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Description: 84 and 84a, High Street
Date Listed: 18 February 1948
English Heritage Building ID: 158074
OS Grid Reference: TL2336125087
OS Grid Coordinates: 523361, 225087
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9107, -0.2080
733/1/36 HIGH STREET
18-FEB-48 (West side)
84 AND 84A
Shops, restaurant and domestic accommodation, formerly an inn. Probably C15 with later alterations. Timber-framed, plastered brick, plain-tiled roof. L-plan. 2 storeys. High Street façade has 3 late C18 sash windows and an oriel window. This is not original but may be a replacement of a similar window in the former first floor hall. Carriage way through to rear yard appears to have been cut through later.
No stacks to front range. Rebuilt C17 stack to rear.
Outshot to rear (with modern extension) for staircase, though a blocked C16 half-window in the main frame behind the outshot suggests it may be a later addition. The small size of this window may denote the position of the original stair within the main body of the building.
Some pargetting on the rear wing, probably C18, together with sashes, casements and doors.
Frontage parallel with High Street of 4 bays originally extending to the end of No.82 (q.v., now A & D Framing). Ground floor not inspected. First floor originally open to roof, now hidden by ceilings. At the south end of the range, hall of 2 unequal bays. Crownpost truss, open in roofspace but closed with later lath and plaster partition on floor below. Original closed trusses to each end with substantial arch bracing. Edge-halved and bridle-butted scarf joint in wall-plate. 2 original windows in the timber frame with ovolo moulded frames inserted in C17, windows later blocked and plastered over. Window adjacent to the modern oriel may have originally formed part of a larger window lighting the first floor hall on the street frontage. A half-size window in a modern passage at the back of the hall, north of the current stair, may indicate the position of the original staircase inside the main frame.
Single-bay chamber beyond with closed truss having similar bracing, but at west side brace is set back from wall-plate, possibly leaving room for a gallery or passage at the rear. Widely spaced studding visible on first floor with 4 original windows (now blocked). 2 windows to front range have inserted C17 ovolo moulded frames similar to those in the hall. 2 to rear retain original diamond-stanchioned mullions.
The roofline suggests that this range was originally of 4 bays, with a further room beyond the chamber, partly above the carriage way (itself a later insertion). This now forms part of No.82, A & D Framing and was not inspected.
The first floor hall in this range was originally open to the crownpost roof. The crownpost shaft is cruciform in section with filets to each angle, stopped at the base, which is plain. No capital. There are four braces to the crown post, two rising to the underside of the purlin and two from the post to the collar. These are quite short and plank-like in section. A similar brace rises from the post of the closed truss to the purlin at the north end of the hall. The trusses and collar purlin are painted with red ochre. The chamber to the north of the hall has an identical closed truss with brace to the collar purlin but only traces of whitewash. The roof in this bay has additional bracing in the form of soulaces from the upper rafters to the collar purlin on every truss.
There is a 6-bay wing to rear forming an L-plan with south bay of hall range. Ground floor not inspected. First-floor, bays 1-3. Brick fireplace in corner of bay 1. Cross wall with primary brace of C17 date.
Clasped purlin roof over bays 1-3, without bracing but with later strengthening and replacement of some timbers. Bays 4-6 beyond completely rebuilt following the fire. One original roof truss has been re-used, smoke blackened from the fire.
The building was known for many years as The Falcon Inn. The earliest documentary evidence is a deed of transfer dated 1460 (Charter of John Toby regarding The Falcon in Stevenage), which supports a C15 or earlier origin. Other documents referring to the Falcon include the following:
1544 Will of John Anderson: 'I will to John Gynne of the Falcon, the elder, 12d'.
1666 Quarter Sessions. Matthew Waterford of Stevenage accused of 'stopping of a watercourse that formerly, for forty years, ran out of the Falcon yard in Stevenage through Matthew Waterford's entry into the highway'.
At some point in the early C19 references to the Falcon seem to disappear and it has long been assumed that its trade was taken over by the adjacent Red Lion (references and information provided by local historian, M Ashby).
The street frontage of the building has since been used as shops and more recently, on the first-floor, as a restaurant.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE:
Recent renovation and documentary research has revealed evidence for a probably C15 timber-framed building disguised behind a largely C18 façade. There is much of architectural and historic interest surviving in this former inn, including a largely intact timber-frame complete with windows and original roofs. The red ochre painted crownpost roof is a rare survival of particular importance.
Charter of John Toby re the Falcon, in Stevenage, Hertfordshire Records Office, Catalogue number D/ERW/T2 (translated from the Latin by M Ashby).
Notes from site inspections carried out by A Gibson, C Killick, M Ashby and C Cudmore, dated 16/5/03 (revised 8/7/03) and 22/9/03; sketch plan by A Cudmore
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.