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Home Farm House

A Grade II Listed Building in Bracon Ash, Norwich, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5507 / 52°33'2"N

Longitude: 1.2183 / 1°13'5"E

OS Eastings: 618288

OS Northings: 299627

OS Grid: TM182996

Mapcode National: GBR VH9.2TM

Mapcode Global: VHL8J.24DZ

Plus Code: 9F43H629+78

Entry Name: Home Farm House

Listing Date: 14 December 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1440926

Location: Bracon Ash, South Norfolk, Norfolk, NR14

County: Norfolk

District: South Norfolk

Civil Parish: Bracon Ash

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Bracon Ash St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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A timber-framed farmhouse of early-mid C17 date, with later alterations and additions, including a 1990s refurbishment as a private dwelling. The 1990s cross wing at the south end is of lesser interest.


A timber-framed farmhouse of early-mid C17 date, with later alterations and additions, including a 1990s refurbishment as a private dwelling. The 1990s cross wing at the south end is of lesser interest.

MATERIALS: it has a brick plinth supporting a cement-rendered oak frame of close studding. The roof to the main range roof, which was probably originally thatched with reed, is now covered with black glazed pantiles, while the roof to the late-C20 cross wing is of red pantiles. Stacks are of late-C20 brick.

PLAN: the house is aligned north to south and was originally of a lobby-entry and low-end through passage type. In the 1990s the plan changed to an L-shape with the addition of a two-storey cross wing at the south end and the blocking up of the lobby entry door.

EXTERIOR: the house is of two-and-a-half storeys with an east-facing principal elevation of five asymmetrical bays. All windows and doors are uPVC replacements installed in the 1990s. To the ground floor, from left to right, there are three-light casement windows to the first and third bays, while the remaining three bays, including the blocked lobby-entry doorway to the second bay, have two-light casements. Set between the third and fourth bays is the former low-end through passage which now contains a part-glazed door of two-lights. To the first floor, the first and third bays have three-light casements while the fourth and fifth bays have two-light casements. The attic has two box dormers with three-light casements.

The right-hand return comprises a 1990s cross wing addition of which the left-hand half is gabled to continue the original roof line of the main range. The ground floor has three-light and two-light casement windows to the left-hand side and centre respectively while an early-C21 uPVC conservatory* projects at the right-hand side. Above, the first floor has three, two-light casements.

The left-hand return is blind.

To the rear, the gabled cross-wing has two-light casements to each floor, while its right-hand return wall has a horizontal rectangular window to the ground floor. To the right, the ground-floor of the main range has two, two-light casements separated by an oculus set within the former east-side doorway to the low-end through passage. Late-C20 French windows stand at the right-hand end. The first floor has a single, two-light casement and two, three-light casements.

INTERIOR: although the interior is now divided by modern stud partitions, with contemporary fixtures and fittings, along with the rebuilding of the back-to-back fireplaces in the 1990s, an almost complete timber frame of early-mid C17 date remains in situ. Much of the timber displays carpenters’ marks in the form of Roman numerals.

The ground and first floors are divided into five bays, plus a smoke bay, by large, chamfered ceiling beams, all with elaborately carved ogee and nicked stops. The common ceiling joists are of light scantling and fairly deep in section with the presence of nail holes for lathes suggesting that the ceilings were plastered at one time. The principal posts have long jowled heads connected to the tie beams and wall plates with the normal assembly method of construction. Empty mortices demonstrate that there were originally arch braces from the principal posts to the tie beams but these have now been removed. Apart from the principal posts, along with some stud work to a first-floor partition wall, the surviving studwork is not exposed but peg holes indicate their positions. A small section of the west-side bressumer in the north-end room was replaced in the 1990s.

The south side of the ceiling beam to the former low end displays evidence for the existence of a former partition fixed to the beam with half-lapped and dovetail joints. As the joints were cut in the beam’s south face rather than the underside, this suggests that the partition was an afterthought. In the centre of the beam is a mortice for a now removed post which corresponds to the subdivision of the lower end into two unheated service rooms.

Access from the ground floor to the first floor is by way of a wooden winder staircase. While the staircase is in its original position, the treads and risers are probably C18/C19 replacements. Directly above is a smaller straight-flight and winder staircase which provides access to the attic. Again the stair is in its original position, and the wooden treads and risers are believed to be original.

The A-frame roof structure is comprised of principal trusses which do not correspond directly to the tie beams and are fixed to the wall plates. It has simple collared principal rafters, of which some have been removed, and two sets of butt side purlins.

Although the house was extended with the addition of a two-storey cross wing in the 1990s, the principal posts at this end still appear to survive, displaying mortices for now removed braces.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, it is declared that the early-C21 conservatory adjoining the 1990s cross wing is not of special architectural or historic interest.


The precise origins of Home Farm House are unknown, but given the historical development of Bracon Ash, along with evidence from the building’s structural fabric, it appears to have originated as a timber-framed house in the early-mid C17. During the C17 and C18, as a result of rising agricultural prosperity in the area, several large houses and farms were built in Bracon Ash, and Home House Farm is believed to be one of these. An internal inspection has shown that the house was originally of five unequal bays, plus a smoke bay, with a basic lobby entry plan. The central back to back fireplaces served a south-side living room and a north side service room, both of two bays, while an unheated buttery and pantry accommodated the fifth bay at the south end. It is believed that the lower end was also equipped with a through passage of which the west-side doorway now serves as the main entrance. Little is known of the building's subsequent history, other than it being documented as belonging to the Mergate Hall Estate in 1800. By 1882, when the first edition Ordnance Survey map of the area was published, the farmhouse had been extended to the south with the addition of a sixth bay. During the second half of the C20 this single-storied addition was occupied by Bracon Ash Post Office. In the 1990s the building was refurbished and extended as a family home. Alterations at this time included blocking up the original lobby entry doorway with a window, the replacement of the single-storied southern bay with a two-storey cross wing, and the rebuilding of the central stack. Cement render was also applied as an exterior finish and all the windows and doors were replaced with uPVC units.

Reasons for Listing

Home Farm House, a former timber-framed farmhouse of early-mid C17 date, with later alterations and additions, including a 1990s refurbishment as a private dwelling, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: as a well-preserved example of a vernacular farmhouse dating from the early-mid C17;

* Degree of survival: it retains a largely complete, close-studded timber-frame which displays a high-level of craftsmanship in its carpentry;

* Legibility: despite some external alteration, the original lobby-entry and low-end through passage plan is still readable;

* Historic interest: built during a significant period of agricultural prosperity in Norfolk, its historic fabric clearly reflects the wealth and status of its original yeoman owner;

* Group value: it has a strong historical functional relationship with five listed buildings within its immediate vicinity, all of which formed part of a C17 agricultural community under the ownership of Mergate Hall (itself listed Grade II*).

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