a significant proportion of historic fabric;
* Alteration: improvements made to the building have not impacted on the legibility of its plan or its original form, and it remains a good illustration of vernacular traditions;
* Internal features: the very large inglenook, with the recess for the copper, and the stone window, are notable historic features;
* Historic interest: the building reflects the smallholder tradition, which historically formed the core of New Forest economy and culture.

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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