is a medium-sized town house of 3-room plan, 2 1/2 storeys high with evidence
that it dates originally from around 1600. It underwent extensive alterations
at the end of the 17th century with further work in the second half of the 18th
century and the period 1825-45.
The building is situated on a wedge-shaped plot with steeply
rising ground towards the rear. It is above flood levels of the river Avon and
on the site next south of No. 5 St Margaret's Street, a fine detached house of
early 18th century date with a passageway between it and Shrapnell House. Jones
'The Parish of Bradford-on-Avon' describes the medieval Hospital of St. Margaret,
an almshouse and chapel, mentioned in a deed of 1458/9 and a will of 1490, as
being in this area 'at the foot of the bridge' but without quoting his reason
for placing it there. Roger Mawby believes it is more likely to have been further
south in houses called The Catch, leased as a workhouse in 1754.
House faces a little S of W, taken as W in this report. A gothic-arched doorway
leads to a passage between the house and No. 5 (photograph
F1387.8). The area of the passage formerly belonged to Shrapnell House but
was sold to No. 5 during the 20th century (information from the owner).
N. gable of Shrapnell House is of rubble stone all of one build. It is much thinner
than the other external walls. There is a blocked 3-light ogee-moulded mullioned
window to the attic.
The facade (F1387.9) has a plinth at the foot of the wall
but whether its capping was moulded is not discernible because of repairs. It
is constructed of rubble with a concrete render. The main face of the wall is
of ashlar stone. There are string courses above the 3 levels of window. The windows
of the top two floors have ogee-moulded mullions. On the ground floor these have
been replaced by gothic-arched windows with margin lights coloured orange, green
and blue (colour photographs P18036
and P18037). Some white
figured glass remains in the spandrels of the arches. At the S end of the facade
there are single light windows on the ground and first floors lighting a staircase.
The two matching gothic porches have moulded archways, (see sheet of drawings).
are coloured lights above the doors. The doors are 4-panelled with heavy mouldings.
No. 7 has a brass number with brass knocker and letter box. Between the front
doors is a window which is probably the site of the original entrance door. This
window has pinky red squares in the bottom corners where the others have green.
thickness of the front wall of the house is not easy to determine because of alterations.
On the N side of the No. 6 entry it appears to be 23" but has probably been
cut back. On the S. side of the No. 7 doorway it is 27". The front roof slope
has stone tiles.
The rear roof has triple Roman tiles. There is a large gable
for the roof of the rear stairs and the central stack in one block (F1391.5A).
A smaller gable marks the position of the NE stack. A short pent roof covers the
rear corridor between the rear room at the N end and the long rear wing at the
yard and garden
Two doors from the rear corridor give access to the rear
yard (F1391.6A). Close to the door which is in line with the short stair from
the central room, 2 ashlar stone blocks in the wall of the rear wing have some
inscriptions (F1391.16A). The lower stone has a cluster of 9 interlocking circles,
the initials EH, and a capital E above a larger T. Above the E partly on this
stone and partly on the stone above is a larger scribed circle with rays inside
it. The circles may be a variety of the usual good luck symbols widely found on
houses dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
A window in
the centre of the ground floor of the rear range was formerly longer. The range
an ashlar front wall and a pantiled roof (F1391.7A and F1391.8A).
stone boundary wall on the N side of the yard may remain from a previous rear
extension (F1391.ISA). An ammonite is set into it (F1391.4A). There is an alcove
perhaps constructed from a former doorway, closed up when the passageway was sold
to No. 5. The alcove has brick alterations and battens at the sides. There are
nails on one to support tools.
Stone winder steps lead up from the yard to
the garden above. On the S side there is a coal shed constructed of ashlar stone
(F1391.9A). The wall on the N side of the garden at this level is well-built and
of squared coursed rubble stone. Close to the top there are two straight joints
indicating a former gateway (F1391.ll A).
in the NE corner of the top garden
The top section of the garden was formerly
a separate property. Only the N and E walls, which are also boundary walls, of
a former building remain (F1391.10A). In the N wall there are 3 blocked openings
with timber lintels and a timber lacing piece between two of them. At a higher
level there are 2 straight joints with quoin stones suggesting perhaps a shorter
wall here once. Round the corner the E wall has a blocked fireplace and a chimney
stack above (F1391.12A). The fireplace looks no earlier than late 18th century
in date. To its S there is a blocked doorway. Further S the wall is set in a little
and further again there is a straight joint with quoins each side.
building on the W side of the top area.
