Description: Former White Horse Hotel
Date Listed: 6 June 1983
English Heritage Building ID: 259924
OS Grid Reference: SJ5124928923
OS Grid Coordinates: 351249, 328923
Latitude/Longitude: 52.8556, -2.7254
17/3/18 HIGH STREET
06-JUN-83 (North side)
Former White Horse Hotel
(Formerly listed as:
WHITE HORSE HOTEL)
An C18 inn attached to an earlier cruck building, with later modifications.
MATERIALS: The building is largely constructed of brick, with the remains of an earlier timber structure within, and a timber roof structure. The roofs are covered in slate.
PLAN: The main range is three bays wide and rectangular on plan. Attached to the rear is a long two-storey single-depth range that has been partly widened to the left.
EXTERIOR: The main range is three storeys and three bays wide, and rendered. There is a central moulded doorcase and a porch with Tuscan columns and entablature. There are two, twelve-pane sash windows to the left and a large, tripartite sash window to the right. The first floor has a C19, left-hand bay window. The other first- and second-floor windows are simple sashes. The east flank wall has two storey bands and is attached to a later widened portion of the rear range, with a variety of window openings and a doorway to the lounge bar of the hotel. The west flank of the rear range has an exposed timber frame with brick infill panels. The attached red brick and sandstone C19 range to the north is much altered and of lesser interest. There is a tall garden wall of sandstone blocks attached to the rear.
INTERIOR: The ground floor has five principal bar areas with C18 beams in the range fronting the road. There are earlier beams and joists, probably of C17 date, in the rear wing. There is a C20 servery to the left with late-C18 dado panelling in the bar area, which may have been moved from elsewhere. The first floor of the main range has chamfered and stopped C18 beams to the first floor and three cruck trusses to the second floor. Some early stud partitioning remains in the second floor. In the stairwell is an early window with a deep reveal, and there is a small section of C18 stair balustrade. The ground floor of the early rear range has a brick inglenook with bressummer. On the first floor is an encased cruck truss at the north end with early roof structure above.
HISTORY: The former White Horse Hotel served as an inn from at least the C18 and was ideally situated for passing carriage traffic, fronting the main road in the centre of town. The main range probably dates from the early-C18, although some of the roof structure is earlier. The rear wing is partly of post-medieval date, although it has since been adapted and extended. The rear wing stands on the line of a medieval tenement plot, the early settlement pattern of central Wem, by the former castle site.
A much-altered Unitarian Meeting House stands just to the north of the building. The Unitarians were an active non-conformist presence in Shropshire and Staffordshire in the early-C18. The meeting house adjoins a manse at No.17 Noble Street (listed Grade II*) that was the home of William Hazlitt (1737-1820). Hazlitt preached at the meeting house between 1788 and 1813. His son, the essayist William Hazlitt (1778-1830) lived in the house until 1799. Records related to the meeting house state that it was built in 1716 in "Sarah Thornhill's garden in Noble Street."
The White Horse was successively adapted through the C18 and C19, and in the Jubilee Year of 1887 it was substantially enlarged to the rear. The building continued to serve as a hotel until the C21, and in 2010 it is being converted for residential and office use.
Jonathan Bate, `Hazlitt, William (1778-1830)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, 2010 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/12805]
(Accessed 27 May 2010)
Shropshire Historic Environment Record/ Heritage Gateway: http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MSA16495&resourceID=1015
(Accessed 27 May 2010)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The former White Horse Hotel, Wem, Shropshire is of C18 date with an earlier wing, and is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: as a good example of an C18 inn.
* Historical: the building, although principally of C18 date, has earlier fabric; notably a rear wing with part of a cruck truss that is probably of C17 date.
* Intactness: the evolution of the building has led to some alteration to its plan form, and yet it remains substantially intact as an C18 historic structure with earlier elements. Its historic plan remains legible.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.