Farmstead record ETT 041 - Farmstead: Rookery Farm, Manor Road

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Summary

Rookery Farm is a farmstead visible on the 1st Ed Os map. The farmstead is laid out in a regular courtyard full-plan with an additional L-plan elements detached and set away from the main yard. The farmhouse is detached and set side on to the yard. The farmstead sits alongside a public road in a loose farmstead cluster. There has been a significant loss of working buildings with only a single barn remaining.

Location

Grid reference Centred TM 0447 4748 (59m by 101m)
Map sheet TM04NW
Civil Parish ELMSETT, BABERGH, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (7)

Full Description

Rookery Farm is a farmstead visible on the 1st Ed Os map. The farmstead is laid out in a regular courtyard full-plan with an additional L-plan elements detached and set away from the main yard. The farmhouse is detached and set side on to the yard. The farmstead sits alongside a public road in a loose farmstead cluster. There has been a significant loss of working buildings with only a single barn remaining. (S2-5)

Recorded as part of the Farmsteads in the Suffolk Countryside Project. This is a purely desk-based study and no site visits were undertaken. These records are not intended to be a definitive assessment of these buildings. Dating reflects their presence at a point in time on historic maps and there is potential for earlier origins to buildings and farmsteads. This project highlights a potential need for a more in depth field study of farmstead to gather more specific age data.

The site consists of a grade II-listed former farmhouse dating in part from the early-16th century and a timber-framed and weatherboarded threshing barn of similar age approximately 30 m to the north. The house was built as a high-status structure with oriel windows, roll-moulded mullions and a continuous jetty that faced a small courtyard formed in part by the present barn and in part by a second barn shown on the 1842 tithe map and an aerial photograph of the 1980s. This was believed to date from the same period as the house but according to the East Anglian Daily Times was sold in 1987 and re-erected in America as the Rocky Mountain retreat of former US Secretary of State John Kerry. At first sight the remaining barn could easily be mistaken for a jumble of re-used timber, but close inspection reveals a complete late-medieval structure of four equal bays – albeit much altered. Its roof was rebuilt for its present cladding of corrugated iron in the mid-20th century, and at the same time its walls were reduced in height by one metre. This remarkable operation was evidently accomplished without dismantling the frame as many of the original studs contain consistent trenches for missing external wall braces, and later nailed internal braces of the 18th or early-19th century remain in situ. Approximately fifty per cent of the original framing survives in the reduced walls, along with narrower 18th century studs and an unusually well preserved gault-brick threshing floor of the same period.

Despite its loss of height the barn is of similar age to the house and is therefore of considerable historic interest, both as a fully recognisable structure in its own right and because it illustrates the layout of an early-16th century farmstead. Many Tudor farms of this status are known from early maps to have possessed fully enclosed yards or ‘base courts’ in front of their respective houses, often with central gatehouses in the style of French manoirs, but even fragmentary examples are now rare in Britain. The barn’s slightly offset position strongly suggests a gate adjoined its gable immediately opposite the domestic cross-passage with a stable range on the east (S1).

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2018. Heritage Asset Assessment: Barn at Rookery Farm, Elmsett.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Campbell, G., and McSorley, G. 2019. SCCAS: Farmsteads in the Suffolk Countryside Project.
  • <S3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1880s. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 1st edition.
  • <S4> Map: Ordnance Survey. c 1904. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 2nd edition. 25".
  • <S5> Vertical Aerial Photograph: various. Google Earth.

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Protected Status/Designation

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Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jan 5 2021 5:03AM

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