Saturday, 27 June 2015

Two sets of Tudor and Georgian
houses hidden away in Lichfield

Nos 45 and 47 Stowe Street … a surviving pair of Tudor cottages in the heart of Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

In my strolls around Lichfield this week, I came across two sets of houses that are architectural delights: a pair of houses in Stowe Street and four houses forming a hidden terrace at Lombard Gardens off Lombard Street.

No 45 and No 47 Stowe Street, like the neighbouring Cruck House, stand out from the surrounding 20th century housing developments in an area south of Stowe Pool and immediately east of the heart of Lichfield’s city centre and main shopping streets.

These semi-detached houses were probably built in the late 16th or early 17th century, and have early 19th century alterations.

This is a pair of Tudor timber-frame and brick houses. The timber-frame and brick work on No 47 is covered in stucco work, but despite this alteration to the outside appearance, the houses are best described as one unit.

The houses have a shared tile roof with brick stacks. They are two storeys high and form a single four-window range.

The left half, known as Tudor Cottage, has a pretty flower garden in front, and has an entrance to the right of centre with a 20th century door, surrounded this week by a flowering red rosebush. There are 20th century three-light casements, and close studding to the first floor with bracing.

The right half, with its woodwork painted in green, has bracketed eaves. The entrance is to the left end and has a doorcase with offset buttresses, a frieze and a brattished cornice. There are; panelled reveals and a pointed-panelled door with a nowy-headed lock plate.

The windows have sills, and label moulds over three-light windows of 2/4-pane sashes with Tudor heads. The window over the entrance is of two lights, the other two windows have three lights. The stack is to the rear of the ridge. The right return has timber framing that can be seen over the 20th century garage wing.

The brick rear wing has pebble-dash to the rear with a weather-boarded gable. The other wing has exposed timber-framing with a glazed lean-to and a stack to the side of the ridge.

I believe that inside the houses the timber framing is exposed and there is a large fireplace, but I was not cheeky enough to knock on the doors and ask to see inside … well, not this week, anyway.

Lombard Gardens is a terrace of four 19th century, Grade II listed houses (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

On way back into the centre of Lichfield, and only a few steps away at the bottom of Lombard Street, I noticed for the first time a pair of matching pillars covered in ivy. The one to the right had an inscription “Gardens”; I pulled the ivy back on the pillar to the left, to see the word “Lombard.”

Lombard Gardens is not a hidden public garden but a terrace of four 19th century, Grade II listed houses in a leafy, tree-lined cul-de-sac.

Nos 1, 2 and 3 Lombard Gardens were built in the early 19th century, and have later alterations. They are built in the Georgian style in brick, with a slate roof and with two brick cross-axial stacks and an end stack. This is a two-storey terrace with a six-window range: two to No 1, three to No 2, and one to No 3. There are plain eaves.

No 1 is a three-bedroom end of terrace house. It has a round-headed entrance the right of centre, a door-case with fluted pilaster strips, deep, a consoled, cornice and a fanlight with radial glazing bars over a six fielded-panel door. No 1 also has two ground floor windows to the left of the entrance, and one to the right.

No 2 Lombard Gardens has a similar entrance to the left of centre.

No 3 Lombard Gardens has a segmental-headed entrance to left with an over-light to a six-panel door. No 3 has a window to each floor, and the windows have sills, and brick flat arches over 12-pane sashes.

The rear of the houses have varied wings, including large 20th century additions.

No 4 Lombard House was built later in the mid-19th century. This is a two-storey brick house with a slate roof with coped gables and brick end stacks. It is gable facing, with the front to the left and a symmetrical three-window range. At the top there is a modillioned cornice. The entrance is a full-height canted bay with weather-boarding between the floors and a top cornice. There is an over-light to the half-glazed door. The windows have sills, all except those to bay with segmental heads, and all have plate glass horned sashes. The right return has narrow windows flanking a slightly projecting stack.

At the bottom of the path in front of the terrace of houses, a wooden gate under a leafy bough looks onto the grassy area around Stowe Pool. But the first-time visitor to this rustic hideaway it almost looks like its leading out into open countryside.

A wooden gate under a leafy bough at the end of Lombard Gardens looks like an invitation into open countryside (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

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