House re-built in 1832, probably incorporating elements of an older building.
Reason for Listing
No.127 High Street is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a good example of a house of this period with an attractive façade and architectural detailing, including a handsome classical doorcase;
* Interior: the internal layout remains legible and much historic fabric survives, including a plain but graceful staircase and a fireplace with Delft-style tiles;
* Historic interest: it has evolved over successive historic phases, retaining a side passage giving access to a former burgage plot, a form of land tenure that has defined the historic layout of the High Street in Berkhamsted;
* Group value: it has strong group value with the many listed buildings in this part of the High Street, particularly with the listed C16 houses on either side and the Grade II* listed medieval Church of St Peter opposite.
No.127 High Street is positioned between two buildings with C16 origins on the principal street through Berkhamsted. A brick on the façade is carved with the date 1832, preceded by the initials FM. It is thought that these are the initials of the upholsterer Frederick Miller who established his business in the town between 1822 and 1826. He is listed in the 1841 census as living in the High Street. Miller’s business must have been prosperous as he purchased Pilkington Manor and estate in 1852.
The house appears to retain the vestiges of the plan form of an earlier building, indicated by its irregular fenestration and the position of the chimney stacks. The front roof pitch is steeper than the rear one, and appears to have been altered as the king-post has been truncated and is not aligned with the apex. There has also been some alteration to the ground-floor south (rear) room. It is likely that this was formerly part of the service area as there is a C19 four-panelled door opening into it from the passageway running along the east side of the house. Its use probably changed later in the C19 when it became one of the reception rooms and the door to the passageway was therefore blocked up. Other changes to the house are indicated on the historic Ordnance Survey (OS) maps. The first edition of 1878 shows a narrow rear range on the west side which is likely to be service rooms. These are present on the second edition of 1898 which also shows the addition of two projecting bay windows on the north (front) side. The footprint of the building does not change on the third edition of 1925 or the revised edition of 1938. Since then, the rear range has been removed and in its place is a late C20 glazed structure containing an indoor swimming pool. The bay window on the west side of the façade has been removed and replaced with a glazing bar sash window. The windows have been replaced probably around the late C19, except for three on the rear elevation which date to the C20. The fireplaces have been removed in the west reception room and in all but one of the bedrooms.
MATERIALS: Brick, painted overall, and slate-covered roof with red brick chimney stacks.
PLAN: Double-pile plan with a passageway on the east side over which the first floor continues. There is an L-shaped glazed structure with an indoor swimming pool added to the rear in the late C20 (not shown on the OS map). This extension does not have special interest and is not included in the listing.
EXTERIOR: Two storeys with irregular elevations under a pitched roof, the front pitch being steeper than the rear one. There is a wide chimney stack rising through the front pitch on the east side (probably belonging to an earlier phase of the house), and narrower stacks on the west side of the front pitch and east side of the rear pitch. The north-facing façade has, from the left, a four-panelled C19 door giving access to the passageway to the garden; and a large, late C19 canted bay window with one-over-one pane horned sashes and a moulded cornice with modillions. This is followed by three stone steps leading to the three-panelled front door, the upper panel now glazed, which is set in a classical doorcase with moulded cornice and panelled soffit and jambs; and then there is a recessed, eight-over-eight pane sash window with a gauged brick head. The first floor has four similar windows, irregularly spaced, the first one with a plain lintel rather than a gauged brick head.
The rear elevation has, from the left, a wide C20 casement window; a six-panelled door, the upper panels now glazed, under a segmental brick arch; followed by a pair of French windows with margin lights. The first floor is lit by three six-over-six pane sash windows, irregularly spaced, under segmental brick arches. The right hand side is deeply recessed and has one C20 window above the passageway. The late-C20 glazed L-shaped structure attached to the rear elevation containing a swimming pool does not have special interest. In the side passage is a brick chimney breast on the east wall which rises through to the first-floor.
INTERIOR: The front door opens into a narrow hall which leads to a reception room on either side and through to two rear rooms. The staircase is positioned behind the west reception room and leads up to the first floor which contains four bedrooms occupying each corner, with a bathroom in between the two rooms on the east side. There is a brick cellar, thought to date to the C17, which is accessed between the staircase and rear west room.
The house retains its staircase and a high proportion of C19 joinery, including four-panelled doors set in moulded architraves, moulded cornices, skirting boards, picture rails and some window shutters. The door leading from the hall to the rear rooms has a glazed upper section which has a border of red stained glass with corners in blue glass containing an etched sunburst-type motif. In the rear west room, which has modern kitchen fittings, the back door has C18 HL hinges. The dog-leg staircase has a closed string, stick balusters, a ramped handrail, and slender newel posts, including a pair on the half-pace landing.
The fireplace in the front east room has a moulded timber surround, painted white, with a cast-iron grate, and tiled hearth and sides. The Delft-style hearth tiles are white with blue patterns, whilst those on the sides depict children playing games and pastoral scenes. The only other fireplace remaining is in the first-floor room directly above, and this has a plain timber surround, painted white, and a cast-iron grate. The only other feature of note on the first floor is a small cast-iron radiator on the landing. The king-post roof has been considerably altered.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.