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Historic England Research Records

The Hurdlands

Hob Uid: 1528939
Location :
Worcestershire
Wychavon
Hartlebury
Grid Ref : SO8412670888
Summary : A brick-built house with outbuildings which retains elements of sandstone and timber-framing visible within the exterior walls of the building. The complex consists of the two-storey house to the south and a roughly `L'-shaped group of outbuildings to the north. The buildings are situated on a sloping site where the southern end is at a higher level than the northern end. The house consists of a number of phases of rebuilding and remodelling with the earliest fabric comprising some post-medieval timber square framing possibly dating from the 17th century. This timber structure was subsequently extensively remodelled in brick during the late-18th century and early-19th century and has been further altered and renovated throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. To the north of the house are brick built outbuildings which date from the early-19th century with some fragmentary remains of earlier timber framing. The building was assessed for listing in 2010 but failed to meet the required criteria.
More information : The Hurdlands is a brick-built house which retains elements of sandstone and timber-framing visible within the exterior walls of the building. The house consists of a number of phases of rebuilding and remodelling with the earliest fabric comprising some post-medieval timber square framing possibly dating from the 17th century. This timber structure was subsequently extensively remodelled in brick during the late-18th century and early-19th century and has been further altered and renovated throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. These 20th century alterations include an internal renovation during the 1970s and a scheme of refenestration in the 1990s. To the north of the house are brick built outbuildings which date from the early-19th century with some fragmentary remains of earlier timber framing.

The Hurdlands is illustrated on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1884 as a square building with outbuildings to the north. The layout of these buildings remains constant throughout the subsequent historic maps and is consistent with the current form of the site.

This house and its associated outbuildings are predominantly brick-built but retain elements of both sandstone and timber construction. The complex consists of the two-storey house to the south and a roughly `L¿-shaped group of outbuildings to the north. The buildings are situated on a sloping site where the southern end is at a higher level than the northern end. This topographic position results in the sandstone foundations of the buildings being visible along its western elevation with the greatest expanse of sandstone walling evident within the western elevation of the most northerly outbuilding.

The principal façade of the house faces south and contains a central doorway with flanking windows on the ground and first floor and a window above the door. The windows are all modern uPVC and their irregular appearance suggests that the window openings have been subject to some alteration. The doorway retains a late-18th century raised and fielded panelled door with fanlight above and a doorcase with fluted pilasters and a dentiled pediment.

Within the north-western corner The Hurdlands retains
some square-framing at ground and first floor level. This fragmentary timber-framing has been infilled in brick and does not extend to the full height of the current building. Beneath this corner of the building it is also possible to access the sandstone cellar. This structure contains a number of historic features including a large chamfered beam within the ceiling and elements of carved stone, such as an arched doorhead and some mullions which appear to be reused and are not insitu. The house has a shallow slate pitched roof with dentils beneath the eaves.

Internally the building underwent a scheme of renovation in the 1970s which has removed many of the historic features. The Hurdlands does however retain some historic fixtures and fittings which appear to predominantly date to the 19th century. These features include some six-panelled raised and fielded doors within the ground floor, a decorated plaster cornice within one of the ground-floor rooms with an associated carved timber corner cupboard and a further cornice of dentil blocks within a first-floor bedroom. Some historic fireplaces have been retained within the bedrooms but many have been removed or replaced. Two of the rooms retain their sash boxes and timber shutters but these have been altered and the windows through the building have been replaced by modern uPVC.

Elements of timber-framing are visible on the interior of the building which correspond to that described on the exterior.

The brick-built outbuildings are situated to the north of the house and consist of a roughly `L¿- shaped range of one- and two-storey buildings. The two-storey outbuilding to the north retains fragments of timber-framing and contains a timber-framed hay-loft internally.

The Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (March 2010), state that buildings dating from before 1840 which survive close to their original condition are generally good candidates for listing. The general principles used are that before 1700, all buildings that contain a significant proportion of their original fabric are listed; from 1700 to 1840, most buildings are listed; and after 1840, progressively greater selection is necessary. The English Heritage Selection Guide for Domestic Buildings 1 (Vernacular) (2007) gives further guidance on the selection of such dwellings for designation: vernacular buildings in particular need to show evidence of their building history in the retention of their plan form, fabric, construction and decorative detail, and show a good degree of intactness.

