Crane Street

Pages 72-78

Ancient and Historical Monuments in the City of Salisbury. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1977.

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Crane Street

(93) House, recently rebuilt, formerly part of the Crown Inn, was of two storeys with a cellar and had a symmetrical three-bay S. front with sashed windows, and a central doorway with a flat hood on scroll brackets. The house appeared to be mainly of the early 19th century, but it contained a cellar (11½ ft. by 20½ ft.) with walls of ashlar and knapped flint, probably mediaeval. Reset in a ground-floor room was a small late 13th-century stone carving of a female head; (fn. 1) there were also two 14th-century oak brackets carved with curvilinear tracery panels. In 1649 (Parl. Svy., untitled sheaf (Sar. 11), f.10) the site contained two cottages leased to John Batten.

(94) Houses, pair, Nos. 82–4, of three storeys with cellars, with brick-faced and tile-hung timber-framed walls and with tiled roofs, appear originally to have been one house, probably of the 16th century. Late in the 18th century the house was divided into two parts and the S. front, jettied originally at the first and second floors, was masked by a four-bay facade set in the plane of the top storey (two bays to each house). The facade is of brick in the lower storey and hung with mathematical tiles above the first floor; at the top is a plain cornice and parapet. Inside, the 16th-century timber-framed walls of the upper storeys include large members, probably reused. The roof, ridged E.-W., is of three bays resting on two heavy collar-beam trusses with 12″ × 9″ principals, spere-posts of the same size, and curved braces; speres, braces and collars are lightly chamfered. Tenoned to the outside face of one spere is a massive stub tie-beam (9″ × 16″). The trusses carry chamfered purlins (10″ × 6″) with chamfered wind-braces. Demolition of an adjacent building in 1969 exposed the E. gable of No. 82; it had a collared tie-beam truss with a lower king strut and two curved braces.

(94) No. 84 Crane Street

Timber framework of roof.

(95) House, No. 86, of three storeys with timber-framed walls and tiled roofs, appears to be mainly of the 16th century; the wall dividing it from No. 88 on the W. is, however, of the 13th century and the S. front is of the late 19th century. The gabled N. wall and the E. side of the N. wing have exposed 16th-century timber framework. Inside, there are several exposed beams and posts. The 19th-century stairs have close strings and turned balusters. A panel (8½ ins. by 2 ft. 2 ins.) of 13th-century mural decoration (Plate 43) is exposed on the W. wall of a first-floor room in the N. wing. The decoration resembles contemporary work in the Cathedral and consists of rinceaux of dark ochre on a cream-coloured background.

(96) Cottages, range of four, Nos. 90–96, are two-storeyed with brick walls and tiled roofs and date from the first half of the 19th century. The ground-floor rooms are now shops.

(97) Church House, North and West Ranges, now the administrative offices of the diocese, are of two storeys with attics and have walls of ashlar, flint and brick, and tiled roofs. The North Range appears to be of the second half of the 15th century and is probably the house called 'le Faucon' which William Lightfoot owned in 1455 (Liber Niger). (fn. 2) In 1523 the house belonged to Thomas Coke who bequeathed it to his daughter Scholastica, wife of Thomas Chafyn; the West Range probably dates from this period. From c. 1559 the house belonged to Piers Harris and by 1578 it had been bought by John Bayley. Early in the 17th century the hall was chambered over and a stair tower was built in the angle between the two ranges. In 1630 John Bayley's heirs sold the house to Lord Castlehaven, and in 1634 it was acquired by the city and became a workhouse. It so remained until 1881, when it was bought by the Church of England and restored (Crickmay and son, architects). (fn. 3) The South Range (98) was added in 1728, as shown on a plan of 1742 (Plate 12) in the possession of the Diocesan Board of Finance.

