Picturesque estate cottage built in the early C19 on the Harrowby Hall estate.
Reason for Listing
Beacon Cottage is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as an example of an early C19 cottage orné with well-proportioned elevations given a touch of the Picturesque by the crenellated porch and prominent bay windows;
* Quality of interior: the interior is characterised by its restrained elegance and delicacy of detailing, all carried out using high quality materials;
* Intactness: the cottage has survived with a high degree of intactness, retaining original fixtures, fittings and joinery, as well as the roof structure, brick-vaulted cellars and herringbone brick ha-ha;
* Historic interest: the cottage is located on the Harrowby Hall estate. Its prominent location and finely detailed interior suggests that it was built for someone of relatively high status connected with the Hall, possibly as a dower house or summer house.
Beacon Cottage was built in the early C19 on the estate of Harrowby Hall, a small country house dating from 1628 (listed at Grade II*). The cottage is situated to the west of the hall on Halls Hill where it commands fine views over the Vale of Belvoir, and even Lincoln on a clear day. Cartographic evidence indicates that the cottage was built between 1814 and 1824. The Ordnance Surveyor’s drawing of 1814 depicts a building on the site, probably labelled Garnars Barn (now demolished), from which an avenue of trees extended along the north-east edge of the hill. The first map to show the cottage is the Ordnance Survey 1” map of 1824 which labels it Beacon Cottage and again depicts the avenue of trees. The original purpose and use of the cottage is unclear. Pevsner refers to it as a late Georgian gamekeeper’s cottage but by the time of the 1839 Tithe Award, it was occupied by the tenant John Hall, a grain merchant who rented 45 acres of the surrounding land. The Census returns from 1851 to 1911 list the tenant as William Burrows, a corn merchant, with his wife Mary, seven children and one servant, who rented 200 acres of the surrounding land. William Burrows is also listed in White’s Directory of Lincolnshire (1856) as the occupier of Beacon Cottage, one of the four farms mentioned as making up the hamlet of Harrowby. The cottage is some distance from any farm buildings however, and its prominent position on the hill surrounded by a ha-ha, together with the elegance of its interiors, suggests that it may have been built for someone of a higher status than a tenant farmer, or used as a summerhouse by the family at Harrowby Hall. The 1886 Ordnance Survey map shows that the avenue of trees, which had by this time been reduced in length, is called Lady’s Walk, possibly suggesting the high status of an early occupant of the cottage. Throughout the early C20 the tenants kept live-in servants who probably slept in the loft space. During World War I and II soldiers were billeted at the cottage, leaving evidence of their occupation in the numbers on some of the internal doors.
Beacon Cottage has been subject to a number of alterations. In the early C20 a narrow brick lean-to was constructed against the north wall over part of the brick-vaulted cellar. In the 1930s a canted bay extension was built on the south side to provide a music room, and two bathrooms were installed, one of which retains its original fittings. In the mid-1980s the roof, windows and porch were restored; water and electricity were supplied; and the original oak guttering was replaced with chestnut guttering lined with lead, replicating the former design and resembling a modillion eaves cornice. A workshop was built in the garden around the same time. The timber sash windows are not original as they are horned, but were probably replaced in the second half of the C19.
MATERIALS: ancaster stone rubble, stuccoed and painted, on a limestone ashlar plinth. Hipped roof clad in Swithland slate with red clay ridge tiles, and replica chestnut modillion eaves cornice dating to the late C20.
PLAN: rectangular with polygonal bay to the west, bowed porch to the east, canted bay to the south added in the 1930s, and narrow lean-to projection to the north added in the early C20.
EXTERIOR: the cottage has one storey, a half-cellar and attic. It has regular fenestration consisting of six-over-six pane horned sash windows with timber glazing bars, probably dating to the second half of the C19. The east elevation has a central, bowed porch with stone castellations. The C20 shallow-arched, half-glazed, double-leaf door has an overlight and flanking windows with diamond-leaded glazing. The bays either side are lit by a sash window, and there is a central, flat-roofed dormer window in the attic. The west elevation has a central polygonal bay lit by three windows, under a conical roof. The bays either side have one sash window, and the half-cellar is lit by a pair of casements in the central bay and a small window on the left. The canted bay on the south elevation has a window on each side. There are two rendered ridge stacks on the main block and one on the south extension.
INTERIOR: the interior has survived largely unaltered and retains almost all of its original joinery, fireplaces and other fittings, including service bells. The stone-flagged porch leads through a shallow-ached doorway with the original double-leaf door, half-glazed with diamond timber glazing bars, into the central hall. This is paved in Ancaster stone, scored to form a diamond pattern, and provides access to the west-facing room and, through pairs of semicircular arched openings with a simple roll moulding, to two rooms on the north and south sides. The south-west room leads into the south extension added in the 1930s. The reception rooms have delicate coving and skirting boards, wide timber floorboards, and four-panelled doors. The windows have panelling underneath, panelled soffits and jambs, and retain their shutters and central bars. The principal west-facing room that occupies the polygonal bay has a wide arched recess in the south wall. This room and the south-west room have reeded fireplaces with brass roundels, and surrounds and hearths of Derbyshire fossiliferous marble. The two rooms on the north side have smaller fireplaces, one reeded and the other with guilloche jambs, and both with diamond grates, moulded timber surrounds and stone hearths. From the central hall, a half-spiral stone stair leads to the extensive, brick vaulted cellar which provides access to the stone-lined well, and has alcoves for storage and the remnants of a C19 range. There is a narrow timber stair leading to the attic in which the original roof, with principal rafters and purlins, is exposed.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the ha-ha on the west side of the cottage is laid in herringbone red brick. The late C20 workshop in the garden is not of special interest.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.