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Description: Former Stables to Rear of Nos 32, 34 and 36
Date Listed: 28 October 1974
English Heritage Building ID: 246209
OS Grid Reference: SU7594282667
OS Grid Coordinates: 475942, 182667
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5378, -0.9064
Explore more of the area around Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire at Explore Britain.
696/1/305 MARKET PLACE
28-OCT-74 (North side)
Former stables to rear of Nos 32, 34 a
(Formerly listed as:
32, 33 AND 36
BARN AT REAR OF KINGS ARMS PUBLIC HOUS
E AND NUMBER 36)
Stable range of 1601-2 with later modifications.
MATERIALS: timber framing with weatherboard covering; brick and flint dwarf foundation wall and some infill; red tile roof.
PLAN: The stable stands behind the King's Arms public house (a C16 or C17 building, listed Grade II), ranged east-west across the width of the burgage plot. This plot is one of those which line the north side of Henley's broad Market Place, lying opposite the Grade II* listed Town Hall. The stable now forms the northern boundary of the King's Arms curtilage, the originally much longer burgage plot having been truncated by modern development of the Kings Road car park to the north. All the original stable doors faced the King's Arms indicating the stable yard and stable were accessed from the Market Place via an entrance through the inn.
EXTERIOR: The building measures 17.50 by 5.70 metres, and stands roughly 7.40 metres high. Its west wall now comprises the brick wall of the C19 Police House which occupies the adjoing plot. Queen-post-trusses divide it into six very irregularly-spaced bays; first two wide bays, then a short bay, two more wide bays, and last a final narrow bay. Two doors from the south at first-floor level have evidence for access from a projecting landing and staircase with roof above. One of these doors and external stairs, at the right-hand end of the building, was reinstated at the building's restoration c.2000. There are several mullioned windows in the first floor of the north wall, some apparently original.
Abutting the rear of the main stable is a small brick-and-flint stable of C19 date, heavily modernized and partly rebuilt in the recent programme of improvements.
INTERIOR: The building is entered from the Market Place via a door towards its left end. This leads into a cross-passage (giving access to/from the rear), to the right of which is what is now the TIC. Much of its ceiling timbers are original, and surviving from its former use as a stables is a timber manger against the rear wall and blue-brick flooring. A counter (not of historic interest) has been introduced to the right-hand end of the roof. To the left of the cross passage lavatories have been introduced, and a new stair rising to the first floor which incorporates one of the stall divisions from the stable. This stands next to the wall ladder which was originally gave internal access to the first floor. The heavy cobbled floor also survives from the stables. The first floor is much less altered than the ground floor and remains undivided. Two of the trusses retain wattle-and-daub infill to their upper parts. Upstairs may have been used for storing hay or for grooms' accommodation. The floor frames are numbered consecutively from west to east, and although the western half was reconstructed in the late C19 the surviving joists and axial beams suggest there was no internal staircase to the first floor.
HISTORY: The stable was presumably purpose-built to serve the King's Arms, first named as an inn in 1684. As Giles Worsley has noted in his standard work on the British Stable, most such stables had two functions: to provide temporary accommodation for travellers' horses, and permanent stabling for the horses used by public coaches or hired by private individuals for a single stage. It was in use as a stable until 1947, at that time it housing eight of the brewery's dray horses. Later it fell into disrepair and was on the South Oxford District Council Buildings at Risk Register for many years. It was recently carefully repaired by IJP Conservation with a substantial subvention from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Together with the Old King's Arms it was bought from Brakspear's Brewery by Henley-on-Thames Town Council and now houses a Tourist Information Centre on its ground floor, while the first floor is occupied by a meeting/function room.
SOURCES: Vernacular Architecture Group Annual Report 31 (2000), 94; Henley on Thames Archaeological and Historical Group Vernacular Building Research Section Report 68/1993; Journal of the Henley on Thames Archaeological & Historical Group 10 (Autumn 1994); G. Worsley, The British Stable (2004), 216-20.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The timber-framed structure ranged across the width of the burgage plot behind the King's Arms is a purpose-built timber-framed stable range dendrochrolologically dated to 1601-2. It was presumably built to accommodate the horses of those staying at what was probably already an inn, and it remained so-used until the mid C20. It is of special interest in a national context for its date and as and unusual survival of an urban stable.
Listing NGR: SU7594282671
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.