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Latitude: 51.1281 / 51°7'41"N
Longitude: -3.0058 / 3°0'20"W
OS Eastings: 329711
OS Northings: 137019
OS Grid: ST297370
Mapcode National: GBR M5.988V
Mapcode Global: VH7DH.VX91
Entry Name: No. 34 High Street
Listing Date: 31 January 1994
Last Amended: 21 March 2013
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1197389
English Heritage Legacy ID: 373921
Location: Bridgwater, Sedgemoor, Somerset, TA6
Civil Parish: Bridgwater
Built-Up Area: Bridgwater
Traditional County: Somerset
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset
A shop with offices above and to the rear, probably of C18 date, refronted in 1824 by Richard Carver, and with an attached cruck range to the south-west and a cottage to the north-west. The other attached buildings are not of special interest.
MATERIALS: the frontage is constructed of pale orange brick in Flemish bond. There is stone coping to a C20 red brick parapet and a narrow cornice returned to the right. The east elevation to Mansion House Lane is red brick with staggered and random Flemish and English bond. The cruck trusses are elm. The roofs are clay pantile.
PLAN: the building is double-depth in plan, over three storeys across a three bay range. The cottage is two storeys, two bays deep, and internally has been opened into the shop.
EXTERIOR: the principal elevation has flat gauged brick arches to 3/6-pane sash windows to the second floor and 6/9-pane sashes to the first floor. Those to the right are tripartite on both upper floors. The ground floor has a C20 shop front to the right and right return, with a shop door between. To the left is a wide, gauged brick, segmental-arched recess with moulded stone imposts and contains a gauged flat arch to a former 6/6-pane sash, now a C20 window. There is a door with a tall, gauged, semi-circular brick arch to the right (left-of-centre), which has a semi-circular overlight above a rectangular one. The stack on the right return has a small window to the centre of the top. A board fixed at first-floor level on the right return covers a painted brick advertisement: 'W. H. Smith. Plowman Trundle. Saddler. travelling and Hand Bags Purses, Dog Collars and Luggage of all descriptions'. There are brick stacks to the gable ends. Attached to the rear of No. 34, the small cottage is rendered and has two window openings to each floor, with modern frames. The upper storey projects forward slightly. Behind the cottage and No. 34 is an open courtyard. The rear exterior walls facing the courtyard are rubble stone and brick, overpainted.
INTERIOR: No. 34 has a shop to the right ground floor, with a stone cellar in its front part, accessed by a trapdoor, and is reported to contain a brick oven.
The doorway to the left of the shop leads to a hallway with an office to the left. The office has a decorated frieze above a picture rail. The hallway, with a narrow moulded cornice, leads to an inner hall with a mid-C20 staircase to the left, a sealed doorway to the adjacent shop to the right, and a flagstone corridor down a single step leading to the rear courtyard. A C20 cloakroom to the left has substantial beams, heavily moulded, and neither chamfered nor stopped. At the north (courtyard) end, the cross-beam stops short of the brick wall, and is cut square. The C20 stair winds to a half-landing and a doorway through to a room above the beamed C20 cloakroom. The room is c.5m square, consisting of three evenly-spaced crucks across two bays. The elm timbers were heavily restored and strengthened in the early C21. The trusses have trenched purlins, square-cut rafters, and curved collars. The south wall is timber-framed with wattle-and-daub infill to the collar, and rebuilt in brick above. The north wall is c.41cm beyond the cruck, which is square-cut on the outside edge, and is in brick except for c.1m at the bottom, which is stone. On the first floor is a near full-width room to the south with a cornice. To the north, above the rear of the shop, is the Mayor's Parlour with a plasterwork ceiling of four rectangular medallions with scalloped corners and a cornice. From the first-floor landing a closed-string staircase rises in a well with square balusters and a curved and moulded handrail. There is scroll work on the strings and a simple turned newel post with an acorn pendant. The stairs are panelled to both sides to the attic landing. Two attic rooms run the length of the building, divided by wooden partitions. There is a gas mantle in the first. The roof comprises C19 king post trusses. The internal wall at parapet level is red brick in English bond.
Bridgwater is an historic market town that has grown around a medieval street pattern formed by burgage plots running off the main thoroughfares. The town prospered and grew, although it was heavily damaged during the Civil War. From an early date shops with dwellings above were established on High Street, formerly called Great Street, which is located close to the former market square and the parish church. No. 34 High St, also known as Nos. 34 and 36 High Street, appears to have C15 origins, but has been extensively reordered and extended over a long period, as different commercial uses have been made of the premises. From at least the C17 until c.1800 it served as Noah's Ark Inn, with an associated brewhouse and cider and beer cellars. Ancillary buildings were constructed to the rear, abutting Back Lane. This lane serviced the rear yards of some of High Street's traders. Following the closure of the inn, the buildings were converted to retail use, becoming a saddlery in the mid-C19, by which time there was an attached cottage and stable.
A new Assize Hall had been built in 1720 on Back Lane, formerly Penel Orlieu (and Horlocke Street and variants) and now called Clare Street. The Assize Hall was enlarged to the south in 1823, to the designs of Richard Carver, giving it a formal High Street frontage. This expansion was followed, in 1824, by the rebuilding of some neighbouring properties, including No. 34 High Street, also to the designs of Carver. By this time the rear buildings to No. 34 had encroached across into the burgage plot of No. 40. By 1913, sales particulars for No. 34 note the remains of C15 fabric in the structure, as well as rear buildings including a saddlery, stable and cottage. By 1929 the buildings were in the ownership of Bridgwater Corporation and in 1950 rebuilt Nos. 38 and 40 as new town hall offices. The offices extended into the first floor and second floors of Nos. 34 and 36. In the C21, some of the rear outbuildings are not in use, and ownership of the buildings has passed from Sedgemoor District Council to Bridgwater Town Council.
No. 34 High Street, Bridgwater is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the building has fine façade of 1824;
* Date: the building is substantially pre-1840 in date and survives well;
* Rarity: surviving cruck frames are rare, even when much-altered as in this case;
* Interior fittings: some interior fittings of note, principally the rear stair of 1824, remain.
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