This has a single pitch pantiled
roof (F1391.13 A). The N wall shows several builds (F1391.14A). It was probably
a lower building before, perhaps a pigsty. There is a blocked window or low door
with a timber lintel in this wall. There is also a partly blocked tiny opening
at a higher level, also having a timber lintel. The E (front) wall is much rebuilt.
The original wall seems to have been made of coursed, squared rubble stone which
is visible at the foot of the wall and by the doorway. This might be of late 18th
century date. There is mortar containing burnt cinders (of probably 19th century
date) around an opening blocked with large ashlar stones. The roof has a tiebeam
across near the door. It is a re-used timber with joist mortices and a medium
chamfer. A single purlin runs from the S end and rests on a block on the tiebeam.
It is a very old decayed timber with mortices and pegholes. It might have once
been a principal rafter with mortices for a purlin with a soffit spur and for
Building to its S
This is constructed of large ashlar stone.
It has a flat roof. The windows have been made
Main house. Ground
N. front room
This is panelled on the W and N walls and
on the E section of the S wall. It is in large panels
with the dado rails gone.
There are 3 planks per panel with quadrant moulding around them,
the corners (F1391.1A). The lower row of panels has the same moulding. On the
wall the 2 central panels and on the reveal of the N side of the window there
is the shadow of a
floral design in a diamond pattern, possibly from wallpaper
formerly on top (F13 87.13 and
At the top of the walls there
is a moulded wooden cornice, rather stuck up with paint (see sheet
and photographs P18034 and
The E wall has
a central fireplace with a cupboard each side (F 13 87.10). The N cupboard has
glazed door at the top of later type than the lower door. It formerly had
3 shelves inside, now
gone but battens remain. Portions of the original curved
timber back of the cupboard survive to
the rear of a later flat planked back
(F1387.12). Behind the cupboard
is a deep alcove alongside
the stack, twice as deep as the depth of the cupboard.
At the back of it is the original outside
wall of the house. In the ceiling
of the cupboard a beam runs E/W with medium chamfers. The
walls appear to have
plaster painted blue originally.
The lower part of the cupboard has a brass-handled
door. Its panel has the same moulding as the
paneling in the room.
has a shelf on scrolled brackets. It has a plain wood surround with blocks at
foot. Inside is an iron horseshoe grate of perhaps c. 1860. The trap to
the chimney and the basket
have gone. There is a large hearth stone, cracked.
Looking up the chimney there is a very large
flue behind the fireplace. The
stack is of rubble stone and forward of the original outside wall.
has narrow panels each side with a wide central area which perhaps held a mirror
The right cupboard also formerly had 3 shelves. There
is again a glass door at the top but the
bottom is solid with no door. The
cupboard backs on to a large cupboard off the N wall of the
N room floor is of narrow planks. The S wall at the door end is constructed of
plaster. The panelling comes W about 46" from the E wall and
behind it is an ashlar stone wall.
A beam runs E/W just
inside the N wall of the room. It has a 4" chamfer with a stop at the E end
small shallow step, bar and runout?). The cupboard into the area behind the right
the N room has a flagstone floor. It was perhaps a passage?
fireplace is on the E wall. The cupboard to the left of it has tongue and groove
the back. This was perhaps another passage. The fireplace has a
flat arch and some iron fittings
in the rear wall. It may have had a hobgrate
which has gone. The chimney shows the fireplace
was originally deeper.
beam runs to near the right end of the stack from over the N side of the central
It has a 4" chamfer and no stops.
To the right of the
stack is a cupboard under the staircase. Its right wall is constructed of ashlar
There is a further beam close to the wall with the S room.
the N room this has the appearance of a parlour, however, it is likely to have
originated as a kitchen. A beam runs N/S into the centre of the stack (F1387.14).
