Seaview Cottage - Report

STOKESLEY (N.R.) “Sea View”, 43 College Square1
NZ 527087

This house is the most northerly of a group of four cottages located on the east side of College Square, formerly a Green, at the east end of the town. The cottages are built of brick, as are most of the houses of the town. Bricklayers appear in the Stokesley records from as early as 1691. There are short garths behind the cottages, with some small outbuildings but the partitions between them seem quite modern, suggesting that there was originally an undivided back yard accessed from the Green by two through-passages. Beyond the garths are the gardens of a large modern detached house.

General Layout:
Sea View Cottage has a large ground-floor front room, lit with a 3-light modified sliding-sash window facing the Square. Behind the front room there are two smaller rooms, which were probably originally a single room with a back door to the north and a two-light window to the south. An inserted boxed staircase leads directly from front door with small lobby at the foot from which a doorway gives access to the front room. Upstairs the living-space is of a greater area than downstairs since it continues over a through passage between this cottage and the next. Here there is a wide landing with doors into four small rooms. At the front, over the passage, is a two-light sliding-sash window whilst at the rear there is a two-light window for the larger room and a single light for the smaller. The front door is flanked by another and much older entrance into a through-passage running between No. 43 and its neighbour to the south (44).
Both 43 and 44 are of brick construction but covered with thick white rendering, front and back (except for the chimney stacks), while Nos. 45 and 46 have all their brick-work exposed . The bricks are long, thin and unevenly shaped and are laid in stretcher bond. This form is common in Stokesley, but rare elsewhere in Cleveland Plain and the adjacent Vale of Mowbray This may account for the unusually thin walls of Sea View: a little over 20 cms. on the front and 30 cms. at the rear All four chimneys in the cottage row have the same bond. At the north end of the row, the house abuts on a large stone-built 3-storey building with a cellar on the ground floor, with a flight of steps. This building seems to be of early 19th century construction. Sea View, however, slightly overlaps its neighbour both at the front and the rear, where a stone kneeler projects from the rear wall of the stone house but in line with the eaves of No.43 and far below the eaves of the stone house. These features may suggest that No.42 was formerly a similar cottage to the rest, but rebuilt and much enlarged in stone circa 1800. A blocked doorway in the stone house, at street level, appears in the stonework at the south end of. This must relate to a passage running behind the fireplace of No.43 and connecting with the front room of the same via a blocked doorway (see below). This suggests that the stone house may once have also been part of the row, albeit built (or rebuilt) in stone rather than brick. The front doorway of Sea View Cottage, like its neighbour to the south, appears to be Victorian. However the doorway into the through passage through the south end of the house has remarkable doors at both ends. The front door has a delicately moulded outer surround (partly hidden by the whitening) . Between the jambs there are six vertical struts running from top to bottom, with intricate ovolo -moulded edges and regularly-spaced nail-holes. The inside of the door was not examined but the back of the rear door could be seen from the passage. This is made up of 4 planks to which is attached a stout cross-bar. Tapering strap-hinges terminate in arrow-shaped finials. Such doors can scarcely be later than 1700.

Internal Features:
a) The Ground-Floor Rooms
The ground-floor is divided into three domestic rooms: a large single room at the front, with an inserted staircase at the south end, and two small rooms at the rear, the north room being a little larger than the south. There are openings from the front room to both rear rooms, the larger being wide without a door and thus integrated into the front room. It is covered by a modern (or possibly re-used) wooden lintel, while the smaller room, now a kitchen, is entered via a four-panelled door. A staircase runs up from a small lobby inside the front door. To the south, a passage runs through the house with a blocked doorway into the cottage to the south. The ceilings of all the rooms are supported on a series of deep and thin beaded joists. At the north end of the front room there is a strange length of old timber set across the room from the staircase partition to the north wall and sitting on top of the joists. It may indicate the lintel of an earlier partition between front and rear rooms, preceding the present joists. The main feature of the front room is a long (325 cms) bressumer beam running above the fireplace and extending from the front wall to a heck partition, behind which is a recess, probably for a doorway into a through-passage between this house and a former dwelling to the north. At first sight the bressumer, which is highly-polished on the outside, appears to be modern but on the inside it is chamfered and much rougher in appearance. Presumably there was once a fire-hood above the bressumer but now there is only a simple three-piece stone fireplace with a narrow flue projecting from the rear wall.
A series of thin joists (12 cms. deep and 8 cms. wide) run across the ceiling from the front of the house to the partition wall between the two ground-floor rooms. Just before this partition the old beam (mentioned above) appears. At its north end it functions as one side of a platform which presumably supported an upstairs fireplace. At the south end it may have continued above the inserted staircase and possibly the through-passage as well, although here the joists are slotted into the top of the beam rather than vice-versa.
Returning to the living room, there is a wooden lintel (probably modern) above a wide opening into the rear room. To the right (south) of this door is a door leading into a small kitchen. At the end of the south (staircase) wall, another door opens into a toilet under the stairs. Both doorways are four-panelled, as is the doorway into the lobby at the bottom of the stairs.
b) The Upper Floor
A flight of wide stairs with modern handrails leads to a large landing. Directly ahead of the stairs a four-panelled door opens into a small rear room. To the south of this door, a set of modern balusters seal off the small area above the side-passage . In the ceiling above there is an opening into the roof. The upstairs rooms consist of two bedrooms, either side of the corridor, a bathroom and a small room over the stairs and side passage. No features were observed in any of these rooms, beyond the windows mentioned above. Encased beams run along the the length of the cottage at both front and rear, presumably to support the ceiling above. At the north end of the upper storey is a large chimney-breast rising from the ground-floor fireplace: it measures 2.4 metres long and 60 cms. deep. The length is excessive and must relate to the older bresssumered fireplace below.
c) The Roof
A single truss stands more or less midway between the side walls, supporting two sets of side-purlins and a ridge purlin. The principal rafters are notched together at the apex of the roof and joined lower down by a by a collar halved across the principals. The collar is neatly chamfered and secured on each side by four nails. The halving is half-dovetailed on the west side and undulating, on the east side, making quite an elegant composition. The side-purlins are threaded through the principals where they are overlapped and pegged. At the base the principals rest on a shallow tie-beam without any evidence of pegging. The roof structure is entirely of softwood, probably imported from the Baltic, and cannot be earlier than perhaps 1720. The half-dovetailed collar is a certainly a feature of houses in the North Riding lowlands dated between 1720 and about 1750. The earliest examples however, tend to be pegged rather than nailed.

The large bressumer over the fireplace and the doors to the through-passage certainly suggest a late 17th century date. So too the evidence for a passage beside the fireplace leading into a former through-passage where the stone house now stands. The present front door and the boxed stair inside are certainly later insertions, probably early 19th century. The floor joists may be rather earlier, perhaps mid-18th century. They probably replaced earlier joists which were connected directly with the beam running the length of the front room and above the partitions between front and rear rooms. The roof must also be a replacement for an earlier structure but even so could be as early as circa 1730.

Further research into the other cottages of the row would certainly reveal much more information about the design and features of the row as a whole, as well as allowing a more precise dating.

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