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Name:Site of a post-medieval cruck house, 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick
HER Ref:MLE20894
Parish:Whitwick, North West Leicestershire, Leicestershire
Grid Reference:SK 4358 1608
Map:Coming soon

Monument Types

  • CRUCK HOUSE (Early Post-medieval to Modern - 1620 AD to 2014 AD)
  • WELL (Early Post-medieval to Late Post-medieval - 1620 AD? to 1899 AD?)
  • CELLAR (Late Post-medieval - 1701 AD? to 1899 AD?)

Summary

A Level 2 survey of the building here in 2013 demonstrated that the structure contained the remains of a three-bay cruck-framed house. Portions of the two trusses towards the south-east end of the building had survived. The building was further recorded during its demolition in 2014. The crucks were incorporated into the new Co-op building. Excavation in 2015 observed various remains including a stone-lined well and a cellar behind the building.

Additional Information

<1> Finn, Neil, 2013, Level 2 Historic Building Survey, nos. 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick (Unpublished document). SLE4075.

The building today is a two-storey structure with rendered walls and a plain clay tiled roof. The building was extensively altered in the C20th when it was converted to a social club (it was first used for this purpose in 1920). Previous to this, part of the building was a public house called 'The Beaumont Arms', which opened in c.1830 and was closed in 1913. It then became a pawn shop, then a social club (though to begin with only no. 7 was used as the social club, with an outfitters at no. 5).
A stone plinth is partly exposed in the north-west gable end, and a very large stone towards the rear of this plinth may be a pad stone on which a timber frame was raised. The wall dividing the lounge from the entrance passage corresponds with an early cross-wall and elements of a cruck frame are preserved within it. Further parts of this cruck are preserved on the first floor. A second cross-frame is partially preserved within the south-east gable end wall of the building. The only other early fabric identified at ground floor level is a transverse beam embedded in a wall in the gents toilets - the remains of an early first floor frame.
The arrangement of first floor rooms appears to reflect the earlier structural divisions of the cruck-framed building, indicating that it was a three-bay structure, defined by four trusses. Elements of the two trusses towards the south-east end of the building have survived (as described above), though the others have been removed. The apexes of the two remaining trusses can be seen in the roof space. It is possible that further elements of the building survive beneath later wall coverings and the thick external render.


<2> Bradwell, Stephen & Finn, Neil, 2015, Level 3 Historic Building Survey, at nos. 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick, Leicestershire (Unpublished document). SLE5408.

The building was recorded during demolition in 2014. The crucks were saved and incorporated into the Co-op - the footprint of the building is marked onto the car park in contrasting paving. The building measured c.14.8m long and 6m wide and was originally divided into three structural bays by four trusses. Bays II and III may have been roughly c.4.5m, whilst Bay I was longer at c.5.2m. The building had a conventional cross-passage plan with a central hall (Bay II), a parlour at the north-west end (Bay III) and a service room at the south-eastern end, separated from the hall by a cross-passage. Front and rear doors would have been located at either end of the cross-passage. The central hall was open to the rafters and appears to have been heated by an open hearth, evidenced by smoke blackening of the truss T2 timbers. There was a first floor room above the service end and cross-passage.
Truss T1 was a closed truss forming the south-east wall of the building - an unmatched pair of cruck blades. Stave holes in the underside of the saddle and collar provided evidence of infill panels. Truss T2 was also an unmatched pair of cruck blades, with an apex described as a 'curious variant of the Type C apex form'. The cruck blades and carefully chamfered and the timbers were smoke blackened. Scribed carpenter's marks were present including the Roman numeral II along with plumb-and-level marks. There were about a dozen burn marks on the north-east cruck frame, made by a burning taper; these may have been applied as a form of ritual protection. Two timbers above the collar in Truss T2 were re-used - one may have been from Truss T3 or T4. Neither of these trusses remained in situ due to various works in the C18th/C19th. Similarly little of the wall frame survived since the front elevation was rebuilt in brick in the C18th/C19th and further altered in the C20th. A fragment survived to the rear. Tree-ring dating gave felling dates of 1620 for the crucks, though the T1 kingpost had a felling date of 1471-1496 and as such was apparently re-used from an earlier building. A date of 1620 makes this the latest firmly dated cruck in Leicestershire.
The building was a public house from 1834 to 1914 (The Beaumont Arms). It is not clear when the building was subdivided, but each of the three bays had its own separate entrance in the late C19th. Bay I had a shop front. It became the Whitwick Working Men's Labour Club & Institute in 1920, with Hillier & Sons Outfitters within Bay I of the building. The thatched roof was replaced after a roof fire destroyed another thatched building on the opposite side of Skinners Lane in 1938. The Club closed in the early 1980s and Hillier's shop was closed some time after that. In 1985 Willie Thorne opened a snooker club on the premises, at which time various alterations were made to the structure, including the removal of the shops fronts, removal of walls and chimneystack, etc. The snooker club closed in 1994. The building was taken down in September 2014.


<3> Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, 2015, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 89, Vol 89 (2015), p314 (Journal). SLE5218.

The watching brief during the dismantling of the cruck-framed building, and building recording, was included in Transactions.


<4> Vernacular Architecture Group, 2015, Cruck Database (Digital archive). SLE5194.

Building use: D (domestic)
Number of cruck trusses: 2
Cruck type: C (true cruck)
Type of cruck apex: C (blades held by a saddle or yoke carrying only a ridge-piece (usually but not necessarily square-set)) F1 (blades held by a saddle (sometimes very low) carrying a short king-post possibly with braces)
Materials of original structure: T (timber-framed, including brick nogging, etc)
Personal information source: NJF (Neil Finn)
Year added: 2014
(Information from VAG Cruck Database, 'http://dx.doi.org/10.5284/1031497', accessed 20/12/2016.)


<5> Bradwell, Stephen & Finn, Neil, 2016, Archaeological excavation at nos. 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick, Leicestershire (Unpublished document). SLE5409.

Excavation on site took place in 2015. A series of wall foundations were observed, made of granite and mortar. Corresponding with the line of cruck Truss T2 was a brick footing of C18th/earlier C19th date. A pad stone for a cruck blade was noted on the corner of Market Place and Skinners Lane. A roughly shaped granite fragment here appears to have acted as a guard stone to prevent damage from the wheels of passing vehicles. A patchy layer of small pebbles was the remnant of a floor surface or makeup/levelling for a floor within the south-east bay of the building. Just outside the building, adjacent to the inferred position of the rear door, was a substantial stone-lined well. To the rear of the building at its north-east end, against Skinners Lane, was a small infilled cellar. This measured approximately 2.5m by 2.1m internally and was constructed from bricks of C18th/early C19th date.

Sources

<1>Unpublished document: Finn, Neil. 2013. Level 2 Historic Building Survey, nos. 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick.
<2>Unpublished document: Bradwell, Stephen & Finn, Neil. 2015. Level 3 Historic Building Survey, at nos. 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick, Leicestershire.
<3>Journal: Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. 2015. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 89. Vol 89 (2015), p314.
<4>Digital archive: Vernacular Architecture Group. 2015. Cruck Database.
<5>Unpublished document: Bradwell, Stephen & Finn, Neil. 2016. Archaeological excavation at nos. 5-7, Market Place, Whitwick, Leicestershire.

Associated Finds

    None recorded

Designations

  • EUS Historic Urban Character Area HUCA48: Whitwick historic core