(Georgian to Late 20th Century - 1800 AD to 2000 AD)
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A group of tenements at the junction of Church Street and Lea Road stand on the site of a former foundry. Some of the buildings towards the rear of the group are wholly industrial in character and are probably mid 19th century in date. The west gable end of the tenements fronting Church Street is buried to a third of its height by the graveyard to the west; an accumulation that has most likely occurred over a long period of time and would suggest that the boundary was of some antiquity. The group also contains timber-framing of a structure that originally formed a house of early 16th century origin, with a dendrochronology date of 1527. Later alterations to the timber-framed building include the extant stone cladding, and the rebuilding and heightening of the west end of the old house to provide a lofty parlour and a chamber over it, perhaps as early as 1800, followed by the rest of the house. However, there are indications to suggest that the lower east end of the house may have had an earlier stone phase as well. After the building had been clad in stone, it appears that the street front had two entrances, one facing Lea Road and the other to Church Street. This dual access may indicate that the property was sub-divided into two tenements in the 19th century. The 1st edition 25" OS map of 1875 appears to show further structures to the rear of the Church Street range; one of which was probably a lean-to against the north wall of the central and eastern section; and the other is a building that borders the churchyard and is still extant. Both of these additions that mask the rear of the timber-framed building have aided the preservation of the timber-framework in that north wall. There is a drawn record included with this written account. (1)
A tree-ring dating programme was commissioned on timbers in the newly identified timber-framed building on Church Street by English Heritage in 2003. The tree-ring results indicate that the timbers were felled in the winter of AD 1526/7, which is when the structure is likely to have been built, or shortly thereafter. The property appears to have been a two-bay open hall, with a cross passage and service end. The western-most bay appears to extend to the rear, perhaps as a cross-wing. It is relatively austere, although the squaring up of timbers during their encasing in stone walls may have removed decorative elements or features. The original purpose of this building is obscure, but there are sufficient features to suggest that it was a special purpose building, perhaps associated with the adjacent church, which was controlled by Beauchief Abbey at the time that the building was constructed. In the early-mid 17th century the building was modified to produce a conventional three-unit domestic plan. At the same time a first floor was inserted in the former hall and an attic floor above the housebody. The parlour bay was extended eastwards and the street range was encased in stone perhaps in the 18th century. A brick-vaulted cellar was created beneath the parlour. It is thought that the building may have already been in use as an inn at this time, a use that was apparently recorded in 1875. A second stone-encasing phase, confined to the suggested wing, followed in the 19th century. In the 20th century the building was acquired by the foundry occupying the northern part of the plot, and there were further alterations, concerned partly with providing office accommodation. (2)
From the 1920s until 1998 this was the foundary of W H Butler & Sons who made castings for machine parts. Deeds dating back to 1738 show that there was a group of shops and cottages previously on the site. W H Butler incorporated the domestic buildings into the foundary. The most interesting discovery during the 1998 conversion was a timber box-framed in Church Street dated 1526/1527. In the deeds it was described as an 'ancient messuage' or dwelling. This could have been a church hall, later converted for domestic use and then into three tenements including a shop in the 17th century. The corner shop and the cottages in Lea Road were added later in the 19th century. (3)
Unpublished document: Jones, S. 2003. Some observations on domestic buildings in Church Street, Dronfield.
Unpublished document: Tyers, I (English Heritage). 2003. Tree-Ring Analysis of Oak Timbers from a Building on the Lea Road Foundry Site, Church Street, Dronfield, Derbyshire.
Bibliographic reference: Old Dronfield Society. 2009. Explore Dronfield: Heritage Trail No. 1 Dronfield Old Town.
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Centred SK 3534 7839 (19m by 7m)
DRONFIELD, NORTH EAST DERBYSHIRE, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
May 8 2015 3:10PM
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