It has stops at the S end (rounded step, bar and runout). Panelling is only left
on the E wall to the S comprising a 48"long section of lath and plaster wall.
There is a hatch in it showing the floor of the room to the rear is 44" higher
than the S. room floor. The former exterior wall here is perhaps 30" thick
but is either panelled or has a lath and plaster skin on the W side. There were
probably steps up to the rear room here once. The panelling has 2 plain planks
per panel in a surround with a quadrant moulding.
The room has traces of blue
paint under later paints. The cupboard to the left of the fireplace in the S wall
has glass doors of 19th century type. The lower part of the cupboard has a small
The fireplace has a painted, grey stone surround elaborately
patterned, with a central Vitruvian scroll pattern and has borders at the top
and bottom of further decoration (see photographs P18035
and F1387.15 and drawing).
The surround has a flat head. The iron grate inside is also flat headed with a
possibly bolection moulding surrounded by grey tiles. There are also grey tiles
in the hearth and a wooden shelf of 19th century type above. The chimney is much
deeper inside. The cupboard to the right of the stack is similar to the left one.
To the right again, in the corner, is a newel staircase with squared flagstones
beneath it. The depth of the stack as measured in the staircase area is 4'.
room at the N end
A short flight of stairs with a moulded hand rail each
side leads from the rear of the central room to an area with a flat roof behind
the N and central rooms. In it the original exterior wall is visible behind the
N end of the N room and the main central stack wall protrudes next to it. The
exterior wall has a number of anomalies (Fl 391.2A and drawing).
Vertical straight joints probably relate to the insertion of the N room stack.
Was there also perhaps a window here at one time? Also the lower part of the wall
in the NE corner appears to be of different construction from the upper part which
may indicate it was a plinth.
To the S of this there is a cupboard area in
the former central stack. It has an upwards curving side wall which may well be
looking from the back at the throat of the chimney for the original fireplace
here. The stack appears to have a very soft original mortar which may be loam
(mud mortar) with hair in it. It also seems to have had a mud rendering containing
straw over it.
Through the N ashlar wall of this rear area, there is a doorway
blocked also with ashlar stone which would have led into the side passage N of
the house in the period before this was sold to the adjoining Liberal Club (No.
The E wall of this area is of rubble stone roughly squared and appears
to pre-date the flat roof (F1391.15 A). At the S end attached to it was a 'cupboard'
of ashlar stone which was a larder before the present works started but may have
once been a privy. It has a tiny window in its S wall towards the yard (F1391.3A).
to rear of S room
There is a long wing behind the S room. The first room
from the main house has a floor of irregular flagstones. There is a fireplace
with a squared opening in the S wall of the room. It might have accommodated a
small range in the 19th century. It is constructed of roughly squared stones and
there is a wooden shelf above. The N wall of the room is narrow, the S wall may
be that of the adjoining house. A window at the E end of the front N wall has
finely moulded glazing bars. There is a sash window further W over a sink. On
the E wall there are shelves with shaped end boards of pine which are probably
the top part of a dresser.
An ashlar stone partition divides off a further
small room to the E. There are various anomalies in its walls. Alteration in the
SW comer may indicate the former position of a copper. There is replacement brickwork
at the bottom of the wall and a straight joint next to it in the S wall.
winder staircase in the first room leads to the first floor of the range. At the
top of the stair there is a simple slatted balustrade. There is a blocked doorway
in the S wall at the top of the stairs. A blocked small window next to it has
its lintel above the stairs and about 15" above first floor level. The S
room has a possible taking-in door in the N wall not far from the staircase turret
of the main house.
Over the fireplace on the ground floor there is a blocked
first floor fireplace with a flat stone lintel. The stack at this level has a
rounded W end. It is not particularly deep. The window in the N wall is a small
sash of 2 x 4 panes with moulded glazing bars. It has a brass closer but no longer
opens. The shallow roof of the range was glimpsed. It did not look very old and
had a board ridge piece.
