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Chelwood

A Grade II Listed Building in Laughton, East Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9003 / 50°54'1"N

Longitude: 0.137 / 0°8'13"E

OS Eastings: 550363

OS Northings: 113381

OS Grid: TQ503133

Mapcode National: GBR LR5.KFN

Mapcode Global: FRA C65Q.H68

Plus Code: 9F22W42P+4Q

Entry Name: Chelwood

Listing Date: 6 September 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1436424

Location: Laughton, Wealden, East Sussex, BN8

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Laughton

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Laughton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Summary


House, c1600 or earlier, with C18, C19 and C20 alterations.

Description

House, c1600 or earlier, with C18, C19 and C20 alterations.

MATERIALS: timber-framed construction, with the ground floor largely rebuilt in brick. To the front the brickwork is laid in Flemish bond, with red stretchers and burnt blue headers; to the sides and rear it is red brick laid in English Garden Wall bond. The first floor is clad in hung tiles. Doors and windows are timber or metal, predominantly of late-C19 and C20 manufacture. The roof is covered in tiles.

PLAN: the building is rectangular in footprint, with its front elevation facing east. It is three bays wide, the bays being of approximately equal width; the roof is hipped, with gablets. A chimney stack rises through the building in the central bay, but while the chimney emerges through the roof at the centre of the ridge, below roof level, the stack is off-set to the east, meaning it is much closer to the front wall of the house than the back. Within the roof-space the stack is angled – moving from the position of the stack below, to the position of the chimney on the ridge line.

The room to each side of the chimney stack has been divided in two, creating a double-pile plan with larger, heated, rooms (one north, one south) to the front of the building; and two shallow, unheated, rooms to the back (one north, one south). The back room to the south has been opened up to the front room, and contains a straight stair (possibly C20) running along the back wall of the building. The main door to the house is now in the south end wall, opening onto the stair. There is an opposing door in the north end wall which opens into the other back room (most recently a kitchen). This is now a sliding door, enclosed by a small, mid-C20, flat-roofed store. To the rear of the house is a late-C20 flat-roofed shower room.

At first floor the plan is similar, with two larger rooms at the front of the building either side of the stack, and two smaller rooms at the back between which is the stair and landing.

EXTERIOR: the building’s principal elevation (to the east), has an irregular arrangement of windows – varying in size and position. Across the whole elevation there are four windows on the first floor, and three, plus a door, on the ground floor. On the southern half the windows are hinged metal casements with square leaded lights, and the brickwork suggests one doorway, now blocked, which may have been original to the under-building of the frame, and a second, later, doorway, now partially in-filled to create a window. On the northern half the windows are multi-light Yorkshire sashes; one former window opening has been extended downwards to create a doorway, now filled with a multi-light glazed door, and the size of the other window opening on the ground floor has been altered.

The rear elevation is even more irregular, with a mixture of metal, timber, and uPVC windows of varying size and date. The south end wall now has the building’s current main entrance, in the form of a planked timber door with a flat timber canopy supported on shaped brackets. To the right of this is a small casement window.

INTERIOR: joinery appears to be of C19 and C20 date; the doors are predominantly of plank construction. The principal features on the ground floor are the back-to back fireplaces in the central stack. The grate and brick surround of the south-facing fireplace probably date to the mid-C20, but to the left of the chimney breast is a built-in half-height cupboard with shelving alcove above, of probable early-C19 date. The alcove has a three-centred arch front, with a simple ceiling cornice and moulded impost bands. The north-facing fireplace has a relatively large opening and a simple moulded surround and mantle-shelf. To the right is a half-height cupboard. Again, the joinery appears to be of early-C19 date. At ceiling level, parts of the timber frame’s mid-rail are visible in the front rooms. Exposed floor joists in the back room to the north are later replacements, probably of C20 date, and the upper part of a bay post, now truncated, is visible at ceiling level.

