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Stone House Prebend

A Grade II* Listed Building in Derby, City of Derby

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Latitude: 52.9336 / 52°56'0"N

Longitude: -1.477 / 1°28'37"W

OS Eastings: 435252

OS Northings: 337484

OS Grid: SK352374

Mapcode National: GBR PK9.BR

Mapcode Global: WHDGT.8JYD

Entry Name: Stone House Prebend

Listing Date: 20 June 1952

Last Amended: 4 September 2015

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1228772

English Heritage Legacy ID: 403469

Location: Derby, DE1

County: City of Derby

Electoral Ward/Division: Darley

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Derby

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Chester Green St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Derby

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House dating to the early C16 with late C16, C18 and C19 additions.


House dating to the early C16 with late C16, C18 and C19 additions.

MATERIALS: the west range and three bays of the north range are timber framed with external walls of handmade red brick of different phases laid in an irregular bond. The east and west ends of the north range, and the east range are of handmade red brick, also of different phases. The roof has a tile covering.

PLAN: the house has a U-shaped plan consisting of a late C16 north range, aligned east-west, with an C18 extension on the east end; an early to mid-C16 west range, aligned north-south, with an C18 extension to the north-west; and a single-storey C19 east range, aligned north-south.

EXTERIOR: the two-storey house has pitched roofs, some with gable parapets, and irregular elevations with mostly wooden casement windows probably of C19 date. The principal north range has, from the left, an C18 extension with a door under a cambered brick arch and a two-light window with a blocked window above, followed by an external brick chimney. The main house has a single-light window and a two-light window above, and a massive external chimney built of large squared sandstone blocks with three setbacks on the east side and two on the west, with a tall brick stack. There is a narrow blocked doorway on the front of the chimney, formerly providing access for a sweep. The plank and batten front door, which is not original, is sheltered under a lean-to which also covers a small C19 extension of the dairy. This has a two-light window with internal bars and, below, two narrow blocked lights with bars. Above the lean-to there is a three-light window. Following this, the projecting gabled bay forms the north end of the early to mid-C16 west range. It is lit by a large four-light window and two-light window above. To the right is an even larger external chimney of the same stone but with bricks on the upper level and a similar bricked-up door. There are six setbacks on the east and three on the west side, below which is a two-light window. The chimney pot was made by Wiltshire Potteries and is stamped with the date 1817. The roof line of the gable runs lower down on the west side which was built to contain the chimney of the C18 room added to the west end. This has an arched opening which adjoins a lean-to extension, of possible early to mid-C19 date.

The west elevation has a projecting gabled bay with a brick chimney stack rising from the right gable foot. It is lit by a three-light window and a two-light window on the first floor, and there is a blocked window to the right on the ground floor. The right return of this bay is blind. The rest of the long elevation has a vertical plank door right up in the corner with a two-light window above and one to the right. About half-way along is another large external stone chimney with one set-off on each side and a tall brick stack. The south gable end of the west range has a parapet and kneelers. It is lit on both floors by large three-light windows with a keyed cambered stone lintel and stone sills. In the gable head there is a rectangular stone plaque depicting a deer in a park – the arms of the Borough of Derby – with the date 1594. The right return has a blocked doorway pierced by a small window in the right corner, and a two-light window above.

The south elevation of the main range has a timber wall plate with pegholes indicating that it was formerly framed with square panels. One post remains on the right side. On the left side there is an early C19 doorcase with corner blocks and a C20 door, above which is part of the lead flashing from a conservatory which has been removed (although still shown on the current Ordnance Survey map). To the right is a three-light window under a segmental brick arch, and above is a four-light window. The single-storey east range has dentilled eaves, a large multi-paned window on the south gable end, and a door on the right return. The east gable end of the main range is lit by a three-light and a two-light window under segmental brick arches.



