Building record BSE 463 - 18 Eastgate Street

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16th C Timber frame building, Grade II listed.


Grid reference Centred TL 8589 6447 (16m by 12m)
Map sheet TL86SE


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

No. 18 lies on the northern side of Eastgate Street flanking an important medieval approach to Bury St Edmunds. Listed at grade II its timber-framed and rendered structure lies at the western end of a jettied terrace with a gap to the west that opens onto a recently built housing estate. The adjoining property on the east, no. 19 Eastgate Street, is currently a convenience store. Much of the timber frame was exposed internally at the time of inspection allowing an accurate reconstruction of the building’s original layout. It forms a rare and exceptionally well preserved small urban ‘two-cell’ tenement of the late-16th century, extending to just 20.5 ft in total length (6.2 m) and containing a hall to the right and an undivided parlour or possibly a shop to the left. Most unusually the hall was entered by a cross-passage between these two rooms, adjoining the high-end bench for which the dowel holes are still visible. It was heated by a fine lateral fireplace that was blocked in the 19th century but retains its original timber lintel and jambs of re-used stone from the nearby Abbey. The back of this fireplace was removed in the 20th century but could be readily rebuilt. A first-floor fireplace with reddled brick piers immediately above was partly destroyed along with the upper section of the chimney to accommodate a dormer window during an unsympathetic refurbishment of the 1970s. Other significant features include an area of roughcast external daub to the rear wall and a particularly rare western gable that consists almost entirely of ‘cob’ (clay, chalk and straw) in a local medieval tradition that should not be confused with the clay lump that first appeared in the 18th century. This gable is suffering from water ingress above a decayed tie-beam exacerbated by modern cement render and is in urgent need of remedial action. The building’s unusual room plan represents an historically important transitional form between the medieval cross-passage and the lobby entrance of the 17th century. A much rebuilt lean-to extension projects from the rear wall along with a 19th century brick shed, and while these structures are too depleted to be of historic interest in themselves they protect key elements of the original building such as its chimney and external render; in addition they probably occupy the site of a contemporary service wing of which archaeological evidence may survive below ground (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2014. Heritage Asset Assessment: 18 Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.

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Record last edited

May 24 2018 11:41AM

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