House, of probable late-C16 origin, with C19 and early-C20 alterations and additions. The interior of the 1930s extension is of lesser special interest.The large 1980s extension to the east of the building is not of special interest and does not form part of the listed building.
Reason for Listing
Widewoods, a house of late-C16 origin, with C19 and early-C20 alterations and additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: most likely the surviving wing of a once substantial dwelling, the building retains a late C16 two-bay range with cross-bays and a large, little-altered, brick and stone side-wall stack; * Historic interest: as an example of vernacular construction, the building reflects the materials, techniques and craftsmanship of its regional typology; * Later alteration and expansion: through its evolution, the building reflects the changing pattern of occupation and attitudes towards rural domestic buildings in the C19 and early C20; the extension of the 1930s being a particularly characterful illustration of these changes.
It is believed that the building, known as 'Widewoods' since the early C20, dates from two broad periods: the earliest part, to the west, being of late C16 date, with an extension added to the east in the 1930s. (The 1980s extension to the far east is not part of the listed building). The building's fabric suggests that the early part is likely to be the surviving wing of a once larger house. The only obvious addition to the building prior to the C20, is the small west cross-bay, which is probably of mid- to late-C19 date.Prior to the early C20, Widewoods was part of a holding known variously as South Breach, Great Buildings, Buildings Farm and Buildings. The site is believed to have been in the manor of Breach, a sub-manor of Gomshall Netley. Manorial records relating to its ownership have been identified as far back as the mid C17, and the first known cartographical depiction of the holding is John Rocque's map of 1770. This shows a group of three buildings, two running broadly north/south, and one running east/west. Subsequent maps up to the mid C19 depict the grouping in slightly different formations, but all of these early maps are diagrammatic so are of limited help in understanding the evolution of the site over this period. Interestingly however, Rocque's map shows the site approached from the east, whereas subsequent maps show the approach from the south-east, and south-west, the latter being as it remains today. By the tithe map of 1848, a recognisable arrangement of main house, with outbuildings to the south-east and far south-west, has crystallised. This arrangement reappears in subsequent Ordnance Survey maps, with the addition of another outbuilding to the near south-west of the house.From the C19 onwards, and with rapidly growing momentum in the C20, vernacular houses attracted better-off occupants, influenced by ideas of the picturesque and aided by improvements in transport. Many houses, Widewoods being an example, were restored, extended or otherwise adapted to meet the expectations of the new residents. Sales particulars for the building illustrate that Widewoods underwent something of a transformation in the inter-war period. Advertised for sale in 1919 as 'The old Tudor cottage and 13 acres known as Buildings Farm', to being advertised for sale in 1937 as 'Wide Woods…a restored Elizabethan farmhouse with 75 acres'. Photographs of Widewoods in these sales particulars show the extension to the building, as well as an Arts and Crafts style garden designed around the house. The garden, now (2015) largely lost, was of sufficient quality and note that it was included in Eric Parker's 1954 book 'Surrey Gardens'.
