Valley Farm Agricultural Buildings, Galley Common

Description of this historic site

A farmhouse with attached agricultural buildings, dating from the early 18th century with additions in the early 19th century. It date s from the Post-Medieval to the Imperial period.

Notes about this historic site

1 Valley Farm. A farmhouse with attached agricultural buildings, dating from the early 18th century with additions in the early 19th century. The original early 18th century building has a single storey and attic, and three bays, part square timber frame with replacement brick infill; a further rendered two-storey bay to the north dates from the early 19th century together with a single storey gabled extension to the south, of brick. The roof is of plain clay tile. The building is rectangular on plan, a simple single-depth range; the two northernmost bays form the farmhouse; the central bay was formerly used as a cow byre; and the final bay, together with the single-storey extension to the south, is agricultural storage.

The exterior of the farmhouse. The western elevation is the entrance front; the three central bays have the remains of square panel timber framing with later brick infill in a mixture of bonds. The fenestration is irregular and includes a single dormer to the lower bay of the house, and rooflights to the agricultural portion of the building. In addition to the door to the house, a further door has been introduced to the former dairy. The single storey extension to the south has a decorative gable with dentiled verges and kneelers built in brick; there are two segment-headed window openings to the gable end, one now blocked, the other partially so. The rear (eastern) elevation also retains some of its timber framing; the framing is set more closely than on the main elevation, but there is similar irregular brick infill of various dates. There are double barn doors to the single storey extension, a stable door to the former cow byre and an entrance door to the lower bay of the house. The fenestration, all on the ground floor, is irregular.

The interior of the farmhouse consist of two bays. The ground floor room of the earlier bay has a chamfered and scroll end stopped beam running north-south, and the site of a former fireplace is visible in this bay. There is a timber winder stair behind a plank and batten door at the north of this bay. The later bay extends to the north, and has a single chamfered beam with run out stops running east-west, with a further chamfered beam across the fireplace opening at the north. There is a single room above each bay, that to the earlier bay having exposed single purlins. A plank and batten door leads off the landing into the room in the later bay.

The Cowshed bay is open to the roof, which exposes the entire roof structure. Trusses consist of principal rafters, crossed at the top to clasp the diagonally set ridge piece; a tie beam and collar; and upright struts between the tie beam and collar. The single purlins rest on the outer faces of the principals, and there are diagonal braces between the purlins and the principals. Timber wall framing is visible in the interior.

The Storage bay has similar roof structure to the cowshed, and some exposed timber framing to the east wall. To the ground floor, the room has been divided across its width to provide a narrow dairy, accessed from the west, and a storage room to the east. An inserted 19th century floor divides the bay horizontally, and the upper floor is accessed via a timber, open-tread stair. A 19th or early 20th century fireplace and stack have been removed from the first floor room.

The applicant helpfully provided the results of his extensive documentary research into the history of the former Manor of Stockingford, now part of the Borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth.
The most relevant documents are: 1) a 1690 survey of the lands owned by the Lord of the Manor of Stockingford, Sir Willoughby Aston; 2) a 1746 survey for Lord Paget, the Earl of Uxbridge, 3) the
1841 Census; and 4) the 1842 tithe map and apportionment. The 1690 document implies that the land had already been enclosed and divided by this date, and the applicant therefore concludes that the present farmhouse dates from the 17th century, though no mention is made specifically of the building. Similarly, the 1746 document contains no mention of the house, though the plot is recorded as being leased out and with a tenant in place, which implies that it was a steading by this time. The farmhouse was definitely present by 1841, when it was in the holding of Thomas Parker, farmer, and the 1842 tithe map shows the building in its current form, together with the L-shaped outbuildings still present on the site. Stylistically, the building appears to date largely from the early 18th century, with a single bay to the north, now part of the habited area, having been added in the early 19th century, and a single-storey bay to the south from the same date. This is supported by the documentary evidence submitted by the applicant. The historic Ordinance Survey map series shows no changes to the footprint of the building during the period 1887-1914 other than the removal of a lean-to structure against the north wall, and the addition of another lean-to to the east, which has only recently been removed.

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