A house, formerly a warehouse, built in c1778 for the Hill family, owners of the nearby Lower Mills.
Reason for Listing
Nutshell House, built c1778 as a warehouse for the Hill family of Lower Mills, is listed at Grade 2, for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest: the house is a handsome building of the later C18, which demonstrates some architectural pretension in its canted east end and classical styling
Historic interest: the building was constructed as a warehouse for the Hill family, wealthy clothiers who owned nearby Lower Mills, and appear to have used this building for loading and unloading canal boats
Group value: with the adjacent Nutshell Bridge and Nutshell Cottage, both listed at Grade 2, with which it forms a contemporary and functionally-related group.
The Stroudwater Navigation, built in 1775-9, was designed to link the River Severn at Framilode to Stroud, allowing coal to be brought from Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Forest of Dean to the textile mills of the Stroud valleys. The Thames and Severn Canal, constructed in 1783-9, was designed to run eastwards from Stroud, eventually linking the River Severn to the River Thames at Inglesham, near Lechlade. The Cotswold Canals, as they are also known, were generally successful, though the Thames and Severn in particular suffered serious technical failings which compromised its profitability; despite this, both canals continued in use well into the C20.
Nutshell House is situated adjacent to Nutshell Bridge, which was constructed by the Stroudwater Canal Company in 1778, and was initially known as Mr Hill's Bridge, as it gave access across the canal from Stonehouse to Lower Mills, just to the south-east, which was owned by William Hill, a wealthy clothier. William, or his son Edward, built a cottage and warehouse on the south side of the canal adjacent to the bridge. The cottage and the building now known as Nutshell House appear to have been erected by 1780, on land which still belonged to the canal company; it was not until 1803 that a lease for land to either side of the bridge was formalised. Nutshell House appears to have originated as a warehouse: it is mentioned as such in documentary records. Though it adjoins the canal bridge, it was never owned by the canal company, but belonged to Edward Hill; his conveyance of 1803 records his agreement to keep the part of the bridge which connected to the warehouse in good condition. The building was later converted to a dwelling, possibly in the 1820s, as a date mark of 1827 was found during repairs; a hoist for taking-in remained attached to the elevation to the canal well into the C20. It has been suggested that the round-arched tunnel now forming a large cellar running under Nutshell House and continuing under Nutshell Cottage to the west may have been an internal dock or boathouse allowing vessels to branch off the canal at this point.
MATERIALS: the house is constructed from red brick, laid in Flemish bond, with limestone dressings, slate roofs and brick stacks.
PLAN: the house is rectangular on plan with a canted east end, and a lean-to range to the south.
EXTERIOR: the building is of three storeys. The east end has sash windows to the central facet, all with stone lintels; those to the ground and middle floors are six-over-six sashes, and there is a three-over-three pane sash to the upper floor. The canted corners have alternating stone quoins, and there are plain stone bands marking the floor levels. The roof is hipped at the east end. The north side, onto the towpath, has a blocked doorway with a six-over-six sash to its right; and there is a single sash to the upper floors, each with a brick flat arch. This side also has an eaves-mounted brick chimney. The south side to the garden, has a partially open-fronted lean-to to the ground floor. The middle floor has two six-over-six sashes in openings with keyed gauged brick arches; there is a single six-over-six upper floor sash, under a stone lintel. The west side is gabled, with a brick gable-end stack and a blocked round-arched opening to the upper floor.
INTERIOR: not inspected, but sources indicate that the staircases are plain, and the doors are plain to the landings, with mouldings to the inner faces. There are fireplaces surviving in all the rooms.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.