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Wrencote

A Grade II* Listed Building in Fairfield, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3699 / 51°22'11"N

Longitude: -0.0996 / 0°5'58"W

OS Eastings: 532381

OS Northings: 165143

OS Grid: TQ323651

Mapcode National: GBR GX.HJY

Mapcode Global: VHGRL.7T6P

Entry Name: Wrencote

Listing Date: 29 January 1951

Last Amended: 24 September 2015

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1079291

English Heritage Legacy ID: 201214

Location: Croydon, London, CR0

County: London

District: Croydon

Electoral Ward/Division: Fairfield

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Croydon

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Croydon St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Summary

Large town house of late C17 or early C18 date, possibly designed by Henry Joynes (1684-1754), converted into offices in the mid-C20.

Description

Large town house of late C17 or early C18 date, possibly designed by Henry Joynes (1684-1754), converted into offices in the mid C20.

MATERIALS: red brick with black headers in Flemish bond, much of fine rubbed quality. Carved wooden joinery. Mansard tiled roof with end brick chimneystacks.

PLAN: a half H-shaped plan with a narrow central section containing staircase hall. It is of two storeys plus attics and a basement, and of seven bays.

EXTERIOR: the principal front faces west and has a recessed centre of three bays flanked by projecting wings of two bays. The tiled mansard roof has three flat-roofed dormers with six-over-six sash windows. Below is a deep carved and enriched moulded wooden eaves cornice with two bands of carved mouldings and heavily enriched console brackets. In the centre is a panel of deeply carved garlands, and the cornice breaks forward round corner pilasters to the projecting wings and is enriched by carvings of a cherub with swags and grotesque masks with foliage surrounds. The recessed centre has a six-over-six central sash window and narrower similar side windows with rubbed and moulded brick aprons. The central entrance has a wooden cornice projecting forward at the sides, supported on grotesque masks, with pilasters, rectangular fanlight with glazing bars and a six-fielded panelled door. The inner returns have semi-circular headed niches on the first floor and square-headed niches with architrave surrounds and cornices on the ground floor. The central entrance is approached from a platform with scrolled iron panels and curved iron railings leading to a flight of semi-circular stone steps. The projecting end bays have rubbed brick angle pilasters with cut brick bands between floors and six-over-six sash windows with rubbed and moulded brick aprons.

The south side wall has a shallow projecting chimney with a blank round-headed arch to the ground floor, elliptical or flat blank arches above and a curbing stone.

The east side, also of seven bays, was restored in the mid-C20.

The north side has a side brick chimneystack but is otherwise concealed by no. 121.

INTERIOR: contains the original staircase with twisted balusters and panelling.


History

Wrencote is a house of circa 1715-20 or a little earlier, probably built as a merchant's house. It was possibly designed by Henry Joynes (1684-1754) one of Christopher Wren's pupils, who designed nearby Carshalton House.

On the 1868 First Edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey map it is shown with a front garden and a sizeable rear garden. No changes are shown on further editions up to and including the 1935 fourth edition.

In 1906 the building was measured and drawn by Geoffrey Morland of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society. His plan shows a two storey central staircase-hall flanked by full depth dining rooms and drawing rooms on the ground floor and four bedrooms on the first floor. His sketch of the staircase-hall shows a staircase with twisted balusters and large wall panelling. The south-east first floor room is shown as panelled in the plan. Sales particulars, of 1894 and of 1906, describe four rooms on the top floor and kitchens and usual offices in the basement. A painting of 1917 shows that at that date there was a rendered forecourt wall with square corner piers, cast iron railings and a central cast wrought iron gate.

In the 1940s the property became a home guard post and the building was used as a public shelter. At this time it may have suffered war damage which affected an adjoining C18 property to the north, no. 121, which was later demolished. After the Second World War no. 123 was converted into offices and a photograph of it circa 1949 in the Museum of Croydon suggests it was occupied at that date by a firm manufacturing carbon papers. The building was listed at Grade II* in 1951.

Reasons for Listing

Wrencote, 123 High Street, Croydon, a late C17 or early C18 town house, possibly designed by Henry Joynes, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is the best early C18 town house in Croydon;
* Degree of survival: the principal front is unaltered; and it retains the original early C18 staircase and panelling.

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