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Vineyard Farmhouse, Birkenhead

Description: Vineyard Farmhouse

Grade: II
Date Listed: 26 June 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1408451

OS Grid Reference: SJ3337381959
OS Grid Coordinates: 333374, 381959
Latitude/Longitude: 53.3303, -3.0019

Locality: Birkenhead
County: Wirral
Country: England
Postcode: CH63 9LQ

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Listing Text


Small farmhouse, C17, originally timber-framed and later encased in red sandstone, brick and render, extended to the south-east side in the late C18/earlyC19 with further later additions, mainly 2-storeys.

Reason for Listing

Vineyard Farmhouse is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is an interesting survival of a C17 timber-framed dwelling later encased in stone, brick and render and enlarged through later extensions, whose construction materials and methods reflect local vernacular traditions of the Wirral;

* Legibility: each phase of the building's evolved development is readable in the plan layout and the surviving fabric;

* Interior survival: despite later alteration it retains numerous early as well as later interior features, including C17 chamfered beams and wattle and daub infill, timbers displaying carpenters' Roman numeral markings to aid frame assembly, a timber winder stair, and early and C19 plank and batten doors.


Analaysis of the fabric suggests Vineyard Farm was constructed as a timber-framed dwelling in the C17; was later encased in stone, brick and render, probably in the C18 and C19; and was enlarged through later extensions. An adjacent cruck-framed barn to the south-west of the farmhouse is also believed to date from the C17 and is listed at Grade II.

The farmhouse and most of its extensions are depicted on Bryant's map of 1831 and the tithe map of 1844, at which time the farmhouse and barn were owned by Robert Vyner and occupied by John Warburton. The Vyner family of Newby Hall, North Yorkshire, owned extensive land on the Wirral at the time, as well as in other parts of England, Scotland, and even France.

Late C19 and early C20 OS maps depict a small projection attached to part of the north-west side of the timber-framed range; this is not depicted on the earlier tithe map, suggesting that it was constructed in the mid-late C19; it has since been demolished.


Small farmhouse, C17, originally timber-framed and later encased in red sandstone, brick and render, extended to the south-east side in the late C18/earlyC19 with further later additions, mainly 2-storeys.

PLAN: the farmhouse comprises two principal ranges, one of which has timber framing. The timber framed-range is aligned north-east - south-west with a late C18/early C19 range added at a right angle on the south-east side, along with further later extensions. The timber-framed range has a two room plan to each floor, whilst the later range has a large room to the ground floor joined on two sides by lean-to rooms, with two rooms and a landing on the first floor.

EXTERIOR: the timber-framed range is a single-bay wide and has some exposed framing that was, until recently, hidden by render. All the framing is morticed and tenoned, and is secured by timber pegs. The end-frame is visible to the north-east gable end and incorporates a tie-beam truss with angled struts, and braces supporting the tie beam and wall posts. Two further posts flank centrally placed windows to each floor, both with modern frames and glazing; that to the ground floor would appear to be in the location of an original window due to the presence of a pegged timber lintel above. Two lower, flanking horizontal rails have been removed; that to the left has a later doorway containing a C19 plank and batten door inserted in its position. Infill, where it survives, consists of wattle and daub and later brickwork.

The timber-framed range is believed to have originally had a thatch roof, but this has been replaced by a slate roof (remnants of thatch are visible on the north-east gable end under the later slates), which was probably added when the building was extended in the late C18/ early C19. The roof of the timber-framed range incorporates a modern rooflight to the north-west side, which was possibly originally the site of a dormer window. Projecting from the centre of the range on the south-east side is a short, cross-gable, which joins with the late C18/early C19 extension; possibly suggesting the presence of a cross-wing originally, or a dormer window on this side. 4-bays of square-panel framing are visible to the north-eastern, two-thirds of the north-west side elevation and are set upon a red sandstone plinth with mainly brick infill, although some wattle and daub survives. Two of the upper panels incorporate angle braces and one of the lower panels incorporates a tension brace. The remaining part of the elevation is of whitewashed stone (it is unknown whether the framing has been encased or replaced, as the internal walls are plastered) with an external stack that rises just above the eaves and is constructed of brick to its upper half.