House, of late-C16 origin, with C19 and early-C20 alterations and additions. The large 1980s extension to the east of the building is excluded from this description as it is not part of the listed building.MATERIALS: the building is timber-framed with red-brick infill or cladding at ground floor, and tile-hanging, render, or rendered in-fill panels at first floor. The stacks are of red brick, and in the case of the large west stack, the lower part is of Bargate stone; the roofs are covered in clay tiles. Doors are timber and windows are either metal casements set within timber frames, the glass being generally leaded with diamond quarries; or wholly metal-framed with small square panes divided by metal glazing bars. Some of the diamond quarries may be of early manufacture, reset into later lead-work and later frames. The 1930s extension is believed to be formed of a mixture of contemporary and historic timbers.PLAN: the building faces south, its footprint formed of two off-set wings of approximately equal size, one to the east, one to the west. There is a complex arrangement of roofs, mainly gabled, and three large stacks – one to the east, and two to the north.The west wing is of late C16 date, and comprises a two-bay gable-ended roof running north/south, with, to the east, two adjoining cross-bays, and to the west, a large external stone stack and a C19 cross-bay. A C20 open-well stair with quarter-turn landings has been inserted in the north of the two main bays.The east wing was added in the 1930s. It comprises a gable-ended bay (running north/south), with a large external stack to the north, and to its west a cross-bay linking into the north-east corner of the west wing. In front of this cross-bay to the south is a single-storey enclosed entrance porch.EXTERIOR: the east wing derives stylistically from the early west wing, creating an irregular composition of roofs, chimneys, tile, brick and render.West Wing The timber frame of the west wing is masked to the south by brick and tile hanging, and to the west by the C19 cross-bay. The large external west stack has a pair of fractionally off-set flues which step out at the top, and which are topped by brick bee-skep pots. The bricks within the stack and shafts are narrow, contrasting with the deeper, later, bricks which partially clad the building. Wrapping two sides of the stack (south and west) is a deep pentice which forms a porch over the west entrance to the building. Map evidence suggests the pentice is an early-C20 addition. On the north elevation the timber frame is exposed beneath a tile-hung gable. The framework forms square panels, in-filled with brick at ground floor, and render at first-floor, with curved down-braces. A late-C20 French window has been inserted. To the east some framing is visible in one of the cross-bays, and its form suggests some alteration, possibly to the roof structure. The rainwater hopper which serves the valley gutter here is dated 1892.
East Wing To the south the east wing is dominated by the gable-ended bay, which has exposed timber-framing and a shallow first-floor jetty. Linking it to the west wing is an enclosed timber porch at ground floor, and a hipped dormer window above. To the north the east wing has a complex composition including several stacks, one internal, one external, and an irregular arrangement of roofs. To either side of the internal stack are two small later extensions (c1980) which infill set-backs in the original footprint of the wing.
West Wing Within the west wing a quantity of the timber frame is exposed; where principal timbers are visible, they are generally of substantial dimensions. Carpenters' marks can be seen on some of the joints, these are particularly noticeable on the first floor. Some floor joists, where they are visible, can be seen to have been renewed.
The north and south bays are of unequal size. The north bay is narrower than the south bay, and unheated; the south bay is served by the large external stack to the west. At ground floor the two bays have been opened up to one another, their spine beams resting centrally on a cross-axial timber supported by an inserted timber column. Both spine beams have deep chamfers, and that in the south bay has lambs-tongue stops. The wide fireplace on the west wall has a curved brick hood within the opening to the centre, a bench seat to the right, and a niche to the left. The north bay has been opened up to the C19 cross-wing to the west. To the east, the north of the two cross-bays has been opened up to the stairwell, and to the east wing.
On the first floor the north bay is mainly occupied by the stairwell and landing; the latter is floored in very wide elm boards. The south bay is entered from the landing through a door made from three wide planks. On its outer face (facing the hall), the door bears arrow-like marks to either side. The purpose of these is uncertain – they could be some form of carpenter's mark, or possibly be apotropaic marks (to ward off evil spirits). Two other similar doors are found upstairs, as well as several which are clearly later in date. The first-floor spine beams are similar to those below, with wide chamfers and lambs-tongue stops. The fireplace in the south bay has been remodelled in the C20 (probably the 1930s); it has a brick surround and a carved wooden mantle shelf.
The roof space is habitable, the wear on the tie beam between the two bays suggests this may have long been the case. Much of the roof structure is now hidden behind modern finishes, but the purlins and windbraces are visible, and a small section of opening-up at the apex reveals pegged rafters without a ridge piece.
Much of the frame of this wing appears to survive, and losses can be traced in many cases through the evidence of empty mortise joints. At ground floor, where the north bay has been opened up into the C19 cross-bay, there are diamond-shaped sockets in the underside of the mid-rail, flanked by mortising for vertical braces, indicating the location of an outside window. Directly above, on the first floor, there is similar evidence for a second window, as well as the joints for down braces, now cut back. At ground floor there are further empty joints, including those to the east which evidence the removal of bracing in the north cross-bay to allow its opening up to the east wing.
Within the east wing there are two rooms at ground floor (east and west) and a lobby, and bedrooms above. The only interior feature of note here is the large inglenook fireplace in the east of the downstairs rooms, which echoes the one in the west wing.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.