The principal late C16 north range consists of a three-bay room, the west bay having been partitioned off to create the dairy. The remaining two-bay room, now fitted out as a kitchen, has a substantial bridging beam and joists, supported by a mid-C19 post carved with the height marks and initials of the Parker children. The north wall has some exposed square framing above the front door. The dairy, which was created in the second half of the C17 and enlarged on the north side in the C19, has a brick floor. Shallow arched brick thralls, topped with ash mortar, line the walls on the south and west sides. A large cheese press, which stands against the east wall, has a large sandstone press with a grooved gritstone tray beneath. It is not known whether or not this is the original press mentioned in the 1676 inventory. The first floor of the north range also consists of a three-bay room, the east bay being partitioned off to create a bathroom. The wall plates in the north and south walls are exposed, as is the tie beam in the east wall and two purlins. The roof over the north range was not inspected but recent photographs (2014) show a principal collar rafter roof with purlins.

The C18 extension built onto the east side of the north range consists of one room on both floors. The ground-floor room, formerly used by servants, has two chamfered bridging beams; and the first-floor room has two purlins on each pitch.


In the early to mid-C16 west range, the sitting room at the northern end and the stairwell to the south of this were both damaged by the 1976 fire. The south wall of the stairwell is close studded up to first-floor level, although the studs at the eastern end have been replaced due to fire damage, as has the straight-flight stair for the same reason. The east wall of the stairwell has a corner post with a brace. The party wall between the stairwell and the sitting room has been renewed, as has the ceiling in the latter room with the exception of three joists. The bottom half of the large brick fireplace, including the stone hearth, is original but the stone lintel, upper half of the brickwork, and the copper hood are replacements. The room occupying the south end of the west range is panelled throughout in square panels with narrow moulded rails and muntins, and has an incorporated eight-panelled door. On the west wall is an impressive and beautifully crafted wooden chimneypiece with inlaid panels. The lower half is flanked by ionic columns, above which is a frieze decorated with honeysuckle and an architrave with acanthus. The large overmantel has a central panel (now blank but formerly thought to contain a coat of arms) flanked by two arched panels with columns in between. The upper panels are decorated with tulips and carnations, and the lower with an architectural design (these are late C20 replicas of the original). It has a Georgian hob grate with sides of Delft tiles, six of which are original, whilst the remainder were made in 2002. Behind the wooden surround remains the corner of an earlier Tudor arch stone fireplace.

On the first floor of the west range, a passage runs east-west to the north of the stair. The party wall between the passage and the room occupying the northern end of the range (known as the graffiti room) is close studded, and in the plaster is inscribed all the initials of the children of Nathaniel Bate’s second marriage from the mid-C17. In the graffiti room the post in the south-west corner has braces running to the north and west. The east wall is close studded and contains the posts and lintel of a former doorway. Some of the posts bear candlemarks which have been interpreted either as evidence of former heating practices or as having thaumaturgic origins. The plaster on the south wall is etched with two small but elaborate designs signed IB for John Bate. They bear the word 'REX' in the centre and the date Sept VIII 1646; a third similar design on the east wall has 'N' in the centre. A further etching signed IB on the south wall is of a four storey building. From photographic evidence (2014) the roof structure is strengthened by purlins and has a king post which may be a later addition or replacement.

The south end of the west range is occupied by the master bedroom which has two chamfered bridging beams of a 1720s date and joists, and a close studded north wall. The north-east corner of this room has been partitioned off, at an unknown date, to create a small timber framed room. From photographic evidence (2014) there is a collar rafter roof with purlins above the south end of this range.

The C18 extension on the north-west side of the west range consists of a room on both floors. The ground-floor room has a delicate late C18 fireplace with a hob grate on the north wall, and two C18 cupboards on the south wall occupying the space of an earlier fireplace. The window has a vertically sliding shutter (also known as a sash shutter) which is housed below in a panelled box. Beneath this room is a brick barrel vaulted cellar. The north wall contains blocks of stone thought to be of Roman origin.


This C19 range consists of a single-storey room, used as a potting shed, which has a collar rafter roof incorporating reused timbers dating to the early C16.


