House. Late C18, early-C19 alterations. Sandstone with stone slate and concrete tile roofs.
Reason for Listing
Beech House, West Melton, a late-C18 house with early-C19 alterations is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: the building contains two major phases of interest, having been originally built in the late C18 as a vernacular house and taller agricultural building in a linear group, then underwent an early-C19 re-fitting which both incorporated the agricultural bay into the house and gave the property a distinctly polite character;
* Architectural Interest: built in the distinctly rural location of a small agricultural village, the early-C19 refitting is of particular interest. Details such as the good quality wedge lintels and internal fixtures and fittings are representative of fashionable styles seen in larger urban centres at the time. These clearly demonstrate the owner's social standing and desire to distinguish the house from its more vernacular neighbours;
* Interior: the house contains many historic fixtures and fittings including an early-C19 series of fielded-panel doors, architraves, and fireplaces with cast-iron hob grates, the rear range bedroom being notable for the quality and intactness of the ensemble, also moulded cornices, staircase, painted glass screen, and in the kitchen, a row of servants' bells, and meat hooks.
Relatively little is known of the history of Beech House. A property is depicted on the site on William Fairbank's Township Map of Brampton Brierley, dated 1773-4. It is shown set back from the road and is roughly square with a narrower range to the left, west side. Attached to this is a long range built against the west boundary wall to the front of the house. There is also a separate building to the rear of the property, built abutting the east boundary wall, with a long strip garden extending to the north.
The Yorkshire 1:10560 Ordnance Survey map published in 1855 also shows a building which is set back from the road. The footprint does appear slightly altered, being more L-shaped, with a narrower rear range on the east side. The long range built against the west boundary wall remains, but the rear building has been replaced by a T-shaped building. The Yorkshire 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map of 1892 identifies Beech House by name for the first time, confirms that the L-shaped building has ranges of equal width, and also that by this time the long front range has gone. By 1903 a square glass house had been added to the south, front elevation against the south-west corner, and an additional outbuilding had been erected to the rear, replacing the T-shaped building, together with two further glass houses.
The original occupants of Beech House are not known. Stylistically, the house was refurbished in the early C19, which suggests a new occupant may have moved in or inherited the property. In 1915 Martha Ann Smith (nee Brooke) and her family moved into Beech House, which had been left to her by her uncle on her mother's side, John Blackburn. A Post Office Directory of 1857 lists several Blackburns including John Blackburn, a cabinet maker & joiner, & farmer, in West Melton, though an address is not given. The Smiths were tailors and drapers and from 1915 the business was run by Martha's sons, Charles and James Brooke. James continued to live at Beech House until his death in 1973.
House. Late C18, early-C19 alterations. Sandstone with stone slate and concrete tile roofs.
PLAN: L-shaped plan of a two-storey, three-bay house with an additional wide single bay of two-and-a-half bays on its west, left-hand side, and a two-storey rear north range on the east side. The main house has a central entrance and stair hall, and a rear north range on the east side contains the kitchen and cellars, with an additional bay built on the north end.
EXTERIOR: the front elevation faces south, towards the road. It is built of coursed sandstone blocks, with scarring to the left-hand corner, where there was formerly a long range attached running southwards. The roofs are of concrete tiles, with two brick gable stacks to the taller bay, the stack to the outer west gable built externally against the wall, and a brick stack to the outer east gable of the house. The taller left-hand bay has a single vertical row of three windows located just right of centre. The ground-floor window has an ashlar wedge lintel and projecting sill, with an eight-over-eight pane unhorned sash window. The first-floor window is of similar size and has a plain stone lintel and projecting sill, with a casement window frame. The shorter attic window does not have a well-formed opening. It has a three-over-three pane unhorned sash window. The three bays forming the main house elevation have a central doorway with an ashlar surround of plain, square-cut pilasters and entablature. The door has two lower fielded panels, with glazed upper panels, the longer panels containing Art Nouveau stained glass panels, with bulls-eye glass to the upper square panels. On the left-hand side is a canted bay window with timber pilasters and two-over-two pane horned sash windows. On the right-hand side is a window also with an ashlar wedge lintel, projecting sill, and eight-over-eight pane unhorned sash window. On the first floor are three similar rectangular windows with plain stone lintels, projecting sills, and casement frames.
