The Plan, Section and Elevation
16th and 17th Century plan types identified in Batheaston derive from
medieval plans as do internal arrangements, that is, single pile, one,
two or three units, cross passage (or cross entry), fireplaces against
the passage wall or placed on the gable end, stairs tucked into a fireplace
alcove, one and a half or two and a half storeys high (10). This pattern
seems to have survived in Batheaston until about the mid 18th Century.
Some properties, not surprisingly existing or former farmhouses, derive
from the medieval long house, that is, a three unit house where one unit
(the byre) is for accommodating the farm’s animals. Such houses
are built upon a slope with the byre at the lower end to facilitate drainage
away from the residential end. No certain example of a longhouse has been
identified in Batheaston. The nearest to it is Radford Farmhouse, a three
unit ex-farmhouse in the St. Catherine’s valley, where the room
at the lower end was known to be a dairy, which is usual in our area and
considered to be a domestic rather than agricultural use of the room (R.J.
Key to the illustration:
H = Hall.
By the later 18th Century, with the development of the “M” shaped roof (10D), which made it possible to span greater spaces, the double pile plan became more common in Batheaston. At the same time, the old cross entry pattern gave way to the fashionable symmetrical and classically inspired designs, where, no doubt, the influence of Bath was important (John Wood the Elder was a Batheaston resident for a period). Even so, most of the properties surveyed conforming to these new ideas were not purpose built but adaptations of existing structures. Thus many of the High Street houses were converted from single pile to double pile by extending backwards, or even, in some cases, forward, while some gentry village houses merely acquired a new façade (11).