Shropham Road

Known as Newport Street (the road leaving the green) and then Hingham Way in the 16th century, Shropham Road boasts the oldest dated house in the village 'Briardene', which has some interesting Flemish wall paintings.

 

As the Shropham Road leaves the current green, next to the cottage named Hornfair Thatch there is a small lane, which used to be called Back Lane, or Packe Lane.  This appears to have been a lane that once joined the Shropham Road to the Harling Road and had a number of houses along it.

The Crown Pub, shown above used to be on Shropham Road, one of the four named pubs that Hockham had 110 years ago.
 
Shropham Road used to have two farms, North Farm and Pamments Farm.  Pamments Farm is no more and Pamments Barn was destroyed by fire however North Farm still has its Farm House and Barn which is still in regular use for agricultural storage.
 
North Farm Barn
 
In 2008 permission was sought to demolish North Farm Barn and English Heritage surveyed the Barn in 2008 and deemed it of “insufficient quality from a national perspective to merit listing”. 
 
A number of experts looked at the Barn subsequently and pointed out that the construction method was very rare, in that the barn was not built from ‘clay lump’ (the 19th century equivalent of clay breeze blocks) as English Heritage had stated in their report, but from ‘shuttered earth or clay’.

 

Shuttered clay was a rare process and was not dissimilar to the modern day method of building wooden shuttering and then filling it with concrete, except that earth or clay was used in the 1700’s.  Once the first section of clay had dried sufficiently the shuttering was moved up and the process was repeated again and again, resulting in very straight walls.

 
Dr Adam Longcroft an expert on historical buildings inspected the Barn in August 2009 and his report stated that the Barn is “one of a very small group of buildings which employ clay as a walling material in the period between 1550 and 1800 and it constitutes, therefore, a ‘missing link’ between an earlier medieval clay-walling tradition and a new wave of clay lump construction in the early 1800s." and “judged purely in terms of its historical interest and significance it is one of the most important survivals I have inspected in recent years."
 
Research into the history of the Barn showed that the Barn was most likely to have been commissioned by a gentleman farmer called Benoni Mallett who owned the Hockham Estate in the mid 1700’s and who may well have been highly influential in the well documented rise to agricultural fame of Thomas Coke of the Holkham Estate, in North Norfolk.
 
All this new evidence was presented to English Heritage and they eventually agreed to re-consider their earlier listing decision and on the 29th October 2009 the Secretary of State signed the Grade II listing documentation which states that North Farm Barn “is a rare surviving example of a C18 clay-walled barn which reflects a vernacular building technique reaching into the medieval period”
 
Lets hope that this decision will help to ensure that North Farm Barn is there for another 250 years....
 
Links:

To view Dr Longcroft's report on North Farm Barn and the Farm House click here.
To view the historical background click here.
To view the Listing Documentation click here.

 

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