Johnson's Acre; exterior
Johnson's Acre: late ceiling abutting on jettied joists.
The original house was just over SO' long, with 4 bays. It has been modified in every century since it was built, without substantial detriment to he medieval frame. We are much indebted to the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. J. Packham, who have carried out comprehensive restoration, since they have been able to describe some features which have been changed or concealed and others whose significance might not have been readily apparent.
The house was constructed with three internal cruck frames, at slightly irregular intervals; the original east end is of post-
The central frame is flush with the back of the present hall chimney. If the original end of the living area of the house was at the same place, the hall occupied a bay of just under 14', beyond which was a service room of just over 10'. Above the service room was built a chamber16, whose floor joists were anchored in the cob wall to the east and jettied out into the hall to give added size (Plate Vllb). The end of the chamber next to the open hall is framed, with rod, wattle and daub filling, and a relevant detail is that after the present owner had rendered and white-
Half of the house lay west of the hall, giving a length of 20' after allowing for an entry, and whether or not the area was subdivided, we think it likely that the medieval use was much the same as it is today -
In the sixteenth century the hall fireplace was inserted, with a FHI hood and the hall was ceiled. A formal passage, with a stud-
In the seventeenth century, the house was extended at the east end. A parlour with fireplace was built, with a FH2 hood (now removed) and a chamber above. Other work helping to date the improvements was the use of beams with scroll stops in the parlour and the insertion of a three-
The front of the house is now of rubble, which may belong to this phase of development or may be earlier, the absence of a straight joint not being significant. At a time undetermined, the long distance from the entrance passage to the parlour was found inconvenient, since two-
The 18th century inventory mentioned above refers to this house, and it is reproduced as Appendix A.
This was the house for the largest copyhold, its 25 acres representing 30 by Somerset customary measure. The land was scattered, mostly in Stocklinch Magdalen but part in Ottersey, and nearly half, in the 1792 survey, was in the unenclosed fields. When the copyhold fell in, the land was redistributed, and for over a century the property has consisted of only house, garden and a small orchard. The house has been declining over many years, though one of us had the advantage of seeing part of it while it was still a home, with a snug living-
The central skeleton of the house has stayed unimpaired, in the form of two jointed cruck trusses, of a type more primitive than we have seen elsewhere. The upright members are deeper and more curved at the head than the usual form, which has a fairly precise transition from upright post to rafter. The first impression, in fact was of a well-
The principle of the original house plan was evidently the same as at Johnson's Acre, a living area east of the entry, storage to the west. The building being low, it is likely that there was not an original upper room, and that the living part comprised a hall and an inner chamber, both open to the roof. The building is wide enough for the inner part to have been subdivided.
Sixteenth century improvements were so extensive as to suggest a rise in status of the occupier, and also that the theoretically inferior copyhold tenure was no deterrent to the betterment of housing. The hall was developed by means of a fireplace, stone at the back and outer side, timber-
Tudor' outer doorframes are massive and (not the doors) are the only original ones which survive among the group of houses. Across the passage is a wall of rectangular timber framing, filled by horizontal rods and daub. The doorway through this leads to what was a spacious lower-
The result was an almost square room, with a coffered ceiling. This has 16 compartments, all with plain, deep chamfers, the central beams being larger, and cambered. On the side nearest the road was built a lateral fireplace, close to the passage, the stonework being integral with that of the outer wall; and the sole light for the room was next to the fireplace, from a window later extended to form a bay. Both front and rear walls were carried on a short distance beyond the end of the parlour, to provide a small store, accessible only from the outside. Between store and parlour is a framed partition, similar to that between parlour and passage. The 1792 survey mentions farm buildings, of which some foundations remain, and, should they have been built in the 16th century, there would be a reason for the reduction of storage space within the house.
No clear conclusion can be reached about the front wall. The whole wall is now of stone, but it would be hard to say whether part is original or the whole belongs to the 16th century improvements. The back wall of the original living end of the house is of cob, while that enclosing the parlour is of stone.
The reduction of standing of the property in the 19th century is reflected in the house. Out-
iii. Brakes Cottage.
