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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Sixteenth century house, 18 Fore Street, Taunton
Civil Parish: Taunton
PRN 44474Excavation and recording (1983), 18 Fore Street, Taunton
Grid Ref: ST 2267 2446 (ST 22 SW)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]


Colourwashed Victorian front, to an earlier building. 3 storeys. Cornice with brackets, parapet with openwork balustrade (trefoil motif) in centre. Banded quoins. 4 windows in pairs with chamfered reveals and centre shaft. Dogtooth to sill band on 2nd floor. Overall fascia to ground floor with volutes to each side. On left is C16/early C17 arch leading to Bath Place. 4-centred moulded arch with carved spandrels and moulded jambs. There is a doorframe of similar date further back in the Entry. Shop front to right. Interior has entriched plaster ceilings and friezes, one dated 1627 also a plasterwork overmantel representing the sacrifice of Isaac. Grade II* for interiors.

No 1A Billet Street, No 66, the County Hotel, the Brendon Bar, and No "8" East Street form an important group with the listed buildings in Cheapside, Fore Street and the Parade. {1}

Upgraded to Grade I on 18 March 1982. {2}

English Heritage Listed Building Number: 269733. First Listed on 04/06/1952. English Heritage Unified Designation System Asset Number: 1232670 {3}

A two-cell house built about 1500 with a detached block to the rear. The front half of the main range was rebuilt in the late C16 retaining the original layout with a side passage on the ground floor. The original house was of 2 storeys with stone side walls and timber-frames to front and rear in large square panels. The remaining roof is of 3 bays with moulded arch braces cambered collars and wind braces to purlins and ridge. The rear block is single celled and was originally reached by a first floor gallery. The roof is modern but the ground floor has an original fireplace and moulded ceiling of intersecting beams. The quality of this and later C16 plasterwork indicates that this was a high status room, certainly not a detached kitchen. There was a drastic modernisation when the front half was rebuilt as three-storey with twin gables. The new roof is carried on uppe crucks and the rear room was ceiled at the same time producing an attic. The whole house was then elaborately decorated with plasterwork. The heraldry indicates that the work was carried out for William Lechland following his marriage in 1582. There may have been a shop at the front of the ground floor but on the floors above were two rooms at the front separated by the stair and wide corridor from a single room in the old rear block, which had more elaborate plasterwork than those at the front. {5}

The front wall of the rear block was recorded during alterations. Only the ground floor had been stripped of plaster but it could be seen to have been a stud and panel screen with a doorway. There had been a great deal of later alteration including the hacking out of two windows, later blocked and then a further window inserted. Despite the damage it could be seen that the screen was integral to the construction of this block. A large mortice in the head beam of the panel indicated the former presence of a floor over the courtyard, or a gallery to one side, but no equivalent mortice was visible in the rear of the front block. No other indication of the attachment of a gallery was visible either. This seems to indicate that the rear block predates the front block and that the courtyard is a later development opening out a previous room but the evidence is contradictory in some places. {6}

No official record of the regrading in 1982 has been located so it is assumed that it remains at grade II*. {7}


1 Statutory List - Tenth list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest: District of Taunton Deane (Somerset) (4/6/1975) Location: HER collections.
2 Verbal communication - Hagley, R [Roger]. Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (date unrecorded). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
3 Data transfer - Listed Buildings database, English Heritage. Record ID: 269733 (2005)
4 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 22 SW 93 (1979) Location: HER files
5 Mention - Taylor, R. Town houses in Taunton, 1500-1700. Post-Medieval Archaeology.  8 (1974), 63-79
6 Detailed records - Laithwaite, M. 18 Fore Street, Taunton.  (1983) Typescript and photocopy of manuscript with drawings. Location: HER file.
7 Compiler comment - Webster, C (Chris). Somerset Historic Environment Record (20/11/2014). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained

Record created in July 1997

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