BURGE END FARMHOUSE
The house comprises of 3 bays, the centre bay being a narrower chimney bay. There are 20th and 21st Century additions to the east, south and west. The house is two and a half storeys in height with the eastern bay having an attic room. It has been the subject of recent extensive renovation following years of decay from inappropriately applied concrete renders and plasters.
The layout is typical of a 17th Century lobby entrance farmhouse where it would be expected to have a door into a lobby formed by the chimney recess and the staircase located in the opposite recess. The centrally situated chimney stack contains 3 flues, 2 on the ground floor and 1 on the first floor.
The eastern fireplace contains a decorative bressumer beam with mouldings and chevron decoration. The central ceiling beam in this eastern bay has a rough chamfer and stop end.
Moulded bressumer and chevron design
There is evidence of a doorway within this bay in the northern wall which would have opened into the farmyard.
The current entrance on the north side opens into a lobby whilst on the south side, the stairs are located in a stair turret. The stairs up to the attic room are located adjacent to the fireplace although these are a modern replacement. It is likely that the original staircase was also situated in this location but may have been a spiral staircase to serve both rooms. The stair turret is constructed of different timbers with decorated newel posts and spindles and may therefore be a later addition. This would have been a symbol of the owners status and would have been the height of fashion in the 17th Century. Crab Tree Farm built at a similar time also has a stair turret but the staircase is not so well embellished.
Staircase with carved spindles and newel post in turret
Many of the ground floor timbers have been replaced, are missing or have been relocated due to the extent of the decay. Certain areas have been extensively altered in the past so that a more accurate assessment of the different phases of building is not possible.
There are few timbers to the ground floor eastern wall which may indicate that the building continued into a further bay or abutted an earlier structure, all since demolished. Additions to the south east corner have removed the corner post which is replaced by a chimney breast from a former outbuilding.
The first floor timbers are more preserved and it is noticeable that the window openings were principally to the south elevation. Within the bathroom, the mullioned window has been retained. The framing is braced by straight timbers, typical of the 17th Century. There is an edge halved scarf joint to one of the wall plates.
Straight bracing and former window
The large first floor fireplace is built of brick with Tudor style arch and is similar to those seen in Ivy Cottage and 21 Royal Oak Lane.
There are several carpenters marks including arrow marks in the space beside the chimney on the first floor. There are a set of consecutive carpenters marks to one of the centre trusses. A small plank door leads into the chimney recess on the first floor.
A mark “IW” is cut into the chimney breast brickwork in the ground floor lobby but could actually be crossed “VV” which symbolises the Virgin Mary and classed instead as an apotropaic witch mark. A further, more impressive mark is present to the western ground floor fireplace bressumer beam where there is a partly drawn daisy wheel. Further markings have also been scratched into the timber but are not easily defined. The attic bedroom has a series of burn marks deliberately scorched close to the doorway and there are further teardrop burn marks to several other timbers. These are particularly close to the chimney and likely to be there to ward off fire, an ever present threat in those times. These demonstrate the occupants were using superstitious practices to protect their property from evil, with superstition widespread in the late 17th/early 18th Century.
Apotropaic burn marks Daisy wheel IW or VV inscribed in brick
Burge End Farm has a long history dating back far earlier than the current farmhouse. It appears that there have been a series of buildings on the site with the current building seen today largely dating from the 17th century where it was embellished with a stair turret. This may have been to reflect the growing status of the owner and an improvement on what had probably been a smaller hall house and considered to be very out of date. It may have been built abutting earlier buildings but these have long since been demolished and replaced.