A tour around the 17th Century buildings in Godmanchester
View Godmanchester C17th buildings in a larger map
2003 has seen a lot of emphasis on 17th century events in Huntingdonshire, but the 17th century has also left Godmanchester with some of its finest historic buildings. An unhurried stroll around the two conservation areas in Godmanchester reveals a collection of interesting properties from this period, each with their own unique features.
Judging by the quality and quantity of surviving properties earning street was the address to have in 17th century Godmanchester. Therefore, the suggested circuit starts there, but obviously it can be commenced at any point on the route.
Plantagenet House, 20 Earning Street, is an L-shaped timber framed farmhouse dominated by its massive chimney stacks. For details of its restoration see The Bridge 2002, or the web site.
The Gables (Left) is one of Godmanchester's finest buildings of this period. It is built to a rectangular plan with gabled cross wings at both north and south ends. It is clearly dated 1625 on the projecting gable front.
Just a little further along is no.2, Tudor Farm (Right). This has a wealth of attractive, exposed timber framing built on an L-shaped plan.
The upper storey projects on the whole of the west front on curved brackets each end of which has projecting gables. The most stroking feature is the doorway with its moulded frame and panel above carved with the date 1603. The heavy door itself is panelled and has strap hinges.
The whole property was carefully renovated in 1994/5.
Next door is no.1, Old Dairy Farm Cottage (Below). This house presents a very different appearance from other C17th properties in Earning Street. The roof is covered in slate rather than tiles, the timber framing is completely rendered on the street frontage, and C19th canted bay windows have been inserted.
The final house in Earning Street is no.26. This has two storeys, plus attics, and proudly displays its construction date of 1613.
From here, head down St Ann's Lane to no.16. This cottage is of very different scale than the Earning Street properties but would still have been luxurious compared to many C17th residences. It is of typical timber frame and plaster construction comprising one storey and an attic topped by a steeply pitched thatched roof.
Walking across to Cambridge Street you will find a range of 3 timber framed houses at 59, 60 and 62 (Below). These were built 1611-13 with 1613 emblazoned on the west gable end. This cross wing has two oriel windows; the projecting upper floor is supported by curved brackets and turned pendants.
Walking through the churchyard stop to look at the west tower of St Mary's constructed in 1623. Under the embattled parapet carved fleur de lys and beasts can be spotted.
A short step through the recently replaced gates onto Church Place leads you through to Post Street where no.11, Staughton House, can be found, formerly The Bookshop. The timber framing is infilled with brick on the lower storey and plastered above.
Heading towards the Causeway nos.6 and 7 Post Street are also of C17th origin. The two properties were built together with their timber frames rendered. Both have been altered over time with C18th frontages added first, then C19th shop windows inserted on the street frontage.
Finally, go along the Causeway to old Court Hall to look at no.5. The original timber framing of this property is exposed on the north side but the upper part of the street frontage is now covered with mock timber framing and cement, presenting a much more regular appearance than the original framework. Formerly the Queen Victoria Inn this property is topped by a fine old tile roof.
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