The North Street front has the appearance of an early 19th-century building with its painted plaster and its ﬁve sash windows. The roof is tiled and has two small dormers. The ridge of the roof has an _obvious join, which indicates that an extension to this part of the building was made at some time.
In spite of this appearance, the North Street section is part of a cross-wing of a medieval house, most probably a farmhouse standing on land stretching back behind the High Street.
In the plans (Fig. 1), the arrangement of the cross-passage is shown. It is possible that the rear section was the buttery, dairy or some other service rooms with bedchambers above. This passage would have had doors into the hall, which would have extended to the post ‘A’ on the plan. From that point, there would have been the ‘solar’ or with-drawing room for the owner. Later, the hall was ceiled over and other bedchambers created.
The old part may be best seen at the rear in Park Street. See south elevation (Fig. 2). From this drawing it will be seen that the North Street wall has been set back and the first-ﬂoor jettied. The timbers indicated were seen when the old ‘Lord Roberts’ public house adjoining was demolished to make a service road for the High Street shops. From the evidence of the roof, it would appear that the rear section has been shortened. Of the dotted line of a door, see below.
A passage under the adjoining house (No. 14) leads into a courtyard known as Knott’s Square, giving access to three cottages. Here the north wall of No. 16 may be seen (Fig. 3). The large window at the lower level is the site of the door to the cross-passage referred to above. The type of wall-framing illustrated was usually prefabricated in the carpenter’s yard, the timbers numbered, the joints cut, taken apart and reassembled on the site. The frame was then reared manually or by block and tackle. To maintain the frame in position props were inserted into notches. Two such notches may be seen here.
Footnote: A controversy arose some years ago over this building. At a Public Inquiry, the Inspector ruled in favour of the Kent County Council, who wished to have the building demolished for road widening. The Minister for the Environment, however, over-ruled the decision and this interesting building ‘was saved, largely by the persistence of the tenant, the late Mr. H. L. Gibbs, supported by the Ashford Civic Society.
Briscall W., 1987, Discovering Ashford’s Old Buildings, Ashford, LRB Historical Publications
Date first listed: 18-Jun-1971
- 5344 NORTH STREET (East Side) No 14 TR 0142 NW 1/76 18.6.71. II GV
- A timber-framed building refronted in the C18 but with framing visible in the north wall at the back. 2 storeys and attics stuccoed. 2 dormers. Tiled roof with modillion eaves cornice. 5 sashes with verticals only. Modern shop front. Wrought iron shop bracket. The side elevation is partially tile hung. The rear elevation has a half-hipped roof and loading doors. C19 2 storeys red brick extension to rear.
Nos 14-32 (even) form a group.
Listing NGR: TR0106842892