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Little Priory, Wangford with Henham

Description: Little Priory

Grade: II
Date Listed: 16 February 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1407805

OS Grid Reference: TM4662879122
OS Grid Coordinates: 646628, 279124
Latitude/Longitude: 52.3546, 1.6203

Locality: Wangford with Henham
Local Authority: Waveney District Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: NR34 8RG

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Listing Text


A C18 lobby-entrance house, extended in the C19 and renovated in the early C21.

Reason for Listing

Little Priory, Wangford is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the C18 phase is of good quality brick construction, embellished at the facade by the modillion cornice and rubbed brick heads to the ground floor window openings;
* Intactness: despite the loss of some of the rear wall, a significant proportion of the C18 fabric remains intact including three external elevations, the floor frames and roof structure;
* Interior: the original lobby-entrance plan-form survives, demonstrating the evolution of the post-medieval house, a process continued by the construction of the C19 range to the rear and stables to the west. C18 fixtures and fittings remain including a register grate and plank doors;
* Group Value: Little Priory has group value with the Church of St Peter and St Paul (Grade I) and coach house (Grade II) to the west and nos. 15 and 21 Church Street to the east (both Grade II).


Located to the east of the Church of St Peter and St Paul (Grade I), Little Priory is thought to have been built in 1772. It was known as Church House from the early C20 until recently, but any functional association with the adjacent Church of St Peter and St Paul is not clear. A Cluniac monastery was founded near to the site in the C12 and it is believed that upstanding remains of the cloisters were finally demolished in the mid-C19. The below ground archaeological remains of the priory may survive, but are not designated. The Church of St Peter and St Paul was part of the priory, but although very little Norman fabric remains, the C15 nave, north aisle and porch survived the Reformation and Victorian ‘improvements’ by E.L Blackbume.

The C18 structure of the earliest range survives; in the mid to late-C19 an additional two-storey range was added to the south, which from the analysis of the brickwork, may incorporate the ground floor structure of an earlier rear wing. At the same time, a small stable block was also erected to the west of the house. Both the C18 and C19 east-facing gable ends have roof-line scars where additional ranges or structures of unknown form were attached to them historically. Internally, the C18 and C19 phases are integrated, but most fixtures and fittings are of C19 date.

The house was owned by the Earls of Stradbroke until 1953, after which it was owned by the artist Harry Becker and author Janet Becker. A postcard of 1905 and an external photograph of Little Priory at the time of its renovation around 2007, shows C20 casement fenestration on the façade and enlarged openings on the ground floor. The entrance had a simple, flush doorcase. During the renovation, a more elaborate doorcase was attached to the façade and a porch was added to the east elevation of the C19 addition. The façade windows (except those in the dormers) were replaced with modern timber sashes. At the rear, a former link structure to the stables was replaced with a conservatory. The stables were converted to additional accommodation.


MATERIALS: the C18 range is of red brick laid in Flemish bond. The C19 addition is of red and yellow brick, generally laid in Flemish bond, but with some stretcher bond patching. The gabled roofs are covered in pantiles.

PLAN: the house is ‘T’-shaped. The C18 range has a lobby-entrance plan adjoined at the rear (south) by the C19 addition. The stable has a ‘L’-shaped plan.

EXTERIOR: the façade of the C18 range faces the churchyard (north). It has a rebuilt, off-centre stack and coped parapets to the gables of the steep roof. The main entrance is in line with the stack; the panelled entrance door is late-C18 or early-C19 with contemporary door furniture, but the door case is early C21. To the left on the ground floor are two oversized window openings beneath square, segmented, rubbed brick heads. To the right the window has no decorative surround. The three square windows on the first floor are in their original openings, matched by three dormers beneath gablets above. There is a modillion cornice at the eaves. To the rear is the lower, two storey mid-C19 addition comprising a parallel pile to the C18 house and a rear wing which may incorporate an earlier structure. The rear wall of the earlier phase has been mostly breached by the C19 range, but at the south-west corner it remains complete; there is a partially blocked door opening and a six-over-six sash window with moulded surround which is probably of the late C18 or early C19. There are C21 window openings and fenestration in the wing, but the mid-C19 window openings of the rear and east elevations have shallow-arched, segmental heads and plain sills. The windows are two-over-two sashes with horns. To the west of the wing is a C21 conservatory.

INTERIOR: in the C18 range, the lobby-entrance plan survives, but most of the rear wall has been either removed or remodelled. On the ground floor, the principal rooms on either side of the stack have lightly-moulded, transverse bridging beams, late-C19 doors, one early and one late-C19 fireplace, cornices or picture rails. The six-over-six sash window in the rear wall of the right-hand room has a reeded surround. There are some cupboards with plank doors and original strap hinges. On the first floor of the C18 range, accessed via a late-C19 staircase in the C19 addition, there are encased transverse bridging beams, exposed tie beams and wall plates and some original wide floorboards. There are plank doors with original hinges and latches, one late-C19 fireplace and a late-C18 register grate. In the attic, there are wide floorboards and an C18 plank door with an original latch. The roof comprises principal rafters, pegged and jointed, with reset and replaced collars and staggered purlins. The original weatherboard-clad partitions remain and the dormer configuration is original.

The interior of the C19 range contains few fixtures and fittings of that date. The rear wing has exposed axial bridging beams on the ground floor and a restored king-post roof at the first floor with exposed purlins.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURE: the stable is single-storey and built of red and yellow brick, with occasional flint panels. It has pantile covering to the gabled roof. The fenestration and a porch to the east are C21 in date. The interior retains its layout including a groom’s room with open brick fireplace and two stalls with an interconnecting loft hatch.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.