A late 18th early 19th century timber framed, plastered, house. It was owned in the mid-19th century by John Holmes on of the prominent solicitors in the town. From 1912 to 1935 the house was the home of the Rev. David Coghlan (Catholic) and served as the Presbytery before the Catholic parish church, Our Lady Queen of Peace, was built. The Rev Coglan began the fund raising to build the Catholic parish church and the early plan was to build the church on the land behind the house.
This appears to be a late 18th or early 19th century building incorporating structural elements dating from about 1500. The building is constructed on an E-W axis there being a cross wing at the south end. The recorded memories of Henry Harrison, who grew up in the street in the latter part of the 19th century, recount that [number 6] “was the house of Fred Tabor, a rather eccentric gentleman, he drove a coach and four, and the coach was dragged out of the narrow entrance and the four horses followed and the horses harnessed to the coach and Mr Fred took the reins and the groom blew the horn and off it went up the hill.”
Nos. 6 & 8
A 17th century timber framed, plastered, cottage with exposed beams and 20th century additions. In 1680 John Ruggles, one of the main clothiers of the day, bought this “improved residence” which had been part of a medieval rambling mansion. The property had originally been called Stockwell House, then the blacke house or black horse and then Headwell House. The names blacke house and black horse suggest it was had been an inn. A century later it passed to the Savill family, yet another leading clothier family and then to yet a third main clothier family – the Englishes.
This is a large and extremely complex building which has grown to its present size over a number of years. The build history for this large property is conflicting. The Royal Commission for Historic Monuments (1916) survey stated the section furthest from Bradford Street was the earliest with a late 15th century date. On the other hand, the Discovering Bradford Street booklet (1975) has it the other way around, making the wing nearest Bradford Street the earliest and giving it a mid-15th century construction date. Numerous wings have been added from the 17th to 20th century. The carved Bressumer on the south west front is worth noting. In 1972 it was renovated and subdivided internally into 6 flats, the leaseholders are now the directors of the company owning the freehold and hold their leases on a peppercorn rent. Originally Bradfords Farm it takes its name from Bradfords manor. By the end of the 18th century it belonged to the Honeywood estate and was bought by the Courtauld family in 1891 then sold by auction in 1915.
No. 2. "Little Bradfords"
This house was built in about 1720 on the site of a much earlier building from which some timbers and the chimney-stack were reused. It has typical Queen Anne features, corbels under the eaves, arched window tops, double roof and gully. Inside there is a fine staircase and some excellent 18th century pine panelling. In the early 18th century it was owned and inhabited by the English family who continued to own the property in trust well into the 19th century. Occupied by GPs from mid-century they bought the house in 1885. It was occupied by and possibly owned by the Courtaulds in the early 20th century.
No. 4. “Courtauld House” (originally "Beech Holme" and later "The Elms ")
This group was originally built as one house along the road front (about 1550) but was later sub-divided and wings added at the rear. Note how 10 has been stretched by approximately five feet to provide additional ceiling height at ground floor level, possibly to accommodate weaving machinery. Periodically since 1850 this has been a bakery. It is now a private residence.
Nos. 10, 12 & 14
This group were all built between 1490 and 1540. No. 16 being at right-angles to the road, and Nos. 18 and 20 parallel with the road. There is evidence in the frame work that there was at least one more dwelling attached to No. 20, and this might have been another crosswing similar to No. 16. No. 16 was originally jettied at the side and the heaviness of the framing suggests that Nos. 18 and 20 were too. This block is not lavish but is of top quality construction as might have been built for a Master Craftsman, or by an Estate Owner for his employees. The Nockold survey of 1803 identifies this building as the King’s Arms which is mentioned in Quarter Session records from 1769. It passed from the Tabor family to the Boosey family in 1784 and ceased to be an inn after its sale about 1805.
Nos. 16,18 & 20
This was originally built in the 15th or 16th century as a 2 storey building parallel to the street. It had a gable on the north end and half-hip to the south. The present condition of the building which includes a small gabled 16th century staircase tower, with a 17th century staircase at the rear, makes it difficult to accurately date, or describe, but from what little is visible there could be considerable potential in the original framework. The Angel first appears in the 1871 census before which time it was owned and occupied by a shoemaker and leather cutter.
