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Gable End

A Grade II* Listed Building in Priors Marston, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.2135 / 52°12'48"N

Longitude: -1.2857 / 1°17'8"W

OS Eastings: 448898

OS Northings: 257496

OS Grid: SP488574

Mapcode National: GBR 7R4.CPY

Mapcode Global: VHCVH.NMNG

Entry Name: Gable End

Listing Date: 21 April 1986

Last Amended: 11 January 2013

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1299516

English Heritage Legacy ID: 305705

Location: Priors Marston, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, CV47

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon

Civil Parish: Priors Marston

Built-Up Area: Priors Marston

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Priors Marston St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Coventry

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Priors Marston


A large timber-framed house, formed from two formerly open-hall ranges set at right angles to each other, probably dating from the C14/C15 and C15 respectively, refaced in stone in the C17.


MATERIALS: timber-framed with ironstone facing, and some brick and render to the western elevation; windows of dressed stone and timber, and red-brick stacks, one on a stone base with cornice. The roofs are covered in plain clay tile.

PLAN: T-shaped plan, with ranges of four bays and three and a half bays respectively, running north-south and east-west; a through-passage runs north-south in the narrow, westernmost bay of the east-west range. There is a later single-storey addition in the re-entrant angle between the ranges, to the south. The stair rises in the north-south range, between the inserted stack and the through-passage.

EXTERIOR: both ranges are two-storeys, the north-south range with a slightly higher roofline than the earlier, east-west range. The elevations are largely ironstone rubble of various sizes and squaring. A small area of render and brick infill marks the remaining timber frame to the first floor of the western elevation. The main front, to the north, includes the long elevation of the earlier, east-west range, and the slightly higher cross-wing formed by the north-south range. The east-west range has two windows to the ground floor, each a three-light, casement window with rectangular panes and metal glazing bars, each under a painted timber lintel. Above the right-hand window is a higher, wider timber lintel, which probably marks the height of the former hall window. There is a square, brick, ridge stack set towards the western end of the roof. Set into the angle between the two ranges is a C20 lean-to porch with a glazed door. Above this porch is a small, single-light window in a chamfered stone surround. To the right, in the ground-floor eastern wall of the cross-wing, is a two-light, diagonally-chamfered stone-mullioned window with a hood mould. The gable end has a similar window of four lights to the ground floor, with a three-light timber casement window with rectangular leaded glazing above, under a painted timber lintel. There is a large, square stone stack which emerges from the ridge and has a cornice; above this, are four smaller, conjoined square brick stacks. The eastern gable end of the east-west range has high coped verges, and has a rectangular-glazed timber casement window similar to those in the other elevations. Below and to the left is a much later replacement window, made up to fit an earlier opening. The rear, southern elevation of the east-west range has two casement windows set under the eaves, one of three lights and another of two; below is a later two-light casement. The rest of the elevation is obscured by a C20 sun-room set into the angle. The first floor of the south gable end of the north-south range has a timber casement with rectangular leaded glazing under a timber lintel; the ground floor of this elevation is otherwise obscured by the later service rooms, which have a flat roof and continue from the sun room. The windows of the single-storey extensions are all C20 examples. The western elevation of the house was not accessible at the time of inspection, but appears to retain some evidence of the former timber frame to the first floor, which now has brick infill and some render. There is a timber casement window with rectangular leaded glazing to the ground floor.

INTERIOR: the principal entrance is through the main elevation into the modern porch, behind which is a C18 pegged doorway with a C18 flush-fielded door with later coloured glass inserted into the top panels. The rear door is a C19 plank and batten door, set within another C18 pegged doorframe, with moulding to the margins. The interior of the sun room extension into which this doorway emerged has C20 finishes, and its structure dates from this period, but it preserves in its interior the former southern and western corner of the external wall of the cross-wing. The through-passage has a terracotta tiled floor, and is open to the right to allow access to the stair, which is situated in the cross-wing, between the stack and the through-passage. There are two ground-floor rooms to the cross-wing, one either side of the stack. The kitchen, to the south, has an early flagstone floor, exposed ceiling beam and joists which are irregular in their scantling, and a wide fireplace opening under a chamfered timber bressumer supported on stone piers. The beams are broad and deep, without decoration. The fireplace has been modified by the insertion of a later partition to create a smaller opening. There is a small window, set in the former external wall, between the kitchen and the modern sun room, which is a single-light metal window with three panes and a diamond-set timber mullion. Beyond the stair, which is a steep flight with treads and risers, a door gives access to the dining room, which occupies the northern half of the wing. The room has exposed ceiling beams and joists, and a wide stone fireplace with a moulded four-centred arch, moulded spandrels, and chamfers to the lower part of the uprights. Above this is a timber bressumer, set high in the wall above a few courses of squared and coursed stone. Both the windows are stone with chamfered mullions. The stair gives access to the landing over the through-passage, with doors to the two bedrooms in the cross wing. One door is a C17 plank and batten example. Between the doorways, along the line of the passage, there is a close-studded timber screen with one later replacement upright, the others with large and clear carpenter's marks at the joints. Both first-floor rooms have exposed roof trusses which demonstrate extensive smoke blackening. There are also some exposed jowled wall posts and curved braces. The northern room has a fireplace with a very shallow three-centred arched stone lintel with a simple chamfer, set on very large stone uprights, which is earlier than the example in the dining room below. The fireplace is lined in brick. The western wall has exposed close upright studding indicating the survival of the timber frame to this section of the building. The roof of the cross wing has four visible trusses, between which the structure is formed from paired common rafters and single purlins, without a ridge-piece. The trusses vary in design. The southern room has a former closed truss to the south, with paired principal rafters, tie-beam, collar and queen posts, with upright studding above and below the collar, and an arched brace between the jowled wall-post and the tie beam. The truss to the north of this is an open truss, indicating that it was above the open hall before the wing was divided horizontally. It has paired principal rafters, an arch-braced, roughly four-centred-arched tie beam with queen posts to a similarly-arched collar. There are curved wind-braces between the purlins and principals. The roof of this room is complicated by the exposed common rafters of the earlier range, which adjoins it at right angles, and has undergone some modifications to accommodate the junction with the later wing. The northern room has two trusses: a mid-truss and an end truss. The mid-truss was also an open truss, above the open hall. It is a simple A-frame, paired principal rafters and a collar, with struts above the collar. There are curved wind braces between the purlin and principal on either side. The other exposed truss is an end truss, to the north end, of queen-post construction. The rooms have previously been ceiled at the level of the wall tops, and there are long, lateral beams with chamfers surviving along each room, with notches for joists.