On the first floor, the building’s timber frame is exposed in all four outer walls. The frame is of reasonably substantial scantling, with a mixture of curved and straight down-bracing. Heavy, jowled, posts mark the bay divisions, and those which frame the central bay have had the tie beam, which connected them as opposing pairs, cut out, thus allowing the ceiling height to be raised between the bay divisions. The pair of posts marking the division between the south and central bay, both show evidence of an empty mortise, suggesting a missing down brace or rail.

Only part of the roof structure could be inspected, and although having undergone alteration, it clearly contains a quantity of historic timbers, some seeming to have smoke-blackening. The roof does not have a ridge piece, and appears to be of a clasped purlin type. A trimmed collar in the truss to the north of the chimney stack is an unusual feature.

History

Chelwood is a house which probably dates from c1600 or earlier, based on evidence from its fabric and floor plan. The earliest map so far known to depict Chelwood is a manorial map of 1730. Here Chelwood is illustrated as a small house with a central doorway and central chimney.

The ‘lobby-entry’ plan, which typically comprised a central chimney stack, with back-to-back fireplaces heating two adjacent rooms, was generally found in the south of England between c1550 and c1750. To the front of the stack was usually an entrance lobby (hence a central entrance to the building), and to the far side was usually a stair. From the position of the chimney stack, it is tempting to conclude that Chelwood was built from the outset as a dwelling with a central-stack plan - this is certainly how it is depicted, albeit simplistically, in the manorial map of 1730. It is possible that this is the case, and the substantial size of some of the timbers, the curved down-bracing of the frame, and the jowling of the wall posts, would point to a date early in the range. However, the current chimney does not appear to be original. While it emerges from the building’s roof in a conventional manner, within the building the character of the stack is atypical for a house of this type. Firstly it is of smaller dimensions than would be expected, and it is off-set in the plan – too close to the front wall to allow for the central door which would be a usual feature. These factors, combined with the fact that the stack is placed centrally in the party wall of the front rooms, the dimensions for which are not believed to be original, but mark the later subdivision of the two end bays, all point to the current stack being a later insertion of the early C19 or before. Assuming Chelwood was constructed as a house, as opposed to having some other function, it would have been heated; evidence within the building's fabric may yet reveal how.

Although of timber-framed construction, at some point, probably in the C18 or early C19, Chelwood’s first-floor frame was under-built with brick; the brick seeming to have replaced the ground-floor timber frame, rather than simply covering it. The brickwork shows evidence of having been altered, with the size of window openings changed, and an off-centre doorway with red-brick dressings, in-filled.

To the south of the house during the C19 and early C20, was a small brickyard. Brickyards were common in this area, and while it is not clear at what date brick-making began on Pound Lane, it seems highly probable that the bricks used at Chelwood were either made here or very close by. 1872 sales particulars for a “Brickyard Farm” show that at this time both Chelwood and the brickyard formed part of the same holding. The plan which accompanies the particulars indicates that at this date Chelwood had a small square outshut to the rear of the building, and that it had been split into two cottages. The off-centre path leading to the east (front) elevation suggests that the now blocked doorway seen in the brickwork was at that date in use as the entrance to the southern of the two cottages.

C19 Ordnance Survey maps do not show the building’s subdivision, it is not until the OS map of 1910, that the division is shown clearly, and by this date both cottages have a small square outshut to the rear. At some point, possibly between 1872 and 1910, the arrangement of the two cottages was changed. A new doorway was created into the south cottage, through the south end wall. An opposing doorway in the north wall, and the current internal arrangement of the house, suggests that the two cottages may have been configured as a near mirror-image pair. By the 1950s, the cottages had been reunited as a single house.

In its various phases of alteration, the building appears to have followed a familiar historical pattern, reflecting not just the increased availability of, and fashion for, brick and tile in the C18 and C19, but also the loss of status that older buildings often suffered (resulting in their division into smaller dwellings), before they became desirable to the more affluent and returned to single occupation.

Reasons for Listing

Chelwood, a small timber-framed house of c1600 or earlier, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the house is a good example of a small vernacular building which retains a significant proportion of its three-bay timber frame;
* Historic interest: in its earlier form and subsequent evolution, the building reflects aspects of the changing pattern of rural domestic buildings and their occupation in the post-Medieval period.

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