No. 36. "The Angel"
Originally a single house the impressive 18th century facade conceals a timber framed building from circa 1400, which as far as can be ascertained is a T shaped plan, the rear wing of which is contemporary. The quality of the mouldings to the ceiling joists in the older part are extremely high class, as also are the building joist and common joists forming the attic floor. The roof has been rebuilt in the late 17th or early 18th century but there are several unusual features of the remaining timbers which would have supported a crown post and secondary collar. If this was so it is particularly rare as no known commercial or domestic houses exist in Essex, except possibly in churches. These are otherwise more common in Kent and Sussex. In any event it would have been very tall and impressive, and decorated with carved or moulded woodwork. Such ostentation in roof and joists is most unusual and almost certainly not intended for domestic purposes, we can only speculate the likely commercial purposes for such a building with its impressive front entrance and commercial hall above. It is comparable but 100 years earlier than the front range of 'Paycocke's in Coggeshall. Owned in the late 18th century by the Boosey family.
No. 42, 40 "The Lavender House"
This is an 18th century gault brick building, altered again in the 19th century, it is an imposing structure comparable to but not of such good quality as No. 4. The interior has a panelled room on the ground storey and a linenfold oak panel dado. There is a good original door case at the rear, and the fact that the chimneys have been built with a considerable number of late 16th century bricks indicates the existence of an earlier building possibly on this site. In the late 18th century Dr. Tweed, surgeon, who owned and lived here, inoculated about 500 poor parishioners. For a short time in the 1870s a member of the Durell family (TV series) lived here. By the early 20th century the property had been divided into flats.
This building was rebuilt by the Gosling family after its publicised sale in 1855. It had been since before the mid 16th century the "Cardinal's Hat" public house, so called after Cardinal Wolsey who, when being made a Regent in Rome, sent a coach to England to collect a hat which he had left behind, an incident recorded in many pubs with the same name. Following the rebuilding it was a tenanted house. In the early 20th century it a hardware store and later a garage and filling station before being renovated in the second half of the 20th century
No. 46 "Cardinals House"
The 18th century facade hides a formerly jettied timber framed building dated to about 1500 on the evidence of tree-ring dating. The Georgian front and Mansard roof are thought to have been added in 1787 as were the addition of two chimny breasts and the internal rearrangement of rooms. This date comes from carpenters marks, with the date, on two or the roof timbers. The living room has an ornately carved beam with moulded joists. 19th century renovations and 20th century extensions to the rear are documented. By 1970 the property was derelict and rescued by Essex County Council. In the late 18th century the house was owned by John Lorkin, the innholder of the Woolpack Inn. By 1838 it was owned by Dr Harrison, surgeon and GP, and occupied by Mrs Sophia Courtauld.
No. 52 17th century timber famed house refronted in the 18th century, although given the history of many properties in the street its origins could be much earlier. It is first identified as the King’s Head inn with brewery behind in the will of Samuel Tabor in 1784 when it was bequeathed to his son-in-law Timothy Boosey whose will in 1804 directed it be sold. The Gosling family tenanted the inn at this time. By 1815 it was leased to the publican John Joyce who later owned the building and ran the inn until 1888 when it was sold to Frederick Rankin. In 1902 it was bought by the Gosling family and in 1904 passed to Greene King when they bought out the Gosling brewery and inns. In finally ceased to be a public house about 2014. No. 50 Little is known about the origins of this grade 2 listed house. It has a late 18th century brick front and cart entrance on the north end. John Joyce who owned No. 52 also owned this house at the time of tithe redemption in 1838 and he leased it to Dr Manthorpe, a surgeon, who committed suicide.
Nos 50, 52
The main block of these was built in the early 16th century but the roof was rebuilt in the 17th century and the building refronted in the 18th century. There is a long rear wing along Phillips Chase, with a gatehouse at the farther end. The first floor is open throughout this wing indicating some form of commercial use. 56a has a 20th century shop front. The Phillips family of butchers owned the property and ran their business here from the late 18th century and into the 20th century giving their name to Phillips Chase, the lane that runs alongside the building.
