A former late-medieval open hall house, with C17, C18, C19 and C20 alterations and additions.
Reason for Listing
Oatway Cottage, a late-medieval former open hall house, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as a late-medieval former open hall house that retains a pair of jointed cruck trusses.
* Plan: the evolution of the building can be read in the surviving fabric and contributes to our understanding of domestic vernacular architecture
* Interior: it retains a number of historic features from various phases of its development, the late medieval smoke-blackened cruck trusses and the early C17 timber-framed cross passage being of particular interest.
* Historical interest: as the only known surviving building from the medieval development of Roadwater.
Roadwater, formerly Rode, was the site of a mill by 1243, and later a bridge over the Washford River around which a settlement had grown by the end of the 15th century. The majority of buildings in the settlement are of C18, C19, and C20, but Oatway Cottage, formerly Oatways, is believed to be the sole surviving building from the medieval development of the settlement. It originated as a late medieval, four-bay open hall house before being remodelled as a cross passage house in the early C17 when a ceiling, fireplace and staircase were inserted. At this time the house consisted of a cross passage with a hall to the left (south-west) of the passage and two service rooms to the other. Soon after this conversion the two service rooms were made into one. Later in the C17, perhaps even as late as 1700 when the principal (south) façade was substantially remodelled with the addition of gabled dormers, a stair tower was added to the rear. In the C18 a single-storey outbuilding was added to the left-hand (south-west) end, possibly for agricultural use. During the C19 the right-hand (north-east) end was extended and a gabled porch was added over the entrance door. In the C20 the house was subdivided into two dwellings, with the outbuilding absorbed into the south-western dwelling, and the extension to the right-hand (north-east) end was used as a shop.
House, formerly a late-medieval open hall house, with C17, C18,C19 and C20 alterations and additions.
MATERIALS: It is constructed from rendered and lime-washed stone rubble and cob, under a wheat-reed thatched roof.
PLAN: Originally a four-bay open hall house that was remodelled as a cross passage house in the early C17 when a ceiling, fireplace and staircase were inserted. Later in the C17, perhaps even as late as 1700, a stair tower was added to the rear. In the C18 a single-storey outbuilding was added to the left-hand (south-west) end, possibly for agricultural use, and in the C19 the right-hand (north-east) end was extended. In the C20 the house was subdivided into two dwellings, with the C18 extension absorbed into the south-west dwelling. It was returned to single occupancy in the late C20 when the upper storey was remodelled.
EXTERIOR: The principal (south) elevation is asymmetrical with the original domestic accommodation being of one and a half storeys whilst the extension to the left-hand (south west) end is of full height, under the same roof as the rest of the building. There are three gabled dormers, the outer two formerly with a raised plasterwork design consisting of crossed palm leaves and the initials BWO (said to be for William Oatway and his wife) and the date 1700; these were rendered over in the late C20. The left hand dormer contains a five-light, originally six-light, moulded mullion window with the other two dormers containing three-light mullions. To the ground floor there is an off-centre gabled thatched porch with arched opening and moulded ribbed plank inner door. To the right of the porch there are three two-light casements with a raking buttress between the first and second bays. On the left-hand side of the porch there are two two-light mullions, one steeply chamfered, with a stepped buttress at the junction between the house and the outbuilding. To the outbuilding there is one single and one three-light casement window plus a C20 glazed door.
To the rear (north) elevation is an off-centre doorway with a moulded plank door under a peak-arched wooden door frame. To the left (north east) of the doorway there is a stair tower lit by a lancet window and, left again, a large lateral stack of stone construction, the upper portion either heightened or rebuilt in brick. On the right-hand (south west) side of the doorway there are two-light and three-light mullion windows over which are two single-light casement windows. To the former outbuilding there are single-light casement and three-light mullion windows. The right-hand (north east) gable end contains two two-light casement windows to the ground floor and a three-light casement window to the upper floor whilst the left hand (south west) gable end to the former outbuilding is blind with a brick end stack.
INTERIOR: In the late medieval part of the house there are two rooms separated by a timber-framed cross passage with studs and rails. The room to the left-hand side of the cross passage (latterly used as a kitchen) has timber ceiling beams with scroll stops, and a large inglenook fireplace with a reconstructed bread oven and large timber bressumer with scroll stops. To the right-hand side of the chimney breast a staircase rises to the upper storey. Beyond the kitchen there is a further entrance door and, separated by a lobby, the former outbuilding which has been incorporated into the house. It contains a single room of full height and has an inserted C20 mezzanine. The room to the right-hand side of the cross passage (latterly used as a sitting room) is at a slightly lower level and contains, to the rear wall, a large inglenook fireplace with stone jambs and timber bressumer with scroll stops. To the left of the fireplace there are two plank and batten doors with the left-hand door providing access to a winder stair in the stair tower whilst the right-hand door gives access to an alcove under the stair. A curve in the alcove wall indicates the possible location of an earlier staircase. The ceiling beams have scroll stops with the central beam and the half beam to the north-east wall containing mortices at their centres. This suggests that the room was centrally divided before the fireplace was inserted. In the right-hand wall an off-centre doorway, cut through the original external wall, provides access to a single room, (latterly used as a study) in the C19 extension.
The upper storey was extensively remodelled in the late C20 when timber stud partition walls were inserted to create four bedrooms. As such, there are very few fixtures and fittings of historic interest.
The late-medieval roof structure comprises two pairs of jointed crucks that sit on stone pads set within the ground-floor walls. They are morticed and tenoned at the apex with the ridge-piece resting in a v-notch; the collars are similarly jointed but that to the left-hand (south-west) cruck has now been removed. There are two trenched purlins on each side of the roof slope, one at the wall top, one halfway up the slope, and common rafters and battens survive, all being riven timbers. The left-hand (south west) end is half-hipped with a cross timber halved into the back of the hip cruck to support the purlins. All the roof timbers at this end, along with some of the thatch, are heavily smoke blackened. At the right-hand (north-east) end there is no evidence of a hip truss and, as the roof timbers have been painted, no evidence of any smoke blackening.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.