Building record CLA 127 - Half Moon House, 2 High Street

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15th century inn


Grid reference Centred TL 7693 4526 (35m by 20m)
Map sheet TL74NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Half Moon House dates from the early-15th century and appears to have formed part of a large medieval inn called the Moon that extended to the corner of Nethergate Street and belonged in the 16th century to a local gild which used its profits for community projects. The status of this inn is indicated by a fine oriel window at 1 High Street next door which bore what were probably the royal arms. Clare castle on the opposite side of Nethergate Street was effectively a royal residence for much of the 14th and 15th centuries and would have required accommodation for visitors of the highest rank and their entourages – both inside and outside its walls. The Moon had become the Half Moon Inn by 1669 when it was named along with the nearby Swan in the will of William Cadge who issued trade tokens in 1655 bearing the symbol of a crescent moon (i.e. a half moon). The property was a commercial hotel until the mid-20th century when it became an antique shop and then an auctioneer’s office before being converted into sheltered accommodation in 2003. This conversion involved the insertion of much dry-lining and new partitions which have largely obscured the building’s historic layout and fabric, but a number of nationally important features survive. These include one of the finest medieval chimneys in Britain, consisting chiefly of flint and roofing tile rather than brick and preserving an exceptionally high quality stone fireplace with a crenellated hood on the first floor. Any evidence of a ground-floor fireplace is hidden by dry-lining but the medieval cellar contains a unique original fireplace built entirely of tile with chamfered stone jambs and a timber lintel. This had remained completely unaltered since the 15th century until large holes were punched through it to accommodate the flues of central heating boilers. There is evidence of an original cellar window with closely-spaced diamond mullions that lay immediately beneath a large shop front on the ground floor, and two early-15th century roof structures with four hollow-moulded crown-posts survive above. These roofs were initially aligned at right-angles to the street, forming a pair of adjoining cross-wings to the left of the facade, but their gables were replaced with the present parallel roof as part of a major refurbishment in the 19th century. The framing to the right of the modern street door is almost completely hidden but this part of the building appears to have been completely rebuilt in the 17th century or later and the slate-roofed brick wing to the rear dates only from the mid-19th century. The latter included a small gallery supported by iron columns but this was much altered in the 20th century and obscured by a large Mock Georgian extension in 2003. The property’s listing description includes an 18th century staircase which in fact appears to be a late-Victorian or Edwardian copy but does not mention the fireplaces or other 15th century survivals (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2017. Historic Building Survey: Half Moon House, 2 High Street, Clare.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Sep 13 2019 10:35AM

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