Nos. 54, 56 & 56a
The ceiling joists are a plain indication of its original date - about 1450. Late 18th century documents identify this building as the “Rose and Crown” whilst the inn is mentioned as early as 1671. The Mansard roof was rebuilt in the 18th century. In 1803 it was owned by the Gosling family, the local brewers. Between 1807 and 1834 it was home to a schoolmaster and then a shoemaker before it became the "Bocking Academy" a boys boarding school. By 1871 it was a livery stable and had a general shop. Around the time of the First World War it housed a sweetshop and a chemist. The sweetshop eventually became the post office until this closed in the late 20th century with only a post box remaining outside.
Nos. 68 & 68a
The mid-20th century semi-detached houses standing here replaced cottages and the tenements which had once been the "Swan Inn", an 18th century hostelry, demolished in the 1939 slum clearance. The inn had a gatehouse to the rear and was joined to 78, the end timbers of which can still be seen exposed on the end wall. The whole site in old documents covers The Swan, Swan Yard, Prospect Place and Bowtle’s Yard.
Nos. 70 to 76
This block was built as one house, of a quality associated with someone of the status of a modest merchant in about 1450. This is evidenced by the Crown Post which is not as well ornamented as is to be found in houses built by wealthier folk. It was originally jettied but this was removed by about 1790. The portion now occupied as Nos. 84 and 86 were originally the hall which would have been open through to the roof. A first floor level was inserted here not before 1790. The south end gable has some exposed timber-framing from the demolished Swan Inn.
Nos. 84 & 90
The house was first built in the 16th Century and probably jettied to the street. To the rear of the property further bays were later added at right angles to the road. These may have started life in the 16th Century with a single floor and then built upwards in the 17th Century. This is a plastered and timber-framed two-storey house. Two entrance doors indicate that before this use it had been divided into two cottages. It is characteristically Georgian in appearance, with a bay window and, more unusually, a projecting shop window with a flat canopy above. There are two main elements to the property, which is in effect T-shaped: a three-bay building parallel to the street, and to the rear of it a long three bay building at right-angles to the street. To the left of the property and through the gates, the butcher's grounds were used as an abattoir and stables. The ice house still remains here. Extant records indicate it was a butcher's shop from at least as far back as 1793 until 1997.
Nos. 92 and 92a
This is a typical 3 bay 2 storey mid-16th century timber framed house with many construction details of the period. It is worthy of note as the frame is more than 75% complete, which is unusual as records show that so many were later extensively altered. The windows showing on the front are modern (circa 1920) and are set in between the main bay frames. The roof is arch-braced to side purlin. Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor . . . not quite, former tenants have included weaver, wool comber, hairdresser, tailor, butcher, shoemaker, carpenter, crape finisher and brewery worker.
No. 94 Wych Cottage
A timber-framed and plastered building probably 17th century with 18th and 19th century alterations. The frame suggests it could be part of a much earlier medieval hall house. The arched doorways at ground level were cut from a piece of wood that included both trunk and branch indicating a 14th century date. The gambrel roof in the front bedroom appears to have replaced the original roof in the 18th century. The ground storey had an early 19th century shop window, replaced in 1976, the premises being a bakers from about 1840 for over 100 years.
No. 98 and 100
This is a timber framed and plastered house, possibly dating from the early to mid-15th century and extensively altered in the mid-16th and early 19th centuries. The ground storey has a small 19th century shop window from when it was a grocer’s. The narrow passage between Nos. 104 and 104a is known as Cock Lane and once upon a time there was a Cock inn which may have been at 104a, 104 or the cottage behind 104.