Architectural Description - In the N. elevation of the North Range a large 15th-century archway, leading by a carriage through-way to the courtyard on the S., has a moulded segmental-pointed head with continuous jambs and a moulded label with octagonal stops (Plate 59). The oak gates have trefoil-headed panels in two heights; much of the woodwork is original. The original facade E. of the arch has an 18th-century sashed window in each storey. Over the archway is a window of two square-headed lights, perhaps of the 17th century, under an original label. To the W. the hall has two windows, each of four transomed cinquefoil-headed lights; their state before Crickmay's restoration is shown in a drawing dated 1833 by W. Twopeny (Plate 9). Further W. each storey has a restored window of two cinquefoil-headed lights; beside these is a large chimneybreast with weathered offsets. The gabled bay projecting N. at the W. end of the N. front is largely of the late 19th century although Twopeny's drawing shows that there was a projection there in 1833; from the plan of 1742 we know that the ground floor in this part of the building contained a larder and two prison cells, and that the lean-to building depicted by Twopeny contained an oven. The S. elevation of the hall is now flint-faced with ashlar dressings, but both Buckler (Plate 11) and Twopeny (fn. 4) show it as faced with ashlar. The S. arch of the throughway has a chamfered segmental-pointed head, continuous jambs and no label; above is a window of two cinquefoil-headed lights. As on the N. side, the hall windows were restored after 1881, presumably to their original form. Twopeny's drawing shows first-floor windows with ovolo-moulded stone surrounds under cambered lintels; they appear to be of the early 17th century and probably indicate the date of the chambering-over of the hall. An original doorway below the sill of the W. window, with a four-centred head and carved spandrels under a square label, was removed in 1881. Further W. is a two-storeyed oriel with cinquefoil-headed windows in each storey; those of the lower storey are transomed. The three sides of the oriel which face the courtyard are of the 15th century; the two sides within the stair tower are of 1881. There may originally have been a small stair beside the oriel, giving access to the solar and oriel chamber (cf. Bing ham's Melcombe, Dorset III, 164); presumably it was removed in the 17th century when the stair tower was built. The plan of 1742 shows a fireplace in the W. part of the oriel recess, and Twopeny shows its chimney.

Church House, Crane Street

The Stair Tower (Plate 59) remains externally much as depicted by Buckler except that the present doorway has carved spandrels and a label, perhaps taken from the former S. doorway of the hall. The windows with ovolo mouldings and cambered lintels are evidently of the early 17th century. The E. elevation of the West Range has been extensively rebuilt, but the modern casement windows with transomed square-headed lights and ovolo-moulded oak frames are similar to those shown by Buckler and no doubt their design is based on those removed in 1881. The W. elevation of the range was rebuilt at the same time. The plan of 1742 shows that the Close Ditch formerly ran below the wall, and for a short length at the N. end of the elevation the depression of this watercourse remains visible. Projecting on brackets over the former ditch, the solar undercroft has a restored 15th-century stone window of six transomed cinquefoil-headed lights; beside it to S. is a 15th-century privy. On the first floor, above the projecting window and privy, a 16th-century wood-framed window of seventeen transomed square-headed casements gives light to the solar. Further S. in the W. elevation, two 16th-century chimneystacks, partly of ashlar and partly of brick, correspond with fireplaces shown on the plan of 1742. Elsewhere the W. elevation is of 1881.

Inside, the Hall was restored in 1881, the inserted first floor being removed and the transomed windows reinstated. The chimneypiece (Plate 91) reset at the E. end of the hall was brought from a 15th-century house in Mere. (fn. 5) Above first-floor level the E. and W. end-walls are of timber frame construction, extensively restored. The N. and S. walls are capped by moulded oak wall-plate cornices.

The four trusses of the three-bay timber roof rise from moulded timber wall-posts which rest on carved stone corbels (Plate 85). Two of these represent angels with shields and one an angel with a scroll, two are men in 15th-century secular dress, one is a monk, another is a grotesque figure in workman's dress, the eighth has been defaced. One of the angels' shields is uncharged; the other bears a merchant mark similar to that in St. Thomas's church (p. 26) which we ascribe tentatively to John Wyot. Wrongly associated with John Webb it has given rise to the belief that the hall was built by a member of that family. The two intermediate roof trusses are arch-braced collar trusses with collar yokes; trefoil-headed tracery above the collars is of uncertain origin. The trusses in the plane of the E. and W. walls have the same features, together with timber studwork (Plate 83).

