Description: Palmer's Farmhouse
Date Listed: 1 February 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 305407
OS Grid Reference: SP1643358134
OS Grid Coordinates: 416433, 258134
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2212, -1.7609
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539/8/60 STATION ROAD
(Formerly listed as:
Mary Arden's House)
Late C16 farmhouse, the earliest surviving part of which is the herringbone timber-framed cross-wing of c.1569, originally of 2 bays but the rear bay of which was removed c.1700.
PLAN: The present 2-bay hall range of 1580 (presumably replacing an earlier one) and aligned roughly east-west is close-studded to the front with square timber panels to the rear and high stone plinths. The hall was originally open to the roof but was soon floored over and had a chimney inserted when the single-bay kitchen was added on the same alignment (making a continuous range) in 1581; the gable walls of both hall and kitchen are of roughly coursed lias rubble (exposed only to the latter) and the framing is not infilled against them; plain tile roof. The lean-to at the rear of the hall range was extended across the demolished bay of the cross-wing in C18.
EXTERIOR: Front (roadside) elevation of hall/kitchen range has heavy close-studding with mid-rail and straight braces from wall-posts to wall-plate; the plain rendered area roughly to the centre with the prominent red brick ridge stack directly above marks the original gable end of the hall. This has 3 leaded mullioned windows on ground floor and 2 gabled eaves dormers with leaded mullioned windows, one to each bay; kitchen bay has nail-studded plank door to far right and 2 leaded mullioned windows on ground floor; 2 gabled eaves dormers with leaded mullioned windows; prominent integral brick end stack to gable end, which has bread oven projection. Cross-wing to right has herringbone-patterned gable flush with hall range, ground floor with large leaded mullioned window and nail-studded plank door; first floor with centrally placed leaded mullioned window directly beneath tie beam. Return of cross-wing is square panelled with 3-light leaded mullioned window to left of centre on ground floor; clear signs of truncation to rear gable, which has 3-light leaded mullioned window directly above tie beam. Rear elevation of main range is also square panelled save for small area of close studding directly above entrance which is immediately to the right of the ridge stack and aligned with the front entrance to form a cross-passage; small leaded mullioned windows on ground floor, 2 grouped together to right of door and one to left of door; further leaded mullioned window directly below eaves to left of door; timber-framed catslide lean-to to left is square panelled with red brick infill and overlaps rear gable of cross-wing.
INTERIOR: Ground floor of hall-range is a large room with chamfered spine beam and joists; large inglenook fireplace with timber lintel; stone flag floor; C20 oak stair to first floor. Much of the timber frame in the cross-wing is C20 reinstatement; stone flag floor and C20 staircase. Lean-to at rear is stepped down and has a stone sink. First floor has wide floor boards and a trenched-purlin queen-post roof, lightly sooted over the hall; internal window looks from the cross-wing into the hall.
HISTORY: This building has traditionally been identified as the childhood home of Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden, an association first made by the local antiquary, John Jordan in 1794. Recent research shows that it was in fact built and occupied by Adam Palmer, a prosperous yeoman who died in 1584.
SOURCES: Nat Alcock, Topography and Land Ownership in Wilmcote (2000) and Bob Meeson, Glebe Farm, Wilmcote, Warwickshire (2000), unpublished reports for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Listing NGR: SP1643358134
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.