Nos. 102 & 104
106 was a large late 16th century timber framed three bay house. The first floor was originally jettied but later underbuilt. The building was refronted in the 18th or early 19th century with sham timber framing. Early 18th century detailing includes some dado panelling, also inside there is a fine late 18th century stair with stick balusters, and wreathed handrail. In the 1800's this was one of the Breweries of Bradford Street owned by Goslings. Note the vents in the wall. At one time approximately 1890, there was an oast house at the rear of this property. 104a was until 2017 Benson’s Bar; it was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N.E. and S.E. Inside the building, on the ground floor, is a ceiling beam supported by a large curved bracket, and the original roof construction includes tie-beams with plain curved brackets. The properties were owned by Goslings the brewers who sold their business to Greene, King & Sons in 1904 who continued to use the premises well into the 20th century.
Nos. 104a & 106
There is some uncertainty about the age of 108. It has been suggested that its origins are a late 16th century 3 bay house, probably with a front jetty, and extensively altered in the late 18th century. 108a forms a north wing and is probably older than 108. The building was owned by the Gosling family, the local brewers from before 1803 and remained in the family until the early 20th century. 108a was used a Wesleyan chapel in the mid-19th century.
Nos. 108 & 108a
This house is notable because it was built between 1680 and 1690, whereas most other 17th century work in the street is in the form of modification or alteration. This is a very nice example of the 4 room design which occurs in so many houses both large and small from this era. 19th century alterations were responsible for the attractive front windows. This house is built against and makes use of the wall to the adjoining carriage arch. In 1803 it was owned by the local brewers, the Gosling family, who held it for at least three generations.
Built in about 1520 for a Bocking clothier the Tudor House is richly endowed with oak timbers. There is a gatehouse at the south end and a characteristic carved bressumer supports the jettied first floor. It was fitted with glazed windows on the ground floor when built, but due to the expense of these the first floor windows were unglazed and closed with shutters which ran in slides, traces of some of which are still visible. Traces of service doors exist in a partition inside as does some of the original wattle and daub. The house was restored in 1974 and was used by the Civic Society to house the Braintree Museum Collection begun by the late Mr. Alfred Hills; the old museum sign is still visible. For most of the 19th century three generations of blacksmiths lived here.
No. 114 "The Tudor House"
Over the river in Broad Road is The Franciscan Convent and Church of the Immaculate Conception an irregular group of red brick buildings; the house (timber-framed and plastered) dates from about 1830 when it was rebuilt and the church was designed by J. F. Bentley (Westminster Cathedral) in 1898. The Convent included an Orphanage and a School. It is now a residential home for the elderly. The house was formerly known as Fulling Mill House in which lived five generations of the Nottidge family, who bought the property in 1740. The house is described in Wright's "History of Essex" 1832, as “lately rebuilt in the elegant style of modern architecture. The charming Regency drawing room and beautiful grounds are relics of those spacious days.” In 1844 the house was acquired by the Courtauld family who changed the name to Bridge House and gifted it to the Sisters about 1905. There is an older building at the rear, which within living memory had special ventilators 'to take the dust from the looms working within'.
Fulling Mill House (Convent)
The present mill building, in its earliest form, dates from about 1580 when it was a fulling mill, used for both the cleaning and felting of newly woven cloth. It is located on the site of an earlier fulling mill built in 1303 by the prior of Canterbury Cathedral. The present building was also originally a fulling mill, although the front three bays were later raised in height to allow conversion to a corn mill. The mill race that runs under the building can be seen from the bridge. An earlier water wheel used to be located at the back of the building. The conversion from fulling mill to corn mill would have occurred in the early 19th century after the demise of the woollen industry in Bocking and the tithe record of 1838 shows it to be occupied by a corn miller. Around 1900 production changed to animal foodstuffs and continued until 1988.
No. 185 Mill house and Bradford Mill
The date on the carved beams on the front is 1603, however, the construction seems to be of an earlier style. The front door and hinges are of a very early date. Note particularly the carved dragons and grapes on the bressumers at both front and side and the tiny upper windows in the side wall. The north wall is jettied and beneath the overhang a mullioned window can be seen. Inside there are more blocked and hidden mullion windows, and examples of old doorways and panelling. The house takes its name from a wall mounted sun dial that once adorned the building. First mentioned in a deed of 1684 it gradually evolved into a public house; in 1841 it was home to a maltster, then a beer retailer lived there and finally by 1891 it was referred to as a public house. It ceased to be a public house in 1973. Many successive owners of this house have reported the presence of a ghost who seems to smoke tobacco.