The lower storey of the Oriel opens from the hall through a moulded four-centred archway with continuous jambs, partly modern; below the first-floor ceiling is a roll-moulded and hollow-chamfered string-course. The upper storey consists of a gallery opening into the hall through an archway of 1881.

The Solar Undercroft has a ceiling of six panels defined by moulded beams and wall-plates; the posts are modern. The W. window has two moulded three-centred rear-arches resting on a centre pier which is joined to the centre mullion by a cusped arch; on the S. is the former privy. The 14th-century chimneypiece (Plate 90) comes from a house in Fisherton Street and was set in its present place in 1881. That another fireplace originally occupied the same position is attested by the large external chimneybreast (Plate 9).

The Solar on the first floor has a late 16th-century plaster ceiling with moulded ribs forming geometric panels. Corbels in the moulded oak cornices on N. and S. mark the position of two roof trusses, originally exposed; they are plain collar-beam trusses with chamfered arch-braces and upper angle-struts. The asymmetrical arrangement of the lights in the timber 16th-century W. window suggests that the S. part of the embrasure, over the ground-floor privy, originally contained another privy. The stone chimneypiece decorated with quatrefoils (Plate 90) is original. The projecting N. bay behind the chimneybreast is of 1881. The window E. of the fireplace contains fragments of mediaeval glass, reset.

The ground-floor room E. of the carriage throughway, at one time joined to the next house (99), has 18th-century bolection-moulded panelling in two heights. In the corresponding first-floor room the S. wall retains traces of a blocked 15th-century window with a moulded label. The three-bay roof over this part of the 15th-century range appears to be continuous with that of the hall although retiling has occasioned a slight change of level externally. The easternmost truss has a collar and scissor-braces; mortices in the principals show that the next truss originally had an arch-braced collar-beam; the third truss, corresponding with the E. side of the carriage through-way, has scissor-braces above the collar and vertical and curved braces below; the fourth truss has been described in the hall.

The stairs in the 17th-century stair tower are of 1881; reset in the ground-floor stair-hall to the W. is a 15th-century stone chimneypiece (Plate 90) from the house in Mere which also supplied the hall chimneypiece.

The West Range, extensively remodelled c. 1881, retains few noteworthy features. In a large first-floor room the openings to E. and W. bays with projecting windows have 16th-century moulded oak lintels and jambs. Two ground-floor rooms are fitted with stone chimneypieces brought from elsewhere in 1881. One in Renaissance style is from Longford Castle (Plate 91). Another, bearing insignia of Henry Serryge, mayor in 1508, was discovered in 1788 on the site of the Guildhall (13). (fn. 6) The four shields on the traceried frieze are charged with HS intertwined; IHS; a dolphin embowed; a merchant mark (below). A similar chimneypiece, but with six panels, appears in the foreground of the drawing (Plate 8) which shows the demolition of the old Guildhall.

Merchant marks at Church House.

(98) Church House, South Range, of three storeys with brick walls and tiled roofs, was erected in 1728 for the enlargement of the former workhouse. A plan of 1742 (Plate 12) shows the lower storey as a workshop, without partitions and with a row of seven posts to support the first floor; there were stairs in the N.W. and S.E. corners. The plan on p. 74 shows the arrangement of rooms before 1881 and is taken from Crickmay's survey published in The Builder (see above, n. 2); further changes have been made since. The N. elevation has nine bays with plain sashed windows in each storey, ashlar plat-bands marking the first and second floors, and a moulded eaves cornice. The S. elevation is similar, but less regular and partly hidden by outbuildings; the E. and W. elevations have plain sashed windows. Inside, two ground-floor rooms contain reset 15th-century chimneypieces; one (Plate 91) has shields charged respectively: RP, France quartering England, and an unidentified coat (27, p. 183); another has shields charged with the letters W and P. The first chimneypiece was brought from a house in St. Ann's Street opposite monument (299); (fn. 7) the source of the other is unknown. Reset in a first-floor room is a 16th-century fireplace surround with a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs with shaped stops; its source too is unknown.