First floor of the main range
A 2-panel door with deep applied mouldings of bolection type leads
into the room (F13 87.17 and
drawing). The front wall of the room measures 22" to the glass and about
5" beyond. A beam over the S end of the N window in the W wall runs E/W.
It has no stops. Another beam against the N wall has a bar and scroll stop. The
fireplace on the E wall has a bolection-moulded surround (F1387.16
and drawing). Inside is
a horseshoe grate complete with basket and chimney trap (P18040).
the interior there appears to be a straight joint in the NW corner between the
N end wall and the front wall. There might be a blocked doorway in the N wall.
A 2 panel door of 18th century type leads into the room. There
is a gas fitting with a shade on the S side of the door. Over the doorway is a
borrowed light window in 4 panes with moulded glazing bars (P18038).
A beam runs over the partition on the N side of the room and continues over the
doorway into the N. room.
The window mullions are ogee-moulded
on the inside as well as the outside. A beam runs E/W. It has a wide chamfer and
no stops. There is also a beam above the partition on the N side of the room.
The fireplace in the S wall contains a hobgrate (Pl8039).
Higher up the throat of the chimney widens. A door from the room to the room in
the rear extension (at a higher level) was formerly a window.
to the attic
This is a dog leg stair. The newel post is square with scratch
mouldings and a flattened ball finial
A similar newel post survives from the ground to first floor stair but the balusters
handrail of that stair have been lost. At the top of the stair three plain rails
run from the
newel post to the S side wall (F1387.21).
the E wall there is a single-light ogee-moulded window lighting the attic stair.
The E wall is
probably 24" thick. It measures 18" to the glass. Panelling
of wide boards runs along next to theN side of the upper flight. There are moulded
edges to 2 planks. One of them, moulded on both sides, has a scratched protection
mark M written on its side (see drawing).
The attic rooms are
ceiled almost at the tops of the collars. At the S end, at the top of the kitchen
stair, there is an 18th century door in 2 large panels with an additional small
panel at the top. A shelf in the upper stair window has original mouldings to
the edge. The trusses in the attic rooms are covered with paint and plaster so
it is difficult to see all mortices. The upper part of the roof can be reached
from a hatch in the ceiling of the N attic room. The upper area is cramped and
not easy to move around in. No carpenter's marks were recorded though they were
From the S end, truss A
Its centre is about 51"
from the kitchen stack. Lower purlins run S from it (F1387.20).
The E one is supported on a strut against the stack (F1387.23). The W one runs
to the wall S of the kitchen stair. This wall has an unexplained 'jetty' out about
16" from the lower wall at about the level of the 1st floor ceiling (F1387.22).
A pre-existing wall (belonging to the adjoining house?) may have been thinned
on ground and first floor levels to provide a wide stair. The W upper purlin is
just visible over the stair (the ceiling is higher than in the attic rooms). In
the upper roof the upper purlin on the E side is seen to be at a lower level.
Truss A has the purlins tenoned into the principal rafters. The purlins do not
have soffit spurs. In the bay between trusses A and B they run at a raised level
past the dormer window at the front of the house (F1387.20)
and a similar blank recess at the rear. The common rafters on the W side are only
above the lower purlin. They are hidden on the E side. The truss has vertical
struts from the tiebeam (under the floor) to support it at the lower purlin position
and has a slightly cambered tenoned collar, chamfered both sides.
On the E
side of a partition dividing the S attic room from the main stair area there is
another gas light fitting by the entrance door and another round the corner facing
S with no shade (F1387.19).
This is situated at the S side of the rear attic staircase and has (or
had) straight windbraces of
small scantling on each side (F1387.19).
They rise from above the strut. The principal rafters
include sapwood and bark
in places at the apex and could therefore probably be dated by
This is at the N side of the rear attic staircase. The principal rafters
are quite massive and the ridge piece is threaded through the uppermost principal.
There is a board attached to the N side just below the apex (F1387.24A).
This truss also has timbers with sapwood and bark.
