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CENTURIES, 1 and 2

A Grade II* Listed Building in Hythe, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.0719 / 51°4'18"N

Longitude: 1.0834 / 1°5'0"E

OS Eastings: 616109

OS Northings: 134806

OS Grid: TR161348

Mapcode National: GBR V0L.QQR

Mapcode Global: FRA F649.5WT

Entry Name: CENTURIES, 1 and 2

Listing Date: 3 January 1950

Last Amended: 20 May 2013

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1069006

English Heritage Legacy ID: 175072

Location: Hythe, Shepway, Kent, CT21

County: Kent

District: Shepway

Civil Parish: Hythe

Built-Up Area: Hythe

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

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Summary

House, later adapted into almshouses, currently subdivided into two. The south-east section is C13 or possibly earlier, the south-west part probably dates from the 1330s. The north-east wing was added in 1811 when some re-fenestration and other external and internal alterations took place.


Description

MATERIALS: the south-east section of two storeys with an undercroft and of one bay on to Bartholomew Street is built of Kentish ragstone rubble. The south-west section of two storeys in two bays, is of coursed and roughly squared sandstone. The north-east wing of one storey in three bays, is of ashlar with flint galleting. There is a hipped tiled roof with four tall brick chimneystacks.

PLAN: the earliest south-east section had an undercroft for storage or trade with living accommodation above. The south-west section has a through passage and may have had an open hall originally to the east of this, replaced by an inserted C17 chimneystack and floor providing a communal heated ground floor room and a larger master or prior's room to the west. The remainder of the building, including the north-east wing, comprised individual rooms for the inhabitants of the almshouses. Some of the partitions were later removed.

EXTERIOR: the south or principal front has three Gothick style early C19 pointed-arched casement windows with leaded lights, pintle hinges and stone drip-moulds. The off-central doorcase has a pointed arched doorway with a stone drip-mould and a panelled door with arched heads. There is a straight joint to the left of the eastern bay which has a C13 pointed arched entrance to the undercroft. The east elevation along Church Hill has two 16-pane sash windows with earlier cambered brick arches above. The southern ground floor window is set in an earlier blocked probably medieval entrance. There is a straight joint before the 1811 north wing which has three pointed-arched casement windows with leaded lights, pintle hinges and stone drip moulds. The west side wall is mainly tile-hung. The north side of the earlier wing has a roof in three hips with casement windows on the first floor set in brick surrounds and a garden entrance with a cambered brick arch above. The west wall of the 1811 extension has cambered arched wooden windows with leaded lights set in cambered brick surrounds and there is a large brick porch.

INTERIOR: the undercroft retains a gabled stone niche, the remains of a stone staircase in the western wall and a chamfered wooden transverse beam. The entrance from Bartholomew Street leads into a through passage with a stepped stone corbel supporting a wooden beam. To the left was the prior's or master's room which has C18 or early C19 ceiling beams, a four-panelled door, a large wooden fire surround and side cupboards. To the right is a large room, originally the communal room of the almshouses, with a wide open fireplace with a wooden bressumer, brick arches and 1687 iron fireback. Attached at the southern end is a folding wooden screen to prevent draughts and a folding table, both early C19. The ceiling has a central spine beam and floor joists. The south corridor has a beam supported on a stone corbel. There is a tiled floor. An eastern room has C18 or early C19 central beams and floor joists and originally was two rooms with a triangular brick chimney, originally an angled stack in the corner of each room and now centrally placed where the wall is missing. The kitchen, further north, retains a further, probably medieval, stone corbel. The edge of a medieval stone doorway survives. There are also a number of early C19 ledged plank doors. The upper floor is accessed through the brick porch on the north-west side. Although some partitions have been removed the first floor mostly retains original rooms to the almshouses, each retaining an C18 or early C19 wooden fireplace (or late C19 in one instance) and built-in wooden cupboards. The formerly external wall on the north side of the south-east wing is visible internally.