Stone House Prebend is situated on the east bank of the River Derwent in an area formerly known as Little Chester, the site of a Roman auxiliary camp. It was built in the Middle Ages to farm one of the prebendal estates of the collegiate church of All Saints, Derby, held under the Dean of Lincoln. After the dissolution of the College of All Saints Church, to which it was attached, the farmhouse was acquired by the Borough of Derby in 1554. At this time it was leased by Oliver Thacker, the brother of Robert Thacker who was the last subdean of Derby. Stone House Prebend has evolved through numerous phases of rebuilding. It is thought to have been erected on the foundations of a Roman building as there is masonry from this period in the basement. From structural evidence within the roofs, it is probable that the west range is the earliest part of the house, possibly representing the timber-framed cross-wing to an earlier hall range to the east. A recent dendrochronology analysis indicates that the west range is likely to have been built in the early to mid-C16, and the main kitchen range replaced the medieval hall range using timbers felled in 1591. The analysis also shows that there are reused timbers felled in 1525-30 in the C19 east range (the potting shed), intimating that there was possibly an earlier building on this site dating to the early C16.

In 1591 the house was leased by Anthony Bate, a member of the London Clothworker’s Company, whose family held the farm for three generations. A stone tablet, bearing the Derby Borough Coat of Arms and the date 1594, probably records a renovation of the house at the beginning of the Bate’s tenancy. Anthony was succeeded by his brother Robert, a merchant of considerable wealth, and then the lease passed to Nathaniel Bate senior. After his death in 1645, his son Nathaniel inherited the household. The prosperity of the Bate family is suggested by the oak panelled room with inlaid wooden fireplace that they had installed in the early C17. Various items of graffiti provide further evidence of their occupancy: the initials of the children of Nathaniel senior (from his second marriage) were carved into the wall plaster at the top of the stairs sometime after 1635; and Nathaniel’s 21st child, John, was responsible for the Royalist graffiti inside the adjacent room, dated Sept VIII 1646. At the time of Nathaniel’s death in 1676 a room by room inventory of his goods was made. This describes a room adjacent to the kitchen being fitted out as a dairy complete with cheese press. By the end of the C17 the lease of Stone House Prebend had changed hands several times until the Ward family took possession for most of the C18.

The house continued to evolve during this period. Probably in the late C17 or early C18 the lower part of the south wall of the main range was replaced in brick (the upper part had to be replaced c.1800). The small extension added to the west side of the main range possibly dates to the early C18. The fireplace in the south-west corner of this new room was moved to the north wall at the end of the C18, and the medieval chimney breast was extended to serve it. The east and west walls of the west range were then replaced in brick. In the main range, the timbers in the room at the east end have been dendro-dated to the 1740s, suggesting that this was a mid-C18 extension. By 1827 a survey described the farmhouse and outbuildings as ‘very old’ and ‘kept in even poor repair only at a considerable annual expense to the tenants’. The small east range, used as a potting shed, was probably added in the mid-C19. During the second half of the C19 much of the land associated with the house was gradually sold. By the end of the century the lease had been relinquished by the Parker family and the house put to use as a Masters’ house for Derby School.

In the 1960s the L-shaped range of outbuildings situated to the north-east of the house, which is thought to have dated to the C16 or C17, was demolished leaving only two of the walls standing, as well as some cobbled surfaces. The gate piers in the north-west corner of the garden were built in the late C20 using salvaged stone. In 1975 a fire broke out in the house destroying the staircase and most of the room to the west of the dairy in the main range. Two years later the house passed into private ownership.

Reasons for Listing

Stone House Prebend, a house dating to the early C16 with late C16, C18 and C19 additions, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it originated in the early C16 and continued to evolve into the C19, thus providing important evidence of building practices and techniques – from timber framing to brickwork – over four centuries;

* Interior: it has numerous internal features of particular note, such as the C17 oak panelled room with its finely crafted inlaid wooden fireplace and the cheese press which may date to the second half of the C17;

* Historic interest: the mid-C17 Royalist graffiti etched into the wall plaster is a rare and important survival as well as a fascinating insight into the behaviour and allegiance of a contemporary child;

* Group value: it has group value with the scheduled Littlechester Roman site, within which the house is situated, and the adjacent Grade II listed C16 or C17 Derwent House.

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