The gable walls of the front range of the house are both rendered.
The rear range has an un-rendered east elevation and a rendered west elevation, with a stone slate roof, a brick ridge stack and a brick gable stack. The left-hand side of the east side elevation is built of roughly coursed sandstone rubble; a stone sill and lintel show that there was a small window on the ground floor, now blocked and replaced by a larger six-over-six pane horned sash window. Immediately above is a stone surround for another blocked window or opening, with a modern canted oriel window on the first floor. There is a grating for a cellar window. The right-hand side is of larger, better-formed blocks of sandstone, with a doorway with deep monolithic lintel and a barred window with a similar lintel to the right-hand end.
The west side elevation of the rear range is rendered, as is the rear elevation of the main house which it adjoins. Both elevations have applied timbers which are not structural. It has a doorway at the right-hand end with a chamfered stone surround with a deep lintel and a heavy timber door with two small square upper lights. Adjacent on its left-hand side is a window with an ashlar wedge lintel, projecting sill, and eight-over-eight pane un-horned sash window with iron bars in front. There is a similar window above on the first floor. This also has the ashlar wedge lintel and projecting sill, though the window has a replacement casement frame.
The rear, north elevation of the main house has a taller right-hand bay. The left-hand bay, abutting the rear range, has a window on the ground floor which is similarly detailed with a wedge lintel, projecting sill, and eight-over-eight pane un-horned sash window. The taller bay has French double doors with a rectangular overlight and side lights set in an ashlar surround, the upper half of which is fluted, with a triangular pediment. The two first-floor windows in this elevation are horizontal three-light windows both set in an ashlar surround with stone mullions and a deep lintel.
The entrance and stair hall has a staircase rising from the rear of the hall with the doorway to the cellar steps facing the entrance door. The room has panelling up to dado level and a moulded cornice with a shallow archway at the far end beyond which the wall curves to accommodate the doorway in the west elevation of the rear range. The staircase has a heavy mahogany newel post with ball finial, swept handrail and white-painted fluted balusters. The doorway into the front left room has a wide, moulded timber architrave and a fielded six-panel door. The room has fielded panelling to the window recesses, picture rail, a central cross beam, Greek key cornicing, and a built-in, half-glazed cabinet to the right of the fireplace, which has a modern surround, with bell-push handles on each side. To the left of the fireplace a similar fielded six-panel door and architrave opens into the room beyond. The room has two beams running north-south dividing the ceiling into three, which are covered in panelling and deep moulded cornicing which continues round each ceiling section. The window and French doors have deep moulded architraves. There is a white marble fireplace. The room to the right of the entrance hall has a timber and glazed screen dividing it from the room behind. The glazing is of textured and brown coloured glass, with panels painted with foliage and sparrows. The rear right room has a fielded four-panelled door, as does the kitchen, with the two upper panels now glazed. The kitchen has a number of meat hooks, and retains a panel of seven servants' bells.
The first-floor landing has a decorative plaster ceiling. The first-floor doors are of four fielded panels with a moulded architrave except for that to the main bedroom at the rear of the landing (in the rear range). It has a fielded six-panel door, fielded panel reveals and soffit, and a fluted architrave with bull-eye decoration. The room has a similarly detailed timber fireplace with an iron hob grate. To its left is a second doorway through to the rear staircase. It has a six-panelled door with moulded panels and a similar fluted and bulls-eye architrave. Similar moulded panelling is used on the west window reveals. The rear staircase has sawn splat balusters. In the main house the front right bedroom has a plain timber fireplace with an iron hob grate. The far left bedroom has a central cross beam with fake timbers to the walls. It has a timber fireplace with panelled overmantel and an iron hob grate, adapted by the addition of an oval gas fire to replace the central grate.
A lean-to glass house attached to the left-hand, west end of the front elevation, a similar glass house to the north of the rear range, and a range of single-storey outhouses running north-south beyond the glass house are not of special interest.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.