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Angel Hotel Including Attached Medieval Arch, Henley-on-Thames

Description: Angel Hotel Including Attached Medieval Arch

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 25 January 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 246179

OS Grid Reference: SU7632182627
OS Grid Coordinates: 476321, 182627
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5374, -0.9010

Location: Thames Side, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2AR

Locality: Henley-on-Thames
Local Authority: South Oxfordshire District Council
County: Oxfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: RG9 2AR

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Listing Text

696/1/33 HART STREET
25-JAN-51 (South side)
ANGEL HOTEL including attached medieva
l arch

(Formerly listed as:


Inn. Late C16/C17 and c1800 and later C19, supported by the westernmost arch of the medieval bridge over the river Thames, which forms part of the cellar and extends below ground beyond the street frontage to the north. The bridge was probably built by Henry II in the late C12.

MATERIALS: rendered and painted timber framing, brick and flint. The c1800 northern range is timber framed and rendered with applied framing on the N elevation, and part brick built; roofs are tiled except for later C19 wing which has a slate roof. At basement level the northern and the central bay are of flint and brick, including, early narrow brick. The faces of the medieval arch are of dressed stone, the soffits of the arch are of shuttered flint; flanking walls are of flint and brick.

PLAN: a late C18 or early C19 single-pile range adjacent to the bridge, aligned east-west and facing north; the single bay of an earlier, C16/C17 two-storey wing, including a large internal stack and stair, attached to the south and aligned north-south; a lower, later, C19 wing to the south. The north wall of the north range is supported on the southern face of the westernmost stone arch of the medieval bridge, which is now subterranean and extends c 3 m to the north of the pub, beneath the pavement and road and the stone facing wall of the 1786 bridge.

EXTERIOR: the northern range is arranged on three storeys and a cellar, which is at river level. The north elevation is symmetrical, in three bays, beneath a hipped roof. The door is of four raised panels beneath an overlight and under a Tuscan porch with timber columns, which appear to have been reset on replaced bases. Windows are timber sashes: a single window of eight over eight panes on the ground floor, a pair, each of six over six panes, on the first floor and three shallow upper floor windows of three over three panes. The hipped roof has deep eaves with paired brackets. The east elevation overlooking the river is in 2 bays, divided by a substantial brick stack, and a lower later wing to the south. The east-facing bay of the northern range is of four storeys with a canted bay under a separate half-hipped roof. On the three upper floors, each face has eight over eight pane timber sashes. At lower ground-floor level are cellars. The east elevation of the adjacent three storey bay has a steeply pitched tiled roof, an added late C18 or early C19 canted bay, the upper two storeys with timber windows of six over six pane sashes, the lower ground-floor level with an entrance to former kitchens and cellars served by the stack, and now a bar. To the south is a two-storey, two-bay wing, probably of mid- to late C19 date, with a shallow-pitched hipped slate roof and replaced timber casement windows and now houses the dining room and kitchens.

The west elevation of the building has irregularly placed timber casement windows, an internal stack to the north range and external brick stack to the south range, and an entrance in the inner angle of the central bay at the foot of the stairs.

INTERIOR: the medieval arch which supports the north wall is a low, single-span segmental arch, which may have supported a causeway approaching the bridge. The arch is c 4.5 m wide internally at floor level, and 3.87 m in depth. On the north face is a single arch, on the south face a double arch, the inner arch set back c 40 cm from the outer face and c 25 cm lower. The voussoirs of the arches are of dressed stone on average of 40 x 25 x 18 cm, laid in alternating long and short work; the soffit of the arch is of shuttered flint. The internal arch is 1.75 m in height above floor level at its maximum, but is in part backfilled with the lower courses buried. The N opening is infilled in buff, yellow and red 2.5 inch brick. The cellar floor level of the N range of the pub is 0.6 m higher than the ground level under the arch which is reached via C20 brick steps.

At basement level the west wall and north wall flanking the arch are predominately of flint with brick patching and are heavily painted; the latter may represent former abutments to the bridge. The foundations of the north wall of the building above are c 0.7m deep. Above the arch a stone corbel supports the spine beam of the cellar ceiling. Cellar floor are of stone flags. The north range is of exposed light-scantling timber frame with chamfered ceiling beams; the plan form survives, albeit partially opened up at street level. There are mid-C19 fireplaces with cast iron grates on the upper floors.

At ground floor level the central bay has a C20 stove in a partially rebuilt earlier stack, with a slender chamfered bressumer. Ceiling beams are stop chamfered. At basement level walls are of brick and stone, part painted; the stack, which is of narrow red/brown brick of C17 type is exposed, and in part reworked. A framed stair with square section newels and balusters rises from basement to upper floor. Upper floor doors are of 2 plain panels.

HISTORY: The Angel Hotel, also known as the Angel on the Bridge, is a composite building of late C16/C17 and c1800 and later C19 dates, supported by the westernmost arch of the medieval bridge which forms part of the cellar. The C12 bridge was probably built by Henry II in the 1170s; in 1179 he had bought land in Henley for 'making buildings'. The corresponding arch of the medieval bridge on the east bank (Berks) is included in the listing for Henley Bridge (Grade I, UID 246180 S Oxon; 41269 Berks). The bridge was rebuilt in 1786, adjacent to the medieval site, but the old bridge was portrayed by the Flemish artist Jan Siberechts c1690. The Angel Hotel was closely associated with the bridge from at least the C18, and predates the c1800 extension or rebuilding of the N range, which may have been precipitated by the construction of the new bridge in 1786. The hotel has an important position at the end of the bridge forming, with the church, the visual entrance to the town from the east. Stone steps lead from the street to the river terrace.

R Gibson, The Angel on the Bridge (April 2009)
B Durham, Henley. St Anne's Bridge, S Midlands Archaeol.16 (1986) 101;19 (1989) 52
J Sherwood, N Pevsner, Buildings of England, Oxfordshire (1974) 638
J Steane and J Andrews, Henley-on-Thames Bridge, S Midlands Archaeol.15 (1985) 77-9
S Townley, Henley, town trade and river (2009)

The Angel Hotel, also known as the Angel on the Bridge, of late C16/C17 and c1800 and later C19 dates, supported by the westernmost arch of the medieval bridge which forms part of the cellar, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: composite building with a C16/C17 core which incorporates the westernmost arch and abutments of the medieval bridge, which support the north wing of the pub and extend below ground to the north; together with the surviving arch on the east bank of the river, the arch demonstrates the structure and extent of the early medieval bridge; early C19 remodelling, the canted bay windows giving extensive views of the river;
* Historic interest: strategic medieval river crossing, the bridge probably constructed by Henry II after the acquisition of land in Henley in 1179; inn, in a prominent position at the entrance to the town, closely associated with the bridge from at least the C18 and remodelled after the building of the new bridge in 1786.

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.