A cottage, built c1778 alongside the Stroudwater Navigation for the Hill family of nearby Lower Mills; extended in the early C21.
Reason for Listing
Nutshell Cottage, built c1778 for the Hill family of Lower Mills, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Canal interest: as part of the development of the area around the newly-constructed Stroudwater Navigation, illustrating its significance in the industrial development of this area
* Historic interest: the building was constructed as a canal-side cottage for the Bird family, wealthy clothiers who owned nearby Lower Mills, and appear to have used this building and the adjacent warehouse for loading and unloading canal boats
* Group value: with the adjacent Nutshell Bridge and Nutshell House, both listed at Grade II, 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 Cottage 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. Nutshell 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. Though it adjoins the canal bridge, the cottage 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 (on the east side of the bridge) in good condition.
MATERIALS: the cottage is constructed from a mixture of red brick and coursed limestone rubble, with some roughcast render, under a slate roof.
PLAN: the cottage's original range ran north-south at the east side of the plot; it was extended in the early C21 to join this range with an existing outbuilding to the west, creating an L-shaped footprint.
EXTERIOR: the cottage is in two parts: a two-storey range of three bays, with a hipped roof, brick stacks and timber casement windows; and the former outbuilding, a single-storey range joined to the original cottage by an early-C21, partly-glazed extension.
INTERIOR: the interior has been largely reordered in the C21.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.