A 3 plank door leads into
the N attic room. In bay C/D the upper purlin has the common rafters pegged to
This runs into the NE stack. The principal rafters are
yoked below the apex with smaller timbers
forming the apex. The ridge piece
is clasped just below the apex resting partly on a small piece
of timber nailed
on the N side to these extensions of the principal rafters (F1391.0A). A large
is nailed on the S side. The common rafters are fairly broad and pegged to the
In the bay between trusses D and E the upper purlin on the
E side is at a lower level but there is a half-length purlin continuing the raised
level lower purlin in the bay to its S (between trusses C and D) across the parlour
stack and an empty mortice for it in the end N. truss E. To this half-length purlin
are attached the valley pieces for the parlour stack. There are pegs in holes
in the lower purlin here for rafters which have been removed when the stack was
This is situated rather awkwardly against the N wall
of the house. Its collar curves just over the attic window in the N wall and one
end is more embedded in the N wall than the other. It has a tenoned apex with
a threaded ridge piece (F1387.24).
On the E principal rafter there is a blocked former mortice for a higher level
upper purlin to match the one between trusses C and D but the common rafters are
pegged to the current upper purlin with no sign of earlier holes. Probably the
rafters were replaced when the stack was added.
There is another gas light
fittingon the N end wall of the N attic room.
of the dateable features
I am grateful to Linda Hall for her advice
on dated examples in other counties. I have also used
her book 'Fixtures and
Fittings in Dated Houses'.
The threaded apex type is in common use in Wiltshire
from the early 16th century to the early 17th century with occasional later examples.
The narrow straight windbraces mostly date, in houses, from the late 16th to the
early 17th centuries. The vertical struts to the principal rafters and the raising
of the purlins past dormer gables are found in late 16th and early 17th century
houses. In all the roof seems likely to date from the 1580-1620 period.
The raised dormer gables, standing up from the roof and with
kneelers, are characteristic of the
late 17th and very early 18th centuries
3. Wall thickness
Both front and rear original walls are
about 27"-28" thick. This is a typical thickness locally for the late
16th-early 17th centuries. The rear staircase outer wall is 24" thick, more
typical of the rest of the 17th century.
4. Ogee-moulded mullions
are very common in North and West Wiltshire. Examples usually date from the end
of the 17th century to the mid 18th century. In other counties examples have been
found from the period 1602-1678 but they may differ slightly. A very similar moulding
of 1698 has been recorded in Gloucestershire.
5. Rear staircase
rather squat turned balusters are likely to date from the late 17th century, the
handrail can be paralleled by a 1698 Wiltshire example. The newel post with its
flattened bun finial can be compared to other examples of c. 1680-1700.
The first floor N. room bolection-moulded fireplace can be compared
to identical mouldings of 1678 (Gloucestershire) and 1692 (Hants).
floor S room fireplace; the carved motif in the outer moulding is similar to a
published example of 1751. The carved motif on the inner moulding is shown on
a 1739 fireplace design by William Jones and on a doorcase of about 1770. The
central motif, the Vitruvian scroll is also shown on a 1739 William Jones design
and apparently was also favoured by Adam. So a date around 1740-70 is likely.
first floor S room hobgrate has an identical design to one at my own house, 11
Place, Bradford-on-Avon which dates to the 1838-41 period.
horseshoe grate inserts in the N. ground floor and first floor rooms is of c.
The applied raised moulding to the door into
the first floor N. room is similar to an example of
1698 in Gloucestershire.
The beams have a medium depth of chamfer. Some have no stops. Three
have as follows; shallow step/bar/runout, rounded step/bar/runout and bar/scroll.
They are likely to date from the early 17th century.
9. Gothic features
has been suggested that the twin porches and the associated side gateway and ground
floor windows date from the division of the property into two in 1825. This is
possible but another possibility is that the building was divided then but the
ornamental alterations took place a bit later. They are perhaps more characteristic
of the 1840s and by 1851 Henry Fricker, plumber, glazier and decorator was the
tenant of No. 6 and from at least 1840 William Long, a mason, was tenant of No.
7. The coloured glass in gothic settings would be a fine advertisement for their
combined skills. The first floor hobgrate in No. 7 is also of around this date.