The south-west gable end of the timber-framed range is of red sandstone with a central window to each floor, both with painted stone sills and wedge lintels, and modern uPVC glazing. Set back and attached to the right of the timber-framed range, and helping to form the farmhouse's south-west (front) elevation, is a 2-bay, 2-storey, brick range, which was probably added in the late C18/early C19. This later range has a higher eaves than the timber-framed range and incorporates a short rendered ridge stack to the far right. A doorway with a modern uPVC door is tucked into the left corner where the two ranges meet and has a shallow, open, timber porch with a slate roof attached in front. To the right are two windows to each floor with painted stone sills and deep lintels, all with uPVC glazing. Attached to the far right of the elevation is a probable early-mid C19, brick lean-to (depicted on the 1844 tithe map) incorporating a wide window with a brick lintel and uPVC glazing. The lean-to's south-east return wall and north-east, rear wall are constructed of red sandstone and rising from the roof is a brick stack. Attached to part of the lean-to on the south-east side is a smaller, late C19 brick lean-to, which forms a continuous outshut and incorporates a doorway and short angled buttress.

The rear elevation of the late C18/early C19 range is whitewashed and has two first-floor windows containing later timber frames, which are due, at the time of writing, to be replaced with uPVC glazing. A single-storey, whitewashed-brick, lean-to is attached in front, and runs the full length of the late C18/early C19 range. The lean-to has a window with uPVC glazing, and its roof has been raised slightly and two modern skylights inserted. Attached to the south-east end of the lean-to and the rear wall of the is a further, late C19, brick lean-to extension with a window to the south-east return. Set to the far right of the farmhouse's rear elevation is the north-east gable end of the timber-framed range as described above.

INTERIOR: internally the walls are mainly plastered throughout and there are tiled, linoleum and floorboard floors, and lath and plaster ceilings. The internal doors on the ground floor have all been replaced with early C21, timber, panelled doors, but two early plank and batten doors (accessing the two upper rooms of the timber-framed range) survive on the first floor, along with two probable C19 plank and batten doors.

The majority of the ground-floor rooms have recently inserted window architraves and the later lean-tos incorporate modern rooflights. A room in the early-mid C19 lean-to located to the south corner of the building contains a chimneybreast, but the fireplace has been removed. The ground floor of the late C18/early C19 range consists of a single large room with exposed floor joists supporting the floor above, and a chimneybreast to the south-east wall with an early-mid C20 fireplace flanked by arched alcoves. A thick, projecting side wall to the right of the right alcove incorporates a window with replaced glazing. Emerging from this wall and running across the room from south-east - north-west is a substantial chamfered beam with stops at the north-western end where it abuts the party wall of the timber-framed range. The room's north-west wall has visible timber framing with wattle and daub infill; the timbers are morticed and tenoned and secured by timber pegs, and incorporate carpenters' Roman numeral marks to aid the frame assembly. A doorway to the left leads into the south-west, ground-floor room of the timber-framed range. Located alongside the room's rear (north-east) wall is an enclosed, timber winder stair that leads up to the first floor.

The south-west, ground-floor room of the timber-framed range, which has recently been plastered, contains two substantial, chamfered beams running north-west - south-east with stops at their south-eastern ends (partly hidden by an early C21 stud wall). The room's north-west wall is also a modern stud wall, behind which is a fireplace opening. It is possible that the ends of the beams and any surviving stops also lie hidden behind this modern wall. The north-east, ground-floor room of the timber-framed range is accessed internally via the later, rear lean-tos, and also has exposed floor joists supporting the floor above and a single, substantial, chamfered beam running north-west - south-east with stops at each end. The rear faces of the externally-visible timber framing are also visible to this room's north-west and north-east walls, and part of the south-east wall, although the framing to the latter wall is mainly hidden by a C20 stud wall and plaster. A C20 stud-wall frame with the fragmentary remains of plasterboard is located in front of the room's north-west and north-east walls.

The first-floor landing is located in the late C18/early C19 range and has two doors off to the right with slightly raised steps, which lead into the two first-floor rooms of the earlier timber-framed range. Both rooms have early plank and batten doors composed of wide planks, and substantial purlins that have been largely obscured by mid-C20 woodchip plaster. Set between the two doors on the landing side, and having been partially exposed by damage to some plaster, is an upright timber. It is possible that further timbers survive elsewhere underneath later plaster. The two first-floor rooms in the late C18/early C19 range consist of a bedroom and bathroom; both of which also have purlins concealed by plaster. The bedroom also contains a chimneybreast. A small ceiling hatch on the landing provides a partial view of the roofs of both ranges, which appear to retain early timbers.

Source: English Heritage

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