No. 173 "Dial House"
The former Six Bells public house, now private dwellings, was built in 1932 to replace the original Six Bells, a hostelry from ancient times with a strong local tradition that it was originally a Church Alehouse. It stood very close to the junction of Church Lane and Bradford Street on the ground that is now an open space. On a site next to the original Six Bells was an equally ancient property which is thought to have had its origins as the Chapel and medieval hospice of St James which was run by the monks for lodging and refreshment of pilgrims and wayfarers. The earliest known reference to the Hospital of St James is a Patent Roll of Henry the Third dated 1229; there are sporadic references throughout the 16th century and a larger number of Session Rolls, wills etc from the 17th century and 18th century. Many stories are recorded about the dangerous road junction at this point, and most revolve around upturned carriages or drunks on horseback. The front of the Six Bells was home to the carved wooden figure "Old Harkilees" a half male, half female form, reputed to have been floating in the river at the Mill and dating from the 16th century which can now be seen in the Braintree Museum.
No. 129/135 Former "The Six Bells"
Queens Meadow was built in 1930 for William J. Courtauld, who lived here only briefly, until it was passed (we believe given) to Valentine Crittall. A brick in the doorway arch bears the following inscription: "WJC 1930”. The site was for almost a century the Queens Meadow where cricket and other sports were played. A medieval red brick house had stood on the site before being sold by the Nottidge family to the Savills who, in turn sold it to John Boosey and William Harrington for demolition. It was the iron gates from this red brick house which are now found at Wentworth house. Sir William Julien Coutauld, was a business man in the family firm of Courtaulds, a UK based manufacturer of fabric, clothing, artificial fibres and chemicals. It was established in 1794 and operated mills in and around Bocking where the local mill employed 2,000 people, originally weaving silk, after the demise of the woollen trade. Sir William was a prominent benefactor gifting a hospital, recreation ground, fountain town hall and registry office to Braintree. Valentine Crittall, son of the founder of Critall windows, was a member of the 1923 Labour Government, as the Member for Maldon. He later joined the Conservatives, was elevated to the peerage as Baron Braintree and was a director of the Bank of England. Needless to say Queens Meadow has some very fine Critall windows. Queens Meadow is mentioned in Bettley and Pevsner's "Houses of England: Essex" as "Queens Meadow by HH Jewell for WJ Courtauld, 1929. Exposed brick plinth and dressings, otherwise rendered, modest but good quality."!
The earliest parts of the building are 15th century or 16th century with alterations in the 17th century and 18th century, most notably the 18th century brick façade. Note the 19th century cast iron balcony on the north wall. Extant deeds from the 17th century show that it was owned by a succession of clothiers. By 1668 it was leased by William Daniel, another clothier, and stayed in the family for 5 generations. By 1723 it had become the Queen’s Head public house. In 1723 the will of John Maysent, as lord of the manor, placed a rent charge on the Queens Head to pay for the maintenance of his son’s family tomb in Bocking churchyard. In the mid 18th century a wool hall was erected. The Savill diaries record that on 8 Nov 1788 the body of Lord Nugent, who had died in Dublin, lay in state in the Queens Head for one night on the way to be interred at Gosfield. It ceased to be a public house in the early 19th century and became the home of the local doctor. In the late 19th century the Victorian artist and portrait painter William Hayden Fuge lived here.
No. 89 "Maysent House"
The heavy mullioned windows in the south wall suggest a date of the second half of the 14th century for the southern bay which is not perpendicular to the street. The two principal jettied bays are typical of a mid 16th century town house, and the fine central fireplace may date from 1550, and seems to have been built for a single storey hall. The present two storey structure was built some years later. The shell hood door canopy dates from the late 17th century. During the later 19th century it was sub-divided into three tenements, renovation commenced in 1967, and after changing hands several times is now restored to its former state. Behind the house is an ancient iron gateway which once stood at the entrance to Queen's Meadow, and now leads on to an 18th century walled garden with a two storey summer house. This house was formerly in the ownership of the Maysents, Jeremiah Brock and the Nottidges, all prominent clothiers in their time. Previously called Wordsworth house it was a ladies boarding school in the mid 19th century run by Sarah Boosey.