This building was classified as a house, not a cottage, in the 1792 survey. There is no documentation about its occupants save a name at that date; and all that can be said is that the tenure was copyhold, including an acre of garden and orchard, the same area as now. Remaining structural elements in their original position are few, since the roof was raised when the house was modern-
The modernisation of the house was relatively late, a FH2 hood over the fireplace being the criterion. The fireplace occupies almost half of the width of the house, one side being the outer stone wall and the back and the other side being of stone. The wooden lintel is unusually high, the underside being almost 7' above the floor and resting on stout posts. The spacing of the studs is such that the rods can only be horizontal. The top coincides with the roof apex, as raised. An axial ceiling beam, chamfered, has a crude form of 'Wern-
The chamber at the east end is now a service-
The houses discussed above are part of the group in Stoney Lane. In the other two, later work is more dominant, and it is convenient to leave them until after dealing with houses elsewhere in the village. Of these, Mannings is in the main street, just north of Stocklinch Magdalen church, and if there was ever a demesne farm, the site is appropriate for the farmhouse. There is no direct evidence, but the farm was occupied in the 18th and 19th centuries by members of the leading families of Magdalen parish; its acreage was larger than others, almost 40 acres, and of these 8 were meadow, to the cast of the farmyard. The farmhouse, however, is not significantly different in size from others formerly associated with the Ilchester Almshouse Trust. It was sold in the year after our first examination, and we owe a particular debt to the new owner, Mr. R. J. Prince, for allowing us to share in the discovery of features which lay concealed behind plaster and wallpaper.
The building contains more of the features outlined in part 11 than any other. The roof construction, so far as traced, is intact. At each end is a characteristic post-
Mannings; detail of post-
Internally, there are three bays of approximately 11' 6'. The first is marked by a jointed cruck frame, originally open, and the next by a post-
Mannings; inner frame of smoke-
The original plan of the house is not certain. If the front wall is original as is supposed, the front doorway, with another opposed to it at the back of the house, will be in its original site. The area to the north is bisected by the open cruck frame, but was presumably partitioned unequally, as at Brakes Cottage, to provide for an inner chamber. Next to the passage, there has been recent rebuilding, including the construction of a fireplace whose brick flue is applied to the wall, and all that one can say is that it is probable that there was a hearth at the same place, as in other houses. If so, it is likely to have been succeeded by a fireplace of modest size, the main work being done in the kitchen, where the hearth area was large.
Mannings; FH2 (left) inside smoke-
Modernisation appears to have been done fairly late in the 16th century, to judge by ceiling beam stops and a firehood inside the smoke bay. This hood came to light dramatically, after a small experimental hole had been made in the plaster of a bedroom wall. More was visible later after Mr. Prince had made openings at two other points, but space was too confined for close examination to be possible. As far as could be judged, the type was FH2. The south side of the former smoke bay, i.e. against the end wall and gable is heavily encrusted by a tarry deposit, showing that it was in use for a substantial time, but the hood within has retained its clean surface of mud and plaster (Plate Vllc). The hood is, carried by the cob wall at the back, while on the kitchen side it springs from a lintel which stretches from one side of the room to the other. The lintel is presumed to rest on a pier against the front wall; a second pier is well over halfway across the room; and the end of the lintel is halved into one of the posts which carried the smoke bay. The sides of the hood rise from near the front wall and from the intermediate pier. The area enclosed is substantially greater than we have noted for other FH2 hoods.
Mannings; partition with horizontal
rods and beam with keeled stops over.
Other work of the period included framed partitions on either side of the entry (now mostly replaced by recent brick, save for the head beams), and another under the jointed cruck. The last is well preserved, and recent removal of the daub and exterior plaster shows that the frame consists of studs morticed into head and sill beams, at convenient intervals for insertion of horizontal rods to carry the daub. There is a doorway between the hall and the inner room, which remained unheated. In the inner room, a ceiling beam runs from side to side of the house, while one in the hall is axial, carried on the partitions, and a little off centre, as though it were brought to the side of a fireplace. In both rooms the ceiling beams are carefully chamfered, and finished with keeled stops (Plate Vllld). The upper rooms are low, lighted now by dormer windows, and the original light may have come principally from an end window at the north end. This was created by cutting away the filling between two of the studs and inserting a mullion (now gone), the frame thus made being marked by chamfering round the edges. The staircase is modern, but in the site where it would be expected, whether a newel stair or a ladder, parallel with the fireplace.
