Building record 0192700000 - CASTLE HOUSE, WEST STREET


Early fifteenth century house with seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century alterations and restoration, used as the borough council offices from 1964 to 1978.

Protected Status/Designation

  • Listed Building (I) 1282698: CASTLE HOUSE


Type and Period (5)

  • HOUSE (15th Century to Modern - 1400 AD to 1999 AD) + Sci.Date
  • (Alternate Type) TIMBER FRAMED HOUSE (15th Century - 1400 AD to 1499 AD)
  • (Alternate Type) FIRST FLOOR HALL HOUSE (15th Century - 1400 AD to 1499 AD)
  • TOWN HOUSE (18th Century - 1700 AD to 1799 AD)
  • TOWN HALL (Modern - 1964 AD to 1978 AD)


Dimensions - Length 0027 m Width 0008
Grade I. Large town house. Main range of 1708, late C15 wings to rear either side of open court. Both wings altered c1623; left (west) wing restored and altered 1881 by E Swinfen Harris. Other early C19 and C20 alterations. Main range of red brick in Flemish bond with limestone dressings, hipped plain-tile roofs, brick ridge stacks. West wing of coursed limestone rubble to ground floor with limestone dressings and timber-framed 1st floor, all now rendered, and plain-tile roof; east wing of similar construction, also rendered. U-plan 8-window front range of 2 storeys and attic with 2:4:2 composition. Pair of moulded stone doorcases to centre joined by continuous plain frieze and moulded cornice, each with segmental pediments, which meet in the middle. Left doorcase frames 6-panel door and large overlight with ornamental glazing bar pattern of central horizontal oval and 8 radiating spokes. Right doorcase frames 12-pane sash window with moulded stone sill. Similar sashes to ground and first floors with moulded stone sills and surrounds. 2 bays either end of front break forward to form shallow wings and have raised quoins to angles. Wave-moulded limestone plinth, one stone step to door, stone storey band and wood modillion eaves. Centre is pedimented; rubbed brick pediment framed by wood modillioned slopes. Centre has group of 3 roof dormers, the middle one with segmental pediment, those either side with hipped roofs. Wings each have a central gabled roof dormer. All have 2-light leaded casements. Symmetrical stacks have wave-moulded stone coping to bases and tall brick flues with stone corner strips and hollow-chamfered stone cornices. West wing has been partly rebuilt in brick with wood mullion and transom window to ground and 1st floors on garden side. Rest has similar windows to 1st floor and pair of 2-light Perpendicular windows to ground floor of stone with straight heads, transoms, cinquefoil-headed main lights, secondary trefoil-headed lights to head and hoodmoulds. Pair of 2-light stone mullion cellar windows, that to left with arched heads to lights. C19 two-storey canted bay window to gable end with impressed decoration to render above ground-floor windows and datestone above inscribed 1623/L/WM. 2-storey corridor extension to court side. East wing is narrower and survives more complete. Irregular glazing to garden side of wood mullion and transom windows, 16 and 20-pane sashes to 1st floor and 3 gabled roof dormers with 2-light leaded casements. Lower two- and single-storey extensions to gable end. Datestone to court side very similar to that on west wing. INTERIOR: main range has staircase hall with open-well stair, slender turned balusters of columns on bulbous feet, column newels, carved tread ends and ramped handrail, swept up where it meets newels; pilastered and panelled dado. Dining room to west of hall has painted deal fielded panelling with segmental-arched recesses above cupboards either side of chimneybreast. Eared wood chimneypiece with egg-and-dart ornament and overmantel panel with similar ornament and swan's neck pediment framing reused plaster panel of Cupid and Psyche. Study to east of hall has late C18 painted wood and composition chimneypiece. First floor sitting room has fielded panelling. Main bedroom has reused C17 panelling with strapwork ornament to top row. West range appear to have originally consisted of a large ground floor room over a cellar and 1st-floor hall; both rooms have been reduced by at least one bay. To ground floor the Drawing Room, formerly Great Parlour, has many-moulded cross beam ceiling with wall posts, hollow-chamfered arch braces to tie-beams and cusped tracery to spandrels. Post and braces rest on moulded oak corbels. Original windows have chamfered oak lintels with heart stops. Chimneypiece is a C19 composite affair, incorporating old woodwork. It has Salamonic half-columns flanking fireplace bearing 2-tiered overmantel, the lower tier divided in three with central panel inscribed ANNO 1619/ WL ML, the upper tier probably a Jacobean bedroom overmantel with paired columns and twin round-arched headed panels with strapwork. Distinctive late C19 woodwork to doors, bay window etc designed by E Swinfen Harris. Bedroom above at bay window end has C17 panelling with strapwork ornament to top row and fireplace with Jacobean overmantel, which has vine trail to columns which frame 2 round arch-headed panels. Former open hall roof survives in attic substantially intact, with 3 surviving trusses. 2 main trusses have double hollow-chamfered arch-braced and cambered tie beams with queen posts to principal cambered collar and to secondary collar. Posts frame arch-bracing to collars, multi-foiled to upper collars and meeting in an ogee arch. Arch-braced collar truss to lower end, probably marking position of screen, has foiled bracing to secondary collar. 2 tiers of clasped, wind-braced purlins. Most members hollow-chamfered. Principal collars have been cut to give access to attic room. Moulded wall-post to roof visible on 1st floor court side, where a tension brace is also exposed. East range survives largely complete. It evidently consisted of a large ground-floor room over a stone cellar, and 2 chambers to 1st floor, one much larger than the other and with open timber roof. Cellar has small rectangular stone windows, now blocked, in deeply splayed bays, to court side and spine beam. Ground-floor room has chamfered cross beam ceiling of 3 bays and large open fireplace with cambered bressumer. 1st floor has blocked ovolo-moulded wood mullion and transom window to court side and is divided unequally by original framed partition with Tudor-arched doorway beside courtyard wall and braced central post. Original open roof in attic has tie beam trusses with queen posts to cambered collars and remains of arch-bracing between posts. Original closed truss to gable end survives in later, possibly C17 extension to that end. C18 front range probably replaces original solar wing. A Tudor-arched stone doorway, double wave-moulded, by gable end of west range on court side leading to parlour suggests that no substantial original north range has been lost and no evidence for one was found in recent renovation. HISTORICAL NOTE: Castle House was residence of the Bartons from late C14, then of the Fowlers from mid C15 till 1590. William Fowler, MP for Buckingham in 1467 and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who died in 1477 may have been the client for the C15 house. The Lambards were owners in the early C17 when important alterations were made; the initials on the datestones are those of William and Mary Lambard. The front range was rebuilt for Matthias Rogers, who succeeded to the property in 1706. (Victoria County Histories: Buckinghamshire: London: 1928-: 484-5; Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Buckinghamshire: London: 1960-: 76)(B7).
Tree ring dating carried out in July 2007 by Oxford Dendrchronology Lab on Medieval roof timbers of the west wing produced felling dates in the winters of 1405/6 and 1406/7 suggesting a construction date of 1407 or possibly a year or two after. See report for detail (B11, B12).

