Clouds Hill is a dwelling of c1650, possibly incorporating earlier fabric from a pre-existing house, with mid- to late-C19 additions and alterations, and a late C20 extension.
Reason for Listing
Clouds Hill, a c1650 cottage, with later C19 and C20 extensions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: the building is a dwelling of c1650, possibly containing fabric from an earlier house, which retains a significant proportion of its structural timber frame and historic floor plan; the mid-C17 date of the building is supported by documentary evidence;
* Architectural interest: the building is a good example of a lobby-entry plan house – a distinctive and widely adopted historic plan-form - which has been subject to an evolution typical to vernacular buildings of this type and that partially overlays, but does not obscure, our understanding of the building's early form and typology;
* Documentation: for a modest house the documentation is exceptionally full and informative, notably relating to its rebuilding in 1648.
Clouds Hill is a predominantly timber-framed cottage, which was previously known as Causey End. The earliest fabric within the current house is possibly of late-C15 or early-C16 date, but the primary phase of the existing cottage is c1650, with subsequent additions in the C19 and C20.
The earliest known documentary reference to Causey End is 1524, and by 1545 it was held by a John Bell. The holding then passed to the Ede family, and in 1648 Peter Ede was granted a license to rebuild Causey End 'with timber assigned to him for repairs'.
At some point during the second half of the C19, the house was increased in size with the addition of a parallel two-story range across the back (to the north-west), and with the addition of an outshut and two-storey extension to the east. The north range may have replaced a rear outshut, which would have housed the original stair. Ordnance Survey maps show that by c1875 the house was being occupied as two dwellings; these were known as East Cottage and West Cottage. In the 1930s East Cottage was inhabited by Mr Souter, mole catcher to the Lynchmere Estate, and his family; and West Cottage by Mr Smith, a gamekeeper, and his family. In the mid-C20 the house became a single dwelling again, and by the early 1970s it had been renamed Clouds Hill.
MATERIALS: the earlier parts of the building are timber-framed, and the later parts are possibly solid masonry at ground floor, with timber-framing to the first floor. Externally the building is clad in brick and limestone rubble at ground floor, and hung tiles at first floor. The roofs are covered in clay tiles (those on the roofs to the north are of a modern manufacture). Doors and windows are of timber construction, windows generally being leaded casements of similar style but of varying C19 and C20 dates. There is also an early-C21 uPVC French-window in the form of a canted bay in the south elevation.
PLAN: the main part of the building comprises two back-to-back parallel ranges - the earlier facing south-east, the later facing north-west. For ease of reference they are referred to below as the 'south' and 'north' ranges respectively.
South range: this superficially takes the form of a typical two-bay lobby-entry plan cottage, with a hipped roof with gablets and a substantial central chimney stack. To the east the roof continues down to form a catslide over a single-storey outshut; between this and the east bay is a brick stack which opens into the east bay (both outshut and stack are likely C19 additions). At first floor are two chambers either side of the central stack, neither showing evidence of having been heated (by an open fire). To the north of the stack is a landing from which the chambers are accessed (the stair giving access to this landing is modern and in the north range), and to the south is a cupboard accessed from the west chamber. Much of the framing of both chambers is exposed, including the bases of the roof trusses. The east bay has a queen-post truss (the upper part visible from within the roof space), whereas the west bay has a single central strut visible from within the chamber, suggestive of a crown-post truss. The roof space above this part of the building is not accessible, but the difference in the roof framing here is an indication that this may be a reused element of the earlier house.
North range: the plan of this C19 range is more altered, and of lesser special interest, but essentially is formed of an east and a west bay either side of a C20 staircase, which is almost on the same axis as the central stack and landing of the south range (suggesting it is in broadly the same location as the original stair). To the north of the west bay is a two-storey late-C20 extension which has an entrance porch at ground floor, and a bathroom at first floor; this extension is broadly detailed to match the rest of the building but is not of architectural or historic note. At ground floor the west bay is divided into an entrance lobby, cloakroom, and sitting room – the latter opening into the south range through the removal of the dividing wall. The bay to the east houses the kitchen; there is a chimney stack in the east wall but the openings are blocked internally. At first floor is a bedroom in the east and west bays, and a bathroom to the north of the stair.
To the east of the north range is a two-storey extension of uncertain function. The lower level is only accessed from outside and is at semi-basement level, with a single small, barred, window, simple plank door, and a red brick floor; it is served by an external chimney stack running up the north wall. Above is a room accessed up a short flight of stairs from the kitchen. Its small footprint and differing floor levels make it peculiar, but it may have been a laundry or wash-house - presumably contemporary with the north range, but possibly extended upwards at a later date.
EXTERIOR: externally, the building's character is unified by the ground-floor stonework and first-floor tile-hanging (a later, presumed C19, cladding of the timber-framed south range), but otherwise the elevations, particularly those to the north and east, are an irregular composition of door and window openings, chimney stacks and extensions. The ground-floor openings generally have red brick quoins, as do the corners of the building.
The south elevation is the most regular, and has the hallmarks of its internal mid-C17 plan-form - a near symmetrical arrangement of one ground-floor and one first-floor window to each bay, under a steeply-pitched roof with a central chimney. The door, which would normally be expected to be central, in-line with the chimney, has been moved off-centre to the east, presumably at the time the building was clad in stone, and the ground-floor window to the west has been replaced with the uPVC French-window.
INTERIOR: as with the plan-form, the description of the interior of the building is best divided into north and south ranges.
South range: the large central stack opens into the west bay as a wide fireplace with a plain timber bressumer (not original). Within the fireplace is evidence of a bread oven, now blocked, and a wooden shelf or bench set into the brickwork. The building's framework is exposed on the ceiling; taking the form of a principal spine beam, chamfered and with lambs-tongue stops, running the width of the room, and cross-axial ceiling joists (those to the south are chamfered and have plain stops). The studwork of the north wall has been removed here to open the room up into the south range.
The framework in the ceiling of the east bay is also exposed, but is of a different construction to the west bay. Here there is no principal timber running across the ceiling, but regularly sized and spaced un-chamfered joists running the width of the room, east to west. Within the central stack there is an irregularly-shaped recess to one side. It is possible that this feature was originally a small hearth, perhaps with later alterations, which has since had the flue blocked and been opened up to the front. There is a functioning fireplace in the east wall of this bay, which extracts into the C19 stack on the east wall; it has an C19 hob-grate, but this appears to be a relatively modern addition.
At first floor a substantial quantity of the timber frame is visible in the walls of the two chambers, particularly the west chamber, where the framework forms roughly square panels. The keep of a wooden latch survives to the right of the cupboard adjacent to the chimney breast.
North range: the interior of this range is of lesser special interest because of its later date and modest character, particularly on the ground floor, which has undergone greater C20 alteration. However, part of the framework of the south range is visible at first floor from within the north range, particularly the substantial timbers of the original north wall of the frame around the stair landing, and from within the west bedroom. The roof structure in this range comprises slender rafters meeting at a ridge board.
Internal doors are generally plank construction of varying style and date.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.