At the back of the house, at the kitchen end, is an outshut, to which a date cannot be readily assigned. The original wall and plinth were removed, with the curious result of leaving a post of the smoke-
v. Underhill Farmhouse.
This is the building mentioned earlier as lying among Ottersey property, along Owl Street. It is so near the manor house and the church that it may have been the predecessor of the present Manor farm house; at any rate, it formed part of the Manor farm property at the time of the 1839 tithe survey. The house is introduced at this point since it has features in common with Mannings and may help towards interpreting part of that building. The axis is almost northeast-
The original structure was of three bays, or, since the south wall has been completely rebuilt and has none of the characteristics found in other houses, possibly four, the south one having gone. In the visible building the bays are marked, approximately equally, by two jointed-
In the sixteenth century, the south area was storeyed over, the ceiling being framed, with six compartments, steeply chamfered as at Crockers (111 ii) and The Chantry (111 vi). A fireplace was built, with back and sides of stone; on these and the lintel, which is concealed, was built a FHI hood. The front of the fireplace coincides with a cruck frame and the back is on the entry. The doorway from the entry is on the west side of the fireplace, and on the other side were stairs, now removed but shown to have been there by a small loop window cut in a block of stone. The entry was made into a formal passage by a stud-
On the north side of the house, a single-
vi. The Chantry.
The building was the farmhouse of a property whose descent is well documented, back to the time when it was a copyhold over 24 acres (customary measure). Early in the 18th century, without change of occupier, the copyhold was replaced by a 99 year lease, determinable by lives, and this system still continued when the Stocklinch Magdalen tithe survey was made in 1845. The 1792 survey for the Almshouse Trust shows an equivalent area, 20 statute acres. Most of the land was in closes, not strips, but was scattered over the parish, chiefly in Middle, East and Tunway Fields (the last being adjacent to West Field). With the tenure of the property went the obligation of feeding the representatives of the Bailiff and Burgesses of Ilchester when they visited Stocklinch, with;
"a good and sufficient dinner of boyled or roasted ffiesh and other necessary eatables for the steward and 4 or 5 other men at the most and small beer for them to drink, with stabling and hay for their horses, the sd. Bailiff and Burgesses allowing 10s. for every such dinner and entertainrnent"21.
The size of one of the rooms to be described may account for the attachment of the obligation to this house.
The house is in Stoney Lane, opposite to those already described and higher up, on a flat area in rising ground. The upper end of the house is at the west, and the whole of the original timber structure west of what is now the cross-
The next bay is unusually long for Somerset, over 16', and ends with a jointed-
New work in the 16th century may have been earlier than in some of the other houses, since above the fireplace built in the hall is a FH I hood. The front of this has been but away to form an alcove, but it has been preserved above the bedroom ceiling height, and the proportions of the panels at the side can be seen clearly. Under the hood, the back of the fireplace and the side next to the way into the hall are of stone. Beyond the doorway was made a stone newel stair; a few steps remain in a cupboard under the modern replacement. A framed ceiling, with nine compartments, was constructed over the hall, from side to side of the house. The chamfers are deep and the finish good. The stonework of both the front and the back of the house appears to belong to this period, since it incorporates three early timber-
The roof of this new area begins surprisingly with a truss only a few inches away from the jointed cruck, and therefore still over the west side of the cross-
A staircase, now removed but marked by the loop window mentioned above, led down by the side of the fireplace to a long room below. In this room, the side next to the cross-
The presence of the bread-
This building, below Crockers in Stoney Lane, was markedly smaller than the others described, if one disregards later additions. Nevertheless, it was described as a 'house' in the 1792 survey. There was half an acre of garden and a 3 acre field, close by but separated. Earlier 18th century lessees occupied other, Ottersey, land, but not of great extent.
The house has been much changed in the course of modernisation, and without the benefit of recollection and record in the village, we might easily have left it out of the group being described. The plan was difficult to recognise because of outshuts, of the absence of a front door-
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