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Bell Cottage and Hurley's Cottage, Henley-on-Thames

Description: Bell Cottage and Hurley's Cottage

Grade: II
Date Listed: 28 October 1974
English Heritage Building ID: 246325

OS Grid Reference: SU7606083073
OS Grid Coordinates: 476060, 183073
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5414, -0.9046

Location: Rupert's Lane, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2BE

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

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Listing Text

A pair of early C19 semi-detached brick cottages; there are late-C19 and later extensions to either end and to the rear.

EXTERIOR: The cottages are of red brick in Flemish bond, two storeys with a red tile roof with chimney stacks at each gable end and to the centre (this shared by both cottages). Both have been extended lengthwise by one bay: Bell Cottage (to the left) in the later C19 (before 1879), and Hurley's Cottage (to the right) c1960. Both extensions are two-storey, but do not rise to the main roof line. The 1960s extension is not of special interest.

The main interest of the cottages is the front façade which has hand made bricks: the main walling in Flemish bond, and the ground-floor window heads mainly with rubbed brick headers. However, there have been changes to the ground floor openings, with probably three of the original four doors having been shortened to form windows (vegetation and recent repointing making certainty difficult); the survivor (now the front door to Bell Cottage) has a round head. The left-hand property became a shop in the later C19, when a projecting flat-fronted bay with shop window (or advanced glazed porch) was added to the left of the door (the window appears to be present on the 1879 Ordnance Survey map). The ground-floor windows are all twelve-paned sashes, as are those to the first floor which have their tops tucked under the eaves. All doors and windows to the front appear to be relatively recent replacements.

To the rear Hurley's Cottage has a generous ground-floor extension of c1960 and c1980 running along its full length, while Bell Cottage has a pair of fairly poor quality C20 ground floor additions, one tile-hung. These extensions are not of special interest. The first-floor windows are of various dates (some may be original or have been inserted early in the cottages' history) and sizes.

INTERIOR: Internally the original division into four cottages is indicated by differences in floor levels as well as by sections of what were originally party walls. Both cottages, however, have been largely opened up, have had new joinery, and all but one of the original simple winder staircases (in Bell Cottage) have been removed or replaced. Downstairs the only original fixtures noted were the carcasses of the cupboards which flanked the gable-end chimney in Hurley's Cottage. Inspection upstairs was not possible.

HISTORY: A map attached to a deed of 1799 and a later map of 1824 shows a different arrangement of buildings to the west of what was then the Bell Inn. In 1841 the inn closed and became Henley Grammar School, and the tithe map of 1843 shows the present road arrangement and what appears to be, what are now, Bell and Hurley's cottages. In the mid to late C19 these were known as 22, 24, 26 and 28 Northfield End. In 1879 (Ordnance Survey) the two left-hand cottages had been amalgamated and extended, but were still flanked by the original two cottages to the right. These remained separate until at least 1913 (Ordnance Survey).

Bell Cottage and Hurley's Cottage are listed for the following principal reasons:
* The cottages are adapted from a row of four modest early C19 cottages which, especially externally, retain much of the character of the original build.
* The front, especially, remains highly attractive with hand made bricks, and makes a positive contribution to the conservation area in which the cottages stand.
* The C19 shop window gives added interest to the façade.
* The cottages have group value as there are numerous listed buildings in the near vicinity.

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.