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Latitude: 51.1498 / 51°8'59"N
Longitude: 0.7151 / 0°42'54"E
OS Eastings: 589989
OS Northings: 142457
OS Grid: TQ899424
Mapcode National: GBR QV5.TWG
Mapcode Global: VHKKK.BCWD
Entry Name: Crowbridge Cottage, Romden Road, Smarden
Listing Date: 2 February 2015
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1423264
Location: Smarden, Ashford, Kent, TN27
Civil Parish: Smarden
Traditional County: Kent
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent
An early C15 Wealden hall house, with a later C15 solar wing replacing the original solar, probably built by the Guldeford family. Following hurricane damage in 1987 the building was restored and re-erected on this new site circa 1998 with a linked C18 cottage from Willesborough, moved because of the High Speed Rail Link. The late C20 link block is not of special interest.
Early C15 Wealden hall house, with a later C15 solar wing replacing the original solar, probably built by the Guldeford family. Following hurricane damage in 1987 the building was restored and re-erected on this new site between 1999 and 2003, together with a linked C18 cottage from Willesborough, moved because of the High Speed Rail Link. The late C20 link block between the two structures is not of special interest.
MATERIALS: the hall house is timber-framed with rendered infill and a steeply pitched thatched roof. It has wooden window frames with diamond mullions. The cottage is of rendered brick with tile-hanging and a tiled roof with a brick chimneystack.
PLAN: the hall-house comprises an unequally spaced two-bay open hall with a cross passage between the hall, a two-storey single-bay service wing to the west, and a separately framed two-storey, two-bay solar wing to the east. The cottage is of two bays, the chimneystack heating two ground floor rooms, and with a catslide outshot to the west.
EXTERIOR: the north or entrance front of the hall-house has a jettied west service bay with curved down braces, and a two-light casement window on each floor. The recessed hall has curved braces, a midrail and an arched doorcase in the low end, with a C20 plank door, and two casement windows to each floor to the high end. The jettied east solar bay is close-studded, has two casement windows to each floor and a carved corner dragon-post. The east elevation is also jettied and close-studded with two casement windows to each floor, and there is a further carved dragon post at the south end. The south elevation of the eastern solar bay projects forward of the hall and is close-studded, jettied, and has two casement windows to the upper floor. The hall has a similar arrangement of a hall window as the north side. The remaining part of this side is mainly masked by a C20 link block. The west side is not jettied and has three curved down braces and two casement windows on each floor. A late C20 single storey link block leads to Crowbridge Cottage, which is tile hung over a rendered ground floor, with a tiled roof, a brick chimneystack and casement windows.
INTERIOR: the north entrance leads directly into the open hall which has a finely moulded and castellated dais beam at the high end. The arch braces and tie beam to the open hall truss have cavetto mouldings. The crown-post is of octagonal section with a moulded base and capital and four up braces. The other two square crown-posts have both up and down braces. The eaves plate and collar purlins have edge-halved scarfs with bridled abutments. The service wing has a ground floor partition dividing it into a buttery and pantry. The solar wing also has an open roof with an octagonal crown-post, and a cambered tie beam with similar mouldings to the earlier part of the building. The measured drawings by Canterbury Archaeological Trust show very sophisticated carpentry, including a double eaves plate assembly, edge-halved scarf joints with bridled abutments, a triple jowled post, a counter-bridled metre and a mitred bridle return. There is currently (2014) no information about interior fixtures of the C18 cottage.
The medieval hall-house was originally situated south-west of the later Romden Farmhouse in Romden Road and it was probably built by the Guldeford family who owned the surrounding area including Romden Castle between 1421 and 1509. It is probably of early C15 date, a timber-framed Wealden hall-house with a two-bay open hall and floored end bays. A larger solar cross-wing of two bays replaced the earlier solar bay in the late C15. An early C16 entrance on the principal front had one carved spandrel decorated with a Tudor rose and the other with the pomegranate, the emblem of either Katherine of Aragon or Mary Tudor.
After Romden Farmhouse was built on the opposite side of Romden Road in the late C17, the hall-house became uninhabited and was used as a farm building. The open hall and one ground floor room became a stable or cow house and a floor was inserted into the hall to provide a hayloft. In the C19 a hop kiln was constructed and it became an oast house. The walls were clad in weather boarding and the roof was covered in corrugated iron. It was listed at Grade II on October 10th 1980 as 'Timber- framed barn opposite Romden'.
In 1983 students from the Canterbury School of Architecture carried out a measured survey of the building with drawings. Following extensive damage during the October 1987 hurricane there was a application to dismantle, record, store for re-erection and re-construct the building. It was taken down in 1988; drawings were made by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust and the timbers marked and stored. Plans were submitted for its re-construction in February 1998 and the building was re-erected further to the north-east of its original site in Romden Road between 1999 and 2003. It is reported that the original rose and pomegranate spandrels to the entrance were retained by a previous owner. When re-erected it was linked to another re-located listed building, an C18 cottage originally situated in Boys Hall Road, Willesborough in Ashford District, but which had been dismantled during the construction of the High Speed Rail Link. A late C20 link block now (2014) joins the two buildings.
Crowbridge Cottage - incorporating Romden Hall House, an early C15 Wealden hall-house with a late C15 solar wing and the former 2, Boys Hall Road, Willesborough an C18 cottage, both re-located and both formerly listed at Grade II on their original sites - is recommended for statutory listing at Grade II for the following principal reasons;
* Regional and local characteristics: incorporates a fine quality Wealden hall-house built by a prominent local family, unusual because it never had an inserted chimneystack, and an C18 cottage built of local materials;
* Rarity of building type: Wealden houses are rare nationally and this is a good surviving example;
* Architectural quality: the hall house has a high quality oak frame with a wealth of skilled carpentry;
* Restoration: the thatched roof and wooden mullioned windows to the hall-house have been restored;
* Intactness: the hall house retains its original roof assembly with crown-posts, wall frame with down braces, jetties, close-studding, and dragon posts, a significant proportion of its original fabric and its original plan form, including the open hall. The C18 cottage appears externally little altered, retaining elements of its plan form.
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