No. 87 "Wentworth House"
85 and 85A was built as a single 15th century or early 16th century timber framed and plastered house of L-shaped plan with wings extending towards the N and W. The upper storey is jettied with 20th century restoration of a carved bressumer and panels of 20th century ornamental plasterwork. The roofs of both wings have cambered tie beams, queen posts and central purlins with curved struts. Queen posts are relatively rare in Essex but common in Suffolk. The interior has some original features. A lease from 1757 refers to a wool hall, formerly a stable, with chamber over the same, next to the messuage. In 1803 it was owned by Josias Nottidge and was leased to the Hubberts, the last of the clothiers. The Hubberts were eccentric Quakers who tried perpetual motion. In 1832 they turned the business from woollen manufacture to manufacturing hempen cloth, rope, twine and mattress manufacturing, hence the names.
No. 85 & 85A "The Mattings" and “Jute House”
This Regency house, built about 1800, takes its name from the coarse woollen fabric known as Bocking Bay, which was produced by Jeremiah Brock in a bay factory at the back. It was probably built by Josias Nottidge, Brock’s son-in-law, on the site of 3 cottages inherited from Brock. The wife of one of the subsequent occupiers sold "sweets, fruit and stiff slices of rice pudding" to day school pupils at the school across the road.
No. 83 Bay House
With its striking array of gables the old Woolpack Inn is one of Bradford Street’s most iconic buildings. The two end wings were built circa 1590 and the central section circa 1660. The bay window on the left side is an original Elizabethan one and the fixing holes for the first storey window of the same period can also be seen. The carvings on the bressumers are particularly fine. Above the bressumers there are the remains of pargetting. Inside there are two late 16th century doors and some good 18th century cupboards. Facing Woolpack Lane the rear extension is the remains of an earlier building circa 1450. It consists of two bays and most of the original frame, but the roof was rebuilt in the late 16th century. Owned by Jeremiah Brock in the late 18th century and bequeathed to his son-in-law Josias Nottidge one of the prominent clothiers.
No. 77, 79 and 81 "The Woolpack"
The Cottages on the right hand side in the picture are found on the first detailed map of the street made for the “Nockold Survey”. The middle cottage, Weavers Cottage, was owned by Pasfield Senior, a builder who owned what is now Nos. 19 – 23. The Victorian terrace on the left hand side replaced earlier properties owned by the Nottage family of Fulling Mill House.
The consensus from various inspections dates this house to the 14th century. with additions dated to the 18th century, 19th century and 20th century. The roof has arched braces to a central truss supporting a crown post with a mouldered cap and base. The first floor level appears to have had no internal partitions suggesting that it might originally have had some non-domestic use. At first floor level on the south elevation is a 14th century two-light ogee-headed tracery window. These were the height of fashion in court circles about 1360 suggesting that the owner was wealthy. In the second half of the 19th century there was a boot makers shop in the NE corner which doubled as the post office.
This group appear to have been constructed at the same time but this external appearance is deceptive. Number 63, a bakers shop for many years has a dado of elaborate linen fold panelling, said to have come from Bocking Church in 1855. The former shop premises at 65 are later than 67-69. Number 65 has some timbers of considerable size, most notably at ceiling height on the wall adjoining number 63. Tree ring dating of timbers in 67-69 suggests it was built in 1354 or shortly thereafter. Much of its original construction is unaltered even today. The size and quality of the timbers indicate that great expense was incurred when the house was built. The first floor of 67-69 was constructed as an undivided space. Number 69 has a gothic style window on its northerly wall but only visible from inside the property. The crown posts in the roof are particularly fine. Numbers 71 and 73 are also later having been constructed abutting the external end wall of no., 69 at first floor level whilst the way through from the street to the back yard is formed beneath the jettied end of no 69.