Cornicer N room, ground floor
Very similar ones but more complex have been
recorded from 1692, Hampshire. The panelling
looks to be a similar date.
1 ~ c.1600
The main range appears to date from about the period
1600-1620. The evidence for this is the thickness of the exterior walls, the carpentry
of the roof which is all one build and the beam stops. The roof is a type used
with early gable dormers and these would be much larger than the present dormers.
The original plan seems to have been a kitchen at the S end with a newel stair
adjoining and a beam running N/S. Any further original partitioning of the ground
floor is not easy to determine and the remaining beams run E/W without mortices
in the soffits for studs. The large lateral stack at the rear has been much altered
over the years but it straddles the central room and the N room (see reconstruction
drawing). There were first floor and attic rooms. There were no rear extensions.
the original building was a house, it had a heated kitchen and staircase at the
S end, with perhaps a cross passage and a large hall. However, it is not convincing
as a house plan and I wonder if it was a public building, perhaps a school. There
are similarities with the 1651 Jenner's School at Cricklade and the 1668 schoolroom
at the Hungerford Almshouses, Corsham. The only hint that Bradford had a school
somewhere in the 17th century comes from a letter of inquiry sent in 1672 to a
school in the town (K. Berry 'Bradford on Avon's Schools' page 19).
2 ~ c.1690
This is the period of the ogee-moulded mullioned windows
and is likely to have been in the 1690s. The rear staircase turret was attached
to the lateral hall stack and alterations were made to the roof where the stair
reached the attic rooms. The front of the building was remodelled, and probably
refaced, with dormers standing up from the roof. The N wall of the building was
rebuilt because the old building adjoining had been demolished. The N wall was
rebuilt square with the front and rear walls of the house whereas the old wall
was at an angle. The NE stack to heat the parlour and the room above it were also
added and the ground floor parlour was panelled.
Between 1689 and 1698 the
owner Zachariah Shrapnell, a clothier, is known to have redeveloped lands in the
immediate area which he probably held freehold. He is the most likely person to
have carried out these alterations.
Phase3 ~ c.1750
the second half of the 18th century the kitchen (S. room) was turned into another
the kitchen functions were probably removed to a rear wing. The
panelling in the room was
perhaps brought from elsewhere in the house.
1924 map shows the N yard wall to be one side of a building but as it is gone
it is impossible
to say when this building was added or what its function was.
As there was a baker as tenant of
No. 6 from 1807-1818 he may have had a bakehouse.
He was followed there by Richard
Carpenter, another baker.
The long rear
wing at the S end in its present form is more likely to date from the first half
19th century but there may have been a building there before. It may
have been rebuilt by
William Long who lived in No. 7 by 1840 and was a mason.
N wall of the upper garden appears also to date from the late 18th century.
4 ~ c.1850
19th century. The fireplace of the central room was made
smaller, probably to provide a kitchen for No. 6 when the house was divided in
1825. It is a pity that the tithe map and later maps do not show the porches as
this would date them more closely. As.suggested above they may belong to the period
when Henry Flicker and William Long were there.
A map of 1970 shows the building in the NE corner having
a glass roof at the back and a solid roof on the W side. Mrs Bancroft, a resident
of No. 6 in the early 20th century, described two houses in the back garden, one
a dangerous ruin and the other in reasonable condition with a room downstairs
and one upstairs. The upper part of the garden has a separate number from the
main house on the 1841 tithe award and access was from the lane behind. At this
time and at other times in the 19th century the rate books give 4 tenants in the
plot. It was probably a separate plot from before the 19th century. main house
on the 1841 tithe award and access was from the lane behind. At this time and
at other times in the 19th century the rate books give 4 tenants in the plot.
It was probably a separate plot from before the 19th century.
be a wish to date the first phase of the building more closely by tree-ring analysis,
several of the roof trusses, if they are of oak, would prove suitable as they
have some sapwood and bark attached.
RMSlocombe. Wiltshire Buildings Record.
28.10.2002,30.10.2002,11.11.2002,29.11.2002, and 6.1 2003
information used is mainly from the research of Roger Mawby and Neil Mattingly.