Cottage, now public house. Late C16 or early C17, extended C19 and C20.
Reason for Listing
The Pheasant Public House, a building with a late C16/early C17 core and additions of the C19 and C20, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Survival of early fabric: the vernacular cottage that forms the core of the present building retains a significant portion of its original fabric, including most of the outer walls (re-clad in brick but including substantial framing elements at first-floor level), much of the roof, the main stack and the upper floor/ceiling structure;
* Legibility: the basic four-room plan of the early cottage is still evident, as is the likely position of the original stair;
* Evidence of early alteration: the door inserted into the middle truss in the C18 gives a clear indication of a change of use at this period.
The building stands in an area of mid-C20 suburban housing about a mile from Amersham town centre. It seems to have originated in the late C16 or early C17 as a two-bay cottage, and appears in this form on the tithe map of 1841, and also on the first-edition Ordnance Survey map of 1880, which shows it with a small extension to the east and a larger L-shaped wing (now vanished) to the west. At some point, probably during the C19, the timber-framed outer walls of the original building were rebuilt or encased in brick. By the time of the 1925 Ordnance Survey, Plantation Road was beginning to be developed for housing , and - perhaps taking advantage of this new market - the former cottage had become a licensed beer-house. Development of the area continued through the mid-C20, and the pub was enlarged with the addition of a new bar area to the east, an accommodation range to the west and a cross-wing behind - all shown on the 1964 Ordnance Survey. Flat-roofed extensions containing a new kitchen and dining area were later built to the rear.
MATERIALS: originally timber framed with wattle and daub infill and a brick stack; external walls now of painted brick with modern clay tile roof.
PLAN: the core of the building is a two-bay cottage with a central stack, dating from the late C16 or early C17. The original stair probably ran alongside the stack to the south, giving access to the upper floor of the western bay; there seems at first to have been no communication between the two bays at first-floor level, which may suggest that the eastern bay was not originally floored over.
Extensions to the east (C19 and mid-C20) now form an enlarged bar area, with a single-storey extension to the west and a cross-wing behind (both mid-C20) containing staff accommodation. The cross-wing is now absorbed into a large single-storey dining and kitchen block (late-C20) which extends the full width of the building to the rear.
The special interest of the building chiefly resides in the C16/C17 core and the C18 adaptations thereto. The C19 extension is of secondary interest; the mid-C20 additions, though competently handled, do not make any substantial contribution to the interest of the building, while the late-C20 additions to the rear make none.
EXTERIOR: the original cottage now forms the middle section of the long front (north) range. The external brickwork is thickly painted and much patched, but looks to be no earlier than the C19. The location of the original entrance is unknown; there are now two doorways, giving access to the bar and kitchen respectively, and two square window openings - that to the left containing modern timber casements, that to the right now blocked. Two dormers - one large, one small - light the first-floor rooms, and a tall brick stack protrudes from the front roof slope.
To the left, a change in the brickwork marks the join with the C19 extension, which is of a single bay with a three-light segment-headed window. The mid-C20 extension beyond has a canted bay window and a brick end stack. A single pitched roof covers all three phases, the uneven roofline of the right-hand bays indicating the earlier part. The mid-C20 accommodation range on the far right has a lower hipped roof with a broad ridge stack. To the rear, the hip-roofed mid-C20 cross-wing is now engulfed by the low dining room and kitchen extensions of the late C20.
INTERIORS: both the ground-floor rooms in the original cottage have low, uneven plaster ceilings supported by heavy chamfered spine beams. Both rooms must originally have had fireplaces; that in the western room (kitchen) has been blocked up, but that in the eastern room (bar) survives, with timber bressumer and the remains of an oven recess. The east end wall has been cut through to enlarge the bar area, exposing a cross-beam whose underside displays empty mortises and holes relating to lost framing studs and infill. The north wall has also been cut through to give access to the dining room. The modern stair, contained within the accommodation wing to the west, ascends to the first floor, where much more of the original frame is visible. In the eastern bay the front and rear wall plates and their supporting braces are exposed, as is the central truss with principal rafters, collar, studwork and heavily cranked tie beam supported by one surviving curved brace; this truss appears at first to have been completely closed, the present doorway with its door of two raised panels having been cut through in the C18. The roof is (and may always have been) ceiled at the level of the purlins, whose curved wind-braces are exposed in the eastern bay. The framing in the two end gables is partly visible from the roof voids at either end.
The mid-C20 extensions to east and west contain fireplaces with simple timber surrounds. There are no other features of note.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.