Nos. 63 to 73
Earlier historians referred to this as Harrison’s Lane after a grocer who occupied the shop at 61 Bradford Street. At one time the Lane had a malting which was later occupied by the council as a warehouse and has since been redeveloped as a series of late 20th century houses. The brook at the west end fed both the malting and the former King's Head Inn at 52 Bradford Street. At one time this brook ran along Friars Lane into Bradford Street and further down ran into Phillips Chase and away.
This shows an early attempt at conservation, as the house was built by Land Courtauld in the 20th century and was designed to copy and blend with the style of other houses in the street.
It was built in the first half of the 16th century with a little cartway. There is an interesting outhouse here which could have contained a brick built wool washing vat 8 to 10 feet in diameter. Notice the remains of a woman's face set in the plaster on the front. This is an original figure very probably put there when the house was first built, some believe it is supposed to be Anne Boleyn. In the 19th century the house was rented, and then owned, by William Marslen FRHS, nurseryman, florist, gardener and seedsman.
No. 41 "Dragon House"
The property was originally at right angles to the road, of uncertain date. Exposed wattle and daub with a lime plaster render is exposed in the back room on the first floor. At first floor level, a chamber of at least two bays with an arch braced tie beam open to the roof, which may have consisted of plain rafter couples. The rafters over the first floor rear bedroom, which has a raised ceiling, are 5” x 5” in couples with pegged collars to many, but not all, rafters. The stair at the rear of the house, adjacent to this wing, might occupy the position of a former stair tower at the back of the earlier house that existed on the frontage but was demolished to allow the construction of the 18th century front. The later 18th century construction uses 4” x 4” joists for the upper storey, relatively light timbers typical of the late phase of timber framed construction. The upper storey, originally accessed by the back stairs would have been the servants’ quarters. There is a cartway, hidden behind an access door, at the north end of the house.
No. 39 "Gresham House"
This 17th century house was built on the site of a much older one and is fitted with a recent 18th century front. The cellar has constant running water in it, which presumably comes from the springs on the hill on the north side of Bradford Street from which all the water was taken for processing in the wool trade. It was at one time occupied by a Doctor who had a whistle pipe installed which still exists. This runs underground to the cottages opposite which were occupied by his coachman and enabled him to be summoned more rapidly. There is a good late 18th century staircase in this house. In the mid 19th century it was home to William H. Fuge, an artist of some repute. The property has a fine “Arts and Crafts” entrance hall.
No. 37 "The Bawn"
This was the ancient Manor house of Friars, often to be found spelt 'Freyers'. The existing house has a 17th century frame with remains of late 16th century work in the cartway. It was refronted in the 18th century and raised 1 storey with grey gault brick, now painted, with a parapet and cornice. There is a splendid staircase from 1740 inside. It was home to the Windles, Rays, Maysents and Rays once again from the 17th century and into the 19th century, all famous clothier families. Robert Maysent, died 1684, is reputed to have produced the first ‘Long Bay’ the Bocking cloth which made the fortunes of many of the Bradford Street clothiers. In 1915 it became the local Children’s home for at least 20 years. After 1997 it became the Old Court hotel for a number of years.
No. 31 "The Old Court"
This is a 17th century house with a typical 18th century front added afterwards. There is evidence in the structure of 16th century chimney work and framing indicating a former earlier building. In the 17th century it was owned by Hercules Arthur, a prominent clothier of the time – see the story of Old Harkilees in the museum. Later the building was in the portfolio of the Savill family, one of the prominent clothier families. In the 19th century the celebrated engraver Henry LeKeux lived here.
No. 29 "Clinton House"
The part of the house on the road front is of 17th century construction with a later C18 facade but the rear two storey building is of 15th century construction. This early part of the building is constructed of substantial timber framing. The first floor rear bedroom has a single mullion window in its southern wall and the remains of a slot for a horizontal sliding shutter. The earliest extant deed from 1653 calls the house Makens although many later deeds rendered the name Makins. The crinkley-crankley wall in the garden of 18th century construction dates from the time when the house and Georgian House next door were owned by the same family. Throughout much of the 18th century and 19th century the house was tenanted whilst the owners lived elsewhere.