(99) Audley House, (fn. 8) No. 97 Crane Street, is of two storeys with a cellar and attics and has brick walls with stone dressings, and tiled roofs. It was built early in the 18th century, probably for Benjamin Wyche who acquired the tenement in 1701. (fn. 9) Until late in the 19th century the eastern rooms in the N. range of Church House (97) were annexed to Audley House, probably providing the service wing (plan, p. 74).

The symmetrical five-bay N. front has a central doorway with a pedimented hood on acanthus brackets, and plain sashed windows in both storeys; the windows in the upper storey are taller than those below (Plate 74).

Inside, several rooms have early 18th-century panelled dados and other joinery of the period. The main staircase is of oak, with twisted balusters. The first-floor drawing room is fully lined with bolection-moulded pine panelling in two heights under a moulded cornice.

(100) No. 95 Crane Street.

(100) House, No. 95, of two storeys with attics, with rendered brick walls and a slate-covered roof, was built in 1812 on land which had previously contained a yard or outbuildings of No. 97. (fn. 10) The three-bay N. front (Plate 103) has plain sashed windows and a round-headed doorway under a flat hood; a parapet with a moulded cornice masks the roof. Inside, the upper part of the staircase is oval on plan. The large S. window in the drawing room is flanked by pilasters with neoclassical enrichment.

(101–2) Nos. 93 and 91 Crane Street.

(101) House, No. 93, of two storeys with a cellar and attics, has brick walls with ashlar dressings, and tiled roofs (Plate 73). It appears to have been built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century on ground, probably open, belonging to No. 91, a much earlier house (102). The N. front of No. 93 is approximately symmetrical and of six bays with stone plinths, quoins and moulded stringcourses and with a plaster eaves cove. One bay projects to form a two-storeyed porch. The porch doorway has a flat hood on wooden acanthus brackets; over it, a stone plaque inscribed STEYNINGS is perhaps a 19th-century insertion. Most of the plain sashed windows were renewed in the 19th century, but two original windows remain in the upper storey. At the E. end of the six-bay facade a seventh bay, integral with those described, fronts the vestibule of No. 91 and its corresponding first-floor room, but the continuity has been obscured by modern paintwork. Evidently the N. front of No. 93 was designed to accommodate the entrance to No. 91.

Inside, several rooms have dados with fielded panelling. The staircase opens from the entrance hall through an elliptical archway with panelled jambs (Plate 96). The stairs have turned balusters and newel posts. The S.W. ground-floor room has bolection-moulded panelling in two heights. Reset in the corresponding first-floor room are a richly carved early 17th-century oak chimneypiece (Plate 92) and panelling of the same period; their provenance is unknown.

(102) House, No. 91, includes part of the tenement of 'Johne Lysle milite. . ., vocato le Crane', recorded in Bishop Beauchamp's rental of 1455. (fn. 11) In the following year it was owned by Robert Newman, mercer, and it remained with his descendants until William Newman sold it to Anthony Weekes some time between 1562 and 1572. (fn. 12) The house is mainly of two storeys with cellars and attics, but partly three-storeyed; it has walls of stone, timber framework and brick, and tiled roofs (Plate 71). Apart from a narrow bay containing the vestibule, the plan consists of two parallel ranges at rightangles to the street. The middle part of the E. range dates from the 14th century and retains two and a half bays of an original crown-post roof. The northern parts of both ranges and also the N. front are of the 16th century. The S. part of the W. range and the narrow vestibule on the W. are contemporary with No. 93 (101) and date from c. 1700. The S. extension of the E. range is of the late 18th century.

