British Listed Buildings

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College Farmhouse, Southwater

Description: College Farmhouse

Grade: II
Date Listed: 28 November 1980
English Heritage Building ID: 299281

OS Grid Reference: TQ1545226704
OS Grid Coordinates: 515452, 126704
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0281, -0.3550

Locality: Southwater
Local Authority: Horsham District Council
County: West Sussex
Country: England
Postcode: RH13 7BT

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Listing Text


Former farmhouse, late C16 extended shortly after it was built, probably by the early C17.

Reason for Listing

College Farmhouse is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
*Architectural interest: well-preserved, good quality timber frame and legible plan form that demonstrate the evolution and structure of a newly-built later C16 and early C17 house;
* Roof structure: drop tie beam roof construction, an early stage in the evolution of a local sequence of similar roofs;
*Historic interest: documentary record relating to the house that is particularly relevant to dating the local roof typology.


It is likely that College Farm was built on land that belonged to Sele Priory that was endowed to Magdalen College, Oxford in 1480. Like the adjacent Great House Farmhouse (listed Grade II*), it was acquired by the Lintott Estate before passing by marriage in the C18 to the Fletcher family. It is now part of the Aubrey Fletcher Trust estate. It appears that it was built on a new site in the post-medieval period in an area where there were a number of substantial medieval houses. The roof structure falls early in the evolution of the drop tie beam, a method of construction devised locally and used from c 1580 to the later C17 (cf Great House Farmhouse (dated 1575 and 1677/8), Lanaways (dated 1679) and Pilfolds (dated 1673, demolished) to provide added capacity and easy access to the roof space.

It stands in isolation in farmland to the west of the old Worthing Road; associated farm buildings have been demolished. The strong north-south linear field pattern that is said to reflect Saxon or early medieval land tenure is fossilized in the landscape.

When the house was refurbished in the 1970s the roof cladding, weatherboarding, external doors and windows were replaced and it is likely that the stair was rebuilt at this time.


MATERIALS: timber-framed, some replacement in brick. Ground floor clad in red and brown brick, largely in Flemish bond, and painted on the south and east elevations; upper floor clad in painted weather boarding replaced later C20; stone and brick plinth. Brick stack, plain tile roofs.

PLAN: main range, two-storeys with fully accessible attics, in three bays aligned roughly north-south, the southern bay later extended southwards. Large internal stack, with cruxiform flues, between the southern and central bays. Single-storey outshut to west, contemporary with the house or added shortly afterwards and under a deep catslide roof. Early C17, two-storey, two-bay extension to the west. C19 single-storey brick extension to the north.

EXTERIOR: the main range has a shallow half-hipped roof to the north and an extended, hipped roof with a small gablet to the south. Catslide roof over the outshut to the west; pitched, side purlin roof to the north-west extension. The entrance, through the outshut, has a later-C20 door. Inserted, glazed door in the east elevation. Later C20 two- and three-light timber casements on both floors and inserted flat-roofed dormer casement in the outshut. Original window opening in the north gable wall of the attic replaced by a small C20 casement below protruding eaves. Cruciform brick stack of narrow red/brown brick.

INTERIOR: exposed timber frame and internal partitions throughout most of the house. The main range has a robust timber frame, where the principal posts have jowelled heads. The masonry plinth and formerly external timber frame of the original outer west wall, in small panelling with a mid-rail, is now internal. Slighter scantling north-south internal partition on a timber cill. On both floors, stop chamfered axial ceiling beams have chamfers ranging from 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch in depth; joists, where exposed, are generally unchamfered, some are replaced. Double stopped girding beam to the first floor northern bay. On both floors, some components of the frame in the bays to the north of the stack are numbered and are inscribed in what are considered to be apotropaic marks. Partially blocked small ground-floor fireplace opening to the north face of the stack beneath a chamfered timber bressumer. The southern ground-floor room has a large open fireplace with restored brick jambs, a Horsham stone hearth and a reset chamfered bressumer. The bressumer has been inscribed 1677 AD at a later date and may relate to an earlier inscription or episode of work on the building. The axial ceiling beam has a 2 inch chamfer with a stepped stop. First-floor chambers above were also heated, the bressumer to the former fireplace in the central room is exposed. Original stair to the first floor has been removed, but where it is in situ, from first floor to attic to the west of the stack, it has a carved newel with a chamfered finial. Throughout the house there are wide plank doors, each of three boards, with strap hinges in plain pegged architraves. A plank door to the attic has a nailed iron latch with a cocks-head plate and a strap hinge.

The western two-storey extension has an axial chamfered beam with lambs tongue stops to the ground-floor room. Exposed frame in the room above suggests a substantial first-floor chamber but with no visible evidence of it being heated.

Within the roof space, north, south and west gable walls are infilled in wattle and daub. The main roof is in three bays with a single row of clasped side purlins and no ridge piece. Dropped tie beams to the principal trusses, a device whereby the tie beam, and therefore the attic floor, is set below eaves height to provide greater height from floor to ridge, but in this case the roof is also constructed with upper collars and ties. The western extension has a side purlin roof.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.