No. 27 "Makers"
This is a mid-16th century 2 storey, 3 bay timber framed house, with a very good quality frame which has chamfering of most members. The roof is side purlin with straight wind braces. There is a dormer at the rear which possibly relates to a former staircase tower. The original chimney breast still remains within the building.
The Cottage, 25 Bradford Street
The rear, west, wing was built in two stages as evidenced by the roof construction. The oldest section is typical of the first half of the 17th century with a late 17th century extension. In 1700 the property was described as “fower rooms and a buttery”. The Georgian front was built between 1707 and 1735. The quality of construction is very high with particularly fine staircases, panelling, fire surrounds and door cases. The house was home to clothiers until 1804. From 1806 the Rev. Thomas Craig, a Victorian gentleman of the cloth, and minister of the Bocking Meeting, lived there until his death in 1865. Various families lived there until the end of the second world war when it became the Victory Club for ex-service personnel. It was used by Bocking College until 1970 when it became the Abbyfields first sheltered housing project in Braintree, being opened by the Duke of Westminster. Their Silver Jubilee was celebrated by a visit from Prince Charles the then royal patron. In 2005 the house returned to use as a family home.
No. 25 Georgian House
This building, which incorporated Nos., 19 to 23, is said to have started out as a medieval hall house, on a half-H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the west. There are reconstruction features from the late 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. At the W. end of the S.W. wing the upper storey and the gable both project and have original moulded bressumers with shaped brackets. The original central chimneystack has three octagonal shafts on a rectangular base with a moulded capping. On the S. side of the S.W. wing is an original chimney-stack with two offsets and two octagonal shafts. Several rooms have some early 17th-century panelling. On the first floor is a door of early 17th-century panelling with cock's-head hinges. The house was owned by the Booseys in the 18th century, by now a prominent clothier family, after moving from Bradford House, and they added a Georgian front to the Tudor house about 1742. In the early 19th century it was owned by a local builder, and by the time regular census surveys commenced it was subdivided in four units, one of them being used as a Quaker meeting house.
Nos. 19, 21 & 23
The earliest extant document is the mid 17th century will of Joseph Boosey, a grocer who issued his own trade tokens during the Civil War. His son Nathaniel, another grocer, constructed the carriage way with room over at the north end of the original house. Nathaniel subdivided the house into four tenements for his children who survived into adulthood. In about 1730 Thomas Ruggles, a prominent clothier, modernised the house with a fine Georgian front, splendid staircase, pine panelling and the latest status symbol - the Venetian window in the room above the original carriageway. Following three generations of the Ruggles the property was owned by the Savills, another prominent clothier family, in time it belonged to the Smoothys, including the notorious solicitor Frederick and then a baker who had a bakehouse in the back yard.
Nos. 13 & 15 "Bradford House"
Built in the second half of the 16th century, originally on a T shaped plan with a cross wing at the south end, but C18 alterations and additions made the plan irregular. The first floor was originally jettied at the front, but is now underbuilt. Note the interesting octagonal chimneys built from two inch Tudor bricks. The interior has a number of original features including 2 open fireplaces with carved wood fire surrounds, panelling, doors and a fresco painting on the ground storey. This was the residence of the famous Dr. Dale who kept the minutes of the Braintree Four and Twenty — the fore-runner to the modern Council — in the 17th century. In the 19th century it was home to two generations of local surgeons. In the early 20th century Alfred Holmes, solicitor and local historian lived here. In the late 20th century the house was a private hotel until 2015.
No. 11 "The Old House"
It has been postulated that these two houses, together with the northern part of No., 5, began as a 14th century H plan hall house. Very little remains of the original structure as extensive alterations took place about 100 years later. Part of the interior was lined with linen fold panelling, common in the 16th century. When the northern part of the original structure was divided into the two houses we now see approximately 1.7m of the panelling remained in No., 7