History

The south-east part of this building probably dates from the C13 and was owned by the Noble family. It was the birthplace of a member of this family, Hamo de Hethe (c.1270-c.1357) and his parents. Hamo was a Benedictine monk who was consecrated Bishop of Rochester in 1319. In 1333 he rallied the men of the Cinque Ports to defend the country while Edward III was fighting in Scotland and he was involved in the organisation of coastal defence during the first stages of the Hundred Years War.

In 1336 Edward III granted a license for Hamo to found a House for Poor People at Hythe in Honour of St. Andrew 'upon the spot where we, aforesaid Bishop of Rochester, and our ancestors first saw light, situated in the parish of St. Leonard in the aforesaid town.' (Pat. 10 Edw., III, pt. 1, m. 14). It was to be for ten persons of either sex, one of whom was to be master. The master and poor persons were to be appointed by three wardens and no leper was to be received as there was already another hospital in Hythe, (St. John's Hospital) dealing with that condition. A few years later a document records a loan by the Prior and Chapter of Christchurch Canterbury for a hospital (Lit. Cant. (Rolls Ser..), ii,2 50.) and on 10 May 1342, Bishop Hamo obtained another licence to found a hospital for thirteen poor persons on his own soil in the town of Hythe (Pat. 16 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 8.). The south-west part of the building probably originated around this date.

In 1562 Matthew Parker Archbishop of Canterbury in a return of the hospitals in his diocese refers to the Hospital of St. Bartholomew near Hythe and the hospital of St. John of Hythe but does not mention a hospital dedicated to St. Andrew. Receipts survive for building materials and labour for interior alterations to the building dated 1603, 1605, 1612 and 1642. In 1685 the inhabitants of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in Saltwood, founded by Bishop Hamo in 1336, were transferred to this site and the building was known as St. Bartholomew's Hospital from that date. In 1811 a north wing was added with further individual rooms and the pointed arched windows on Bartholomew Street date from this time. In 1837 the Charity Commissioners reported that the hospital of St. Bartholomew was under the control of three wardens. There were four in-brothers and eight in-sisters, besides one out-brother called the wood-reeve, appointed by the lord of the manor of Postling, according to an old custom dating back as far as 1581, because a previous lord of Postling had given wood to the hospital. Each alms-person received £5 quarterly (Char. Com. Rep. xxx, 422-8). The building appears on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1883 labelled 'St. Bartholomew's Hospital (AD. 1336)'. A 1902 floor plan of the ground floor of the building shows the western room called Prior's Room, a through passage and a room with a large fireplace labelled Kitchen. There are three smaller individual rooms on the west side and the internal divisions of the 1811 addition are not shown. This plan also shows a wash house and scullery in the yard to the north which have since been demolished.

In 1949 the residents of St. Bartholomew's Hospital were combined with those at St. John's Hospital at 150 High Street, Hythe. The building ceased to be owned by the Church and became privately owned. By 1951 the interior stairs and some panelling had been removed and the building was divided into two parts, by floor.

Reasons for Listing

Centuries 1 and 2 is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the south-eastern wing is a C13 or possibly earlier stone building with an undercroft, the south-western part may also be of medieval origin and the north east wing was added in 1811 to provide further almshouse accommodation;
* Interior features: medieval fittings include a gabled niche in the undercroft, some stone corbels and one side of a stone internal door frame. There is a late C16 or early C17 open fireplace with a massive wooden bressumer. The building is also notable for the very complete C18 and early C19 almshouse fittings, including an unusual folding screen by the open fireplace in the communal room to counteract draughts and a folding table. Most individual rooms of the almshouse survive with original fireplaces, wooden cupboards and plank doors;
* Rarity of building type: stone domestic buildings dating from the C13 are very rare and other examples of the period in Kent are graded II*.
* Historical interest: it was the birth place and early home of Hamo de Hethe (c.1270-c.1357) who became Bishop of Rochester, and was a prominent national as well as local figure. Possibly from 1336, when Edward III granted a charter, and certainly between 1685 and 1949, the building was in use as almshouses.

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