The Hurdlands dates largely from the 18th and early 19th century; the evidence of the fabric is supported by the name of the site, which indicates that it was owned by Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester between 1781 and 1808, who lived at Hartlebury Castle, originally a fortified manor house begun in the 15th century, and altered subsequently.

There are sections of timber framing remaining to the north-eastern corner of the building, which are also visible in the interior, where there are two ceiling beams. The scantling and style of the beams and framing accord with a late-17th or early-18th century date for the timber-framed part of the building, but this is fragmentary, and represents only a small portion of the total fabric. The earliest remaining fabric in the building, in the sandstone-built cellar, may date from this period. It includes a chamfered and stopped beam which is characteristic of the later 17th century, and some stonework, particularly an arched doorway, which appears to date from the same period or earlier. However, some of the earlier stonework appears not to be in situ, and all appears to have been introduced from elsewhere; perhaps from Hartlebury Castle (AMIE / NMR number 116489 / SO 87 SW2), which was subject to drastic rebuilding in the late 17th century and again in the 1780s under Bishop Hurd. As the cellar runs under the remaining portion of the timber-framed house, the imported stonework may have been brought here at the time it was built. Although the re-used stonework provides an interesting insight into the history and development of the building, it is not of sufficient importance to contribute to claims to special interest.

It is evident that the timber-framed house was mostly removed and the house largely rebuilt on a larger footprint, and raised in height, in the later 18th or early 19th century. The principal appearance of the house is as a late-18th or early-19th century building, which evidently had some architectural pretension, in its stripped-down classical façade, with its dentil cornice and cast-iron fanlight. The heavy classical doorcase, on close examination, appears to be a much more recent addition, perhaps replacing an earlier example, but, given the plainness of the remainder of the exterior, might have been added in the 20th century, to aggrandise the appearance of the house. Though imposing, the house is fairly typical of its date and type, and even before later interventions, was not of great quality, but was competently designed and built. Unfortunately, the exterior has been dramatically altered by the addition of late-20th century uPVC windows, in unsympathetic styles, and in enlarged openings, damaging the integrity of the design and altering the proportions.

Internally, with the exception of the small, timber-framed section to the north-east, the building dates from the mid- to late-19th century. The stair is rather plain and not of particular quality, and there are some remaining elements of a decorative scheme which included panelled doors, door surrounds, some decorative cornices, and fireplaces. Unfortunately, as part of the general updating which appears to have been undertaken in the 1970s, much of the decorative scheme has been lost, and those parts which remain are fragmentary. While there are some good details here - including a fire surround with delicate cast iron decoration, some window shutters, and a corner cupboard with relief moulding - most of the work is standard for its date in design and quality. In addition, there have been significant losses, meaning that only one of the fireplaces is now intact, and all the rooms have lost some elements of their decorative scheme. There have in addition been some alterations to the plan form: an odd, narrow room has been created at the front of the house, perhaps reflecting the relative positions of the original and replacement front walls, associated with the rebuilding in the later 18th century or earlier 19th century, and there appears to have been some other reordering which means that the original layout is partly obscured, and the circulation has been altered.

Overall, therefore, the house does not retain sufficient early fabric, and is too much altered, to demonstrate the required level of special interest to merit listing.

The outbuildings, dating largely from the 19th century but with later alterations, similarly retain some earlier fabric, with evidence of timber framing in one. However, they are modest in their design, with nothing to distinguish them from their many peers. They date from several phases, and have undergone some significant alterations; the elements of the fabric which might have claims to interest, including parts of the roof structure, do not survive sufficiently intact. It is not possible to read their functions in the surviving fabric, and they are not of special interest in their construction. As a result, therefore, they do not add to the interest of the house, and do not meet the criteria for designation.

Given the level of later alteration, and the unremarkable nature of the design of the house, the buildings fall short of the degree of special interest which would be necessary to merit designation in the national context. They are, though, of clear local interest, making a positive contribution to the Conservation Area in which they stand, and which gives them an appropriate level of statutory protection. (1)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : English Heritage Listing File
Source details : Report on case 170049, in file 508300/001.
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Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : No List Case
External Cross Reference Number : 170049
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SO 87 SW 140
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 116489
Relationship type : General association

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