The 14th-century E. range formerly extended further N., but the mediaeval structure now ceases some 20 ft. from the street. The S. end of the same structure is represented by two timber corner posts (p) about 33 ft. further south. The W. wall of the range, of rubble with ashlar dressings, extensively refaced in brickwork, ends in a stone quoin beside the S.W. corner-post; close to this the lower storey contains a late 16th-century stone window of five transomed square-headed lights. At the northern extremity of the surviving mediaeval W. wall there remains the S. jamb of a stone doorway (d) with 14th-century wave mouldings (see profile); the mouldings are continuous on an arched head, of which no more than the springing remains (Plate 91). The E. wall of the mediaeval E. range can only be seen in the upper storey, where it is of timber framework. The features so far described indicate an original 14th-century range with a W. front of stone containing a handsome doorway. Presumably the doorway opened into a hall, but we do not know if the hall was in the E. range or at rightangles, parallel to Crane Street; if the latter, the E. range must be regarded as a cross-wing.

The present northern parts of the E. and W. ranges were built during the last quarter of the 16th century when the property belonged to the Weekes family. A graffito, recorded in a photograph, (fn. 13) indicates that this part of the house was in existence in 1578. The N. front is of two bays. The lower storey, of rendered rubble with ashlar dressings, has two projecting windows with ovolo-moulded stone mullions and transoms; beneath them are two blocked four-light windows of former cellars, rendered useless at an unknown period by the lowering of the ground floor. The jettied upper storeys, of rendered timber framework, were remodelled c. 1700 and have sashed and semicircular windows of that date. The sashed windows are uniform with those of No. 93.

The entrance vestibule was built at the same time as the facade of No. 93, presumably because the construction of that house rendered the former access to No. 91 unusable. The porch has Italian-Doric columns and pilasters and a low pediment.

Inside, the vestibule contains an elliptical archway of c. 1700 with panelled wood spandrels and pilasters supporting a pulvinated entablature. The E. wall of the vestibule has been stripped of plaster to expose the stone plinth and timber-framed W. wall of the 16th-century W. range. An 18th-century staircase formerly in the S. part of the W. range was dismantled c. 1935 and removed to Salisbury House, Des Moines, U.S.A. A fireplace (f) on the N. of the stairhall, also removed to Des Moines, had a 15th-century stone chimneypiece which until c. 1860 had been in The Barracks (258) in Brown Street. (fn. 14) The N.-S. wall between the two 16th-century ranges formerly had two ground-floor and two first-floor fireplaces; three with ovolo-moulded 'Tudor' heads were taken to Des Moines; the fourth is lost. The N.E. first-floor room has a 16th-century plaster ceiling with moulded ribs arranged geometrically. The 14th-century roof over the middle bays of the E. range has braced, chamfered and cambered tie-beams, octagonal crownposts with moulded caps and chamfered braces, and coupled rafters. The 16th-century ranges have collared tie-beam trusses.

(103) Houses, two adjacent, Nos. 87, 89, of two storeys with slate-hung timber-framed walls and tiled roofs, are perhaps of 16th-century origin but they have been extensively altered and retain no notable features. The gabled N. fronts have jettied upper storeys with 19th-century cusped bargeboards. Some roofs with plain collared tie-beam trusses with clasped purlins and straight wind-braces have recently been demolished.


  • 1. Now in Salisbury Museum.
  • 2. For the history of the tenement, 1455–1634, see C.R. Everett, W.A.M., xlix (1941), 435–79).
  • 3. For a description of the building in 1881, see The Builder, xl (1881), 698, and two pages of drawings (not numbered).
  • 4. B.M. (Prints & Drawings) 1874–2–14–443.
  • 5. For an account of this and other chimneypieces reset c. 1881, see W.A.M., xxxvi (1910), 370–2.
  • 6. Gentleman's Magazine, 1788, i, 224.
  • 7. W.A.M., xxxvi (1910), 370.
  • 8. Church House (97) at one time bore the name and is so designated on many maps.
  • 9. W.A.M., xlix (1941), 475.
  • 10. W.A.M., xlix (1941), 476.
  • 11. Liber Niger, 70.
  • 12. W.A.M., xlix (1941), 437.
  • 13. Lov. Cn., 56.
  • 14. Benson & Hatcher, opp p.602; Hall, Memorials, following Pl. xxvi.