The earlier range, running east-west, is accessed on the ground floor from the through-passage which forms its narrow, western bay. The range is divided into two rooms and the through-passage. The western room is the only heated room; its fireplace has a chamfered timber bressumer over, and has been narrowed from its original span, with the uprights rebuilt in squared and coursed stone. This has created a recess to the right-hand side. The ceiling of this room dates from the C17, and consists of a lateral and a transverse beam forming a cross; the beams are deeply-chamfered and have elaborate broach stops. There are exposed joists between the beams. The inner room, which might represent the service end of the former hall-house, is set at a slightly different level, indicating it was ceiled at a different date. The beams have shallow chamfers and are less regular than those in the adjoining room. The first floor of this range has a landing over the through-passage, and is divided into two rooms, with a bathroom set in the area to the rear of the stack. One room retains some wide floorboards. There is no evidence of the survival of the timber frame in the walls of this range, but parts of the roof evidently survive, though it is ceiled above the collars. There is an A-frame mid-truss whose tie-beam has been removed, and a collar. There is evidence in the purlins that there were formerly curved wind braces along the range. The remaining elements of the roof demonstrate good evidence of smoke-blackening.


Marston (later Priors Marston), along with its neighbour, Hardwick, was given in the C11 by Leofric, Earl of Mercia, to St Mary's Abbey (later the cathedral priory), the religious house he had founded in Coventry. Tenants including Thomas atte Hall are recorded in 1236, but they appear to have been tenants for terms of years only, as in 1242, Marston was part of the Prior's demesne; in 1279, there were 37 bond tenants. From 1316, the manor which probably equates to the settlement was known as Priors Marston. It remained in the possession of the monks until the Dissolution, after which it was granted to Sir Edmund Knightley, and thereafter descended in the Spencer family to the present Earl Spencer.

The house known as Gable End probably dates in two phases from the C14/C15 and the later C15, and thus must have been built during the period when the manor was in the ownership of St Mary's Abbey. The building is of some status and it cannot be ruled out that it might have had some connection to the priors. It appears to have begun as a three-room, open-hall house running east-west, perhaps in the C14 or early C15. Later, probably in the C15, a second open-hall range, orientated north-south was added to the western end of the existing range, forming a T-shaped plan, and partly enclosing the westernmost bay. Four bays of this later range survives, divided into two rooms; it is possible that the range was originally divided into three rooms. This range, though evidently remaining as an open hall for some time, given the extent of smoke blackening of the roof timbers, appears to have been ceiled over perhaps in the C16, to create a solar wing. A chimney was also inserted, with C16 and C17 fireplaces surviving. The earlier range was not divided horizontally until the C17, when a ceiling was inserted. In the same period, the formerly timber-framed house was largely encased in local ironstone rubble; there have been subsequent phases of partial refacing and rebuilding since that time. At the same time, several of the windows were changed to three-light, stone-mullioned examples with hood moulds. There was evidently a further phase of cosmetic change in the C18, from which period the doorways and entrance door date, together with some of the timber-framed windows with rectangular leading. Ordnance Survey mapping from the late C19 to the early C20 shows outbuildings attached to the south of the north-south range, since demolished; they have been replaced on part of their footprint by a flat-roofed, L-shaped, single-storey range added in the C20, though some remnants of the earlier building survives in the garden of the house. Work in the early C21 to repair the roof timbers also removed later ceilings from the first-floor rooms.

Reasons for Listing

Gable End, Priors Marston is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Date: the origins of both ranges, in the C14 and C15, means that the house is of demonstrably early date, which contributes to its claims to rarity and special historic interest;
* Architectural interest: the house is unusual in being formed from two late-medieval open-hall ranges set at right angles to each other, with timber-framed construction within a later stone refacing, and evidence of high-quality, early details;
* Evolution: the ranges demonstrate clear evidence of their evolution in the insertion of horizontal divisions and chimney stacks into the former open halls, illustrating social changes in the C16 and C17;
* Interior: the house retains internal features of quality in craftsmanship including a good C17 ceiling in the earlier range, two good C16 or C17 stone fireplaces and impressive C14 and C15 roof joinery, which has clear evidence of smoke-blackening.

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