Sources (15)

  • ---SBC21392 Aerial Photograph: Mike Farley (BCM). 1992. Oblique AP by Mike Farley taken 1992. SP69523388. Yes.
  • ---SBC21394 Aerial Photograph: Mike Farley. 1992. 1992 oblique AP by Mike Farley. SP69443370. Yes.
  • ---SBC21397 Aerial Photograph: Aerofilms. 1973. Aerofilms oblique AP. SP69533392. Yes.
  • <1>SBC16733 Bibliographic reference: WILLIS B 1755 HISTORY & ANTIQUITIES-- OF BUCKINGHA M PP51-53.
  • <2>SBC7650 Bibliographic reference: LIPSCOMB 2 PP568-571.
  • <3>SBC14384 Bibliographic reference: SHEAHAN PP232-3.
  • <4>SBC15797 Bibliographic reference: VCH BUCKS 3 PP474-5; 484-5.
  • <5>SBC13137 Bibliographic reference: RCHM BUCKS 2 PP76-7.
  • <6>SBC10398 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1959. OS 1959 6-INCH MAP (1:10560). 1:10,560.
  • <7>SBC23498 Bibliographic reference: Department of National Heritage (DNH). 1994. LIST OF BUILDINGS OF SPECIAL ARCHITECTURAL OR HISTORIC INTEREST: BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: BOROUGH OF BUCKINGHAM. pp159-161.
  • <8>SBC22901 Bibliographic reference: Julian Hunt and John Clarke. 2007. Castle House, Buckingham.
  • <9>SBC19002 Unpublished document: Buckinghamshire County Museum Archaeological Service. 1998. Historic Parks and Gardens Register Review.
  • <10>SBC10010 Map: O.S. 6 INCH (1:10560) MAP 1ST EDITION (1876/83).
  • <11>SBC22951 Unpublished document: Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory. 2007. The Tree-Ring Dating of Timbers from Castle House, West Street, Buckingham.
  • <12>SBC22686 Digital archive: Vernacular Architecture Group. 2000 onwards. Vernacular Architecture Group: Dendrochronology Database. VA vol 39 p132.


Grid reference SP 6940 3401 (point)
Civil Parish BUCKINGHAM, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • Event - Survey: Site visit (EBC1357)
  • Event - Intervention: Tree-ring dating (EBC16864)

Record last edited

May 7 2015 1:07PM

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