ASHOW HOUSES

Ashow has a fine collection of houses including several which are timber-framed. Trinity Cottage is the oldest, and is of cruck truss construction. In this very early form of building, pairs of timbers, or crucks, are pinned at one end and are angled in the shape of an inverted ‘V’. A number of these trusses are then erected, normally about twelve feet apart, and are linked at the apex with a ridge beam. It is around this framework that the walls and roof are constructed. The resulting house is rectangular and of simple plan. The principal rooms normally occupy the whole of the space, or bay, between a pair of trusses.

Trinity Cottage is a four bay cruck truss house and dates from 1464-75. The facing of the front and gable walls with brick some two hundred years ago conceals much of the constructional detail, although the cruck blades, tie beams and wall plates are visible in the rear elevation.

The otherĀ  timber-framed houses are of post and tie-beam construction. The basic design consists of vertical posts at the corners joined at the top by tie-beams, which span the width of the building, and wall-plates, along the lengths. This forms a box framework which is filled in with wattle and daub or bricks to make the walls. In turn, these support the roof. Grovewood is believed to date originally from the middle of the sixteenth century, although it was rebuilt in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth centuries. At the time of Thomas Bryan’s occupancy in the 1640s it comprised a hall, chamber, upper chamber, buttery and workshop. The present two-bay cottage, of which only the west and (concealed) north walls are of any great age, is thought to correspond to the original hall (which was open to the roof) and the upper and lower chambers.

Three other properties are similarly of post and tie-beam construction. Part of the front section of Fir Tree Cottage dates from the sixteenth century, and is possibly as early as 1500; the remainder is believed to be early seventeenth century. Roseland is also thought to be an early seventeenth century building. Avon Cottage can be dated with some precision as it is first mentioned in the rental lists of the Stoneleigh Estate for 1721. It is substantially unaltered and so provides a useful insight into the way in which agricultural workers in the village were housed in the early eighteenth century. Church House, numbers 2 to 6 Main Street (‘The Long Row’), and number 15/16 Main Street all have extensive timber ornamentation but this does not form part of the load-bearing structure. They date from 1973/4 when they were built, using reclaimed materials, to replace previous timber-framed cottages.

One Comment:

  1. anne.langley1@btinternet.com

    Dear David, I am creating a talk using some 1900s photos of a trip down the river Avon (with modern photos for comparison). 3 of the photos are of Ashow (the footbridge is easy, but I’m having some difficulty trying to identify the cottages). I think one photo is of the Long Row (and so am very interested in the details above). The other is the house top left in the photos above; I decided this might be the house on the right near the church which has had the end wall rebuilt thus hiding the timber framing (but which does show up in the 1900 photo). I’m not sure which this is in your description above. The photos are copyright of the County Record Office but I think I could send a copy to you to help us identify them correctly. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Anne Langley (a volunteer at the County Record Office)

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