Although numbered individually, these comprise one building facing Middle Row and date from the late 15th century or early 16th century. Originally it was a timber-framed inn known at some time as the ‘Six Bells’. The period during which it was an inn is unclear and it is doubtful whether the Parish Church had six bells until the following century.
There are a medley of shopfronts at ground level, some modern, some Victorian.
The whole of the range above is close studded, although most is not original; the original studding is underneath that seen today.
The roof is hipped and tiled with two dormer windows, a later innovation. Note also the large loft door and hoist, inserted when the building was given over to a commercial use.
In the 18th century a three storey house was built onto the rear of Nos. 53 and 55. Although this brick- built structure is not within the arbitrary date scale of this book it has features of interest worth noting, such as the balcony ironwork, the entrance doorway and the brickwork.
The ground ﬂoor of No. 55 has chamfered ceiling beams and a four-centred arch doorway with plain undecorated spandrels. This was probably the outer doorway leading into the garden space now occupied by the Georgian brick building. On the cross wall to No. 53 is a very large fireplace with some moulding to the Tudor bressummer. The position of this fireplace is interesting as it was an integral part of the house at the time of its building and therefore an early example. Many such fires have been placed on a side outer wall; others even placed in the cross-passage.
In the attic of No. 55 is a fine specimen of a crown- post (Fig. 1).
This consists of No. 55 which was the main living room, then No. 53 which is 10 ft. wide and the original cross-passage, with No. 51 the service quarters. Behind No. 51 an additional building was erected in the 18th century.
Briscall W., 1987, Discovering Ashford’s Old Buildings, Ashford, LRB Historical Publications
List Entry on Historic England
Date first listed: 24-Sep-1951
- 5344 HIGH STREET (South Side) Nos 51 to 55 (odd) TR 0142 NW 1/8 24.9.51. II* GV 2. Together with Church Gates, The Churchyard. The range facing Middle Row is C15 to C16 timber framed with close-studding to Nos 53 and 55, plastered to No 51. 2 storeys and attics. Hipped tiled roof with 2 gabled dormers. 6 windows and a loft door with hoist. Sashes with glazing bars intact and one smalI bay of 3 lights. Ground floor has modern shop fronts but at the north-west corner of No 55 are good curved glazed double doors to the shop, placed in a reeded architrave surround. Nos 53 and 55 have exposed beams. No 55 having chamfered edges and also a 4 centred doorway with blank spandrels. To the rear of Nos 53 and 55 is an C18 house of higher elevation facing the Churchyard called Church Gates. 3 storeys red brick. Hipped tiled roof with wooden modillion eaves cornice. 4 windows, several of them modern and a C19 cast iron balcony added on the 1st floor. Doorcase in moulded architrave surround with projecting cornice supported on consoles, low rectangular fanlight and 6-panelled moulded door. To the rear of No 51 is an C18 building of 2 storeys stuccoed. Hipped tiled roof with 1 hipped dormer. 1 sash with glazing bars intact. Shop front to ground floor. Plain recessed doorcases.
Nos 51 to 61 (odd), 61A, 63 to 67 (odd), 67A, 69 to 71 (odd). 75 and the rear part of 75 form a group with all items in The Churchyard.
Listing NGR: TR0105142770