A former medieval hall house. Probably early C15 with some C17 and C18 remodelling and additions. Further alterations occurred in the late C18 or early C19 and also in the later C19.
Reason for Listing
Myrtle Cottage is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: a dwelling that has evolved over many centuries and has a medieval building at its core; it contributes to our understanding of domestic vernacular architecture;
* Interior survival: a good proportion of historic features of various dates survive, including a medieval smoke-blackened roof truss, early-C16 fireplace and ceiling beams, and C19 fireplaces and joinery.
Sherborne grew throughout the medieval period and, in the C13, the planned borough of Newland was created by Bishop Richard Le Poure to the south-east of the abbey. Myrtle Cottage is situated on the south side of Newland, the main street of this medieval suburb, and is also close to Newland Green, the site of a former market and possibly the borough court during the C14. It is probable that the borough of Newland declined substantially during the post-medieval period and was effectively defunct by the end of the C17. The area has since been subsumed within the town.
Myrtle Cottage has a fairly complex history; its earliest part appears to date from the early C15. The building may have originally been of timber-framed construction and comprised an open hall, passage and service end. A smoke-blackened, arch-braced, collared roof truss dates from this first phase of construction. In the late C15 or early C16 the building underwent some remodelling when the hall was ceiled over and a stack was inserted against the left (east) side of the passage. The walls were rebuilt in stone, probably in the C17 since the principal elevation with its flat-arched doorway appears to be consistent with this date, and the roof was raised slightly at the same time. A one and a half storey outshut which incorporates some re-used timbers was added to the rear, and a single-storey gabled wing was subsequently built at the eastern end of the outshut. Further alterations occurred in the late C18 or early C19 when the house was refashioned and again in the later C19.
The footprint of the cottage has not altered since it was depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1888, however, at this time and until at least 1903 (second edition OS map) it is shown as two separate dwellings. The cross passage is also depicted on these historic maps, providing access to the rear of the building. It had reverted back to a single dwelling by 1928. Myrtle Cottage formerly stood within its medieval burgage plot, but much of the garden has been incorporated into the garden of the neighbouring property, Newland House, probably in the C19.
MATERIALS: it is constructed of local Sherborne limestone rubble brought to course under a pitched roof of single Roman tiles with ashlar coping to the right-hand (north-west) end. There are ridge stacks to the centre and the right-hand end, both of brick, and a further brick stack to the rear wing. The windows are a mix of styles and dates.
PLAN: a low, two-storey building that is L-shaped on plan. The earliest part is a medieval open hall house which was extended to the rear with a one and a half storey outshut, probably in the C18. A single-storey rear wing was subsequently added at the east end of the building. The detached outbuilding to the rear is not of special interest.
EXTERIOR: the principal (north) elevation faces onto the road. The central entrance has a low wide doorway with plain reveals and a six-panelled door with glazing to the two upper panels. To the left of the door is a ten/ten sash window under a timber lintel; to the right is an enlarged opening with timber sliding doors for vehicle entry. To the first floor there is a further sash window to the left-hand bay and two three-light casements to the centre and right-hand side which retain lead glazing and have timber lintels. The rear elevation of the outshut has irregularly-spaced windows of various styles, including three- and two-light casements, a C20 single window to the right of the rear doorway, and a gabled roof dormer. The wing to the right-hand bay breaks forwards and has a mid-C20 cross window under a concrete lintel.
INTERIOR: the cross passage has a plank and batten door in the left partition wall and a blocked doorway on the right side of the passage formerly provided access to the right-hand reception room which is now a garage. A projecting wall in the garage marks the position of a staircase that ran up to the attic. The room to the left of the passage has a chamfered framed ceiling with plain later cross beams and a square-headed stone fireplace with mouldings and a large blank area above the lintel. The window retains its panelled shutters and fluted mouldings to the recess. A doorway leads from this room into the rear wing. The ground-floor of the rear outshut contains a kitchen, pantry and cloakroom. The C19 staircase is located to the right of the passage and has a moulded handrail, turned newels and stick balusters. A half landing provides access to the narrow, first floor of the outshut which retains little evidence of historic features except for a substantial purlin that is probably re-used. The stairs dogleg and continue up to the upper floor of the main range which is divided into three bedrooms. The rooms at either end have mid- to late C19 fireplaces with timber surrounds, and the room to the far right (west) also has a chamfered axial ceiling beam. Most of the roof carpentry in the main range appears to be of C18 date with some later strengthening. A single, smoke-blackened arch-braced and collared truss survives in the left-hand (east) half of the attic. It is narrower than the existing side walls of the building and is probably early C15. The lower parts of this truss and its arch braces have been truncated and are now trenched into a modern tie beam.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: there are plain cast-iron railings to the front right of the entrance. To the rear of the house is a detached outbuilding that has been built against the west boundary wall to the garden. It is constructed of stone rubble and has monopitch roof clad in corrugated sheeting. There are two C20 windows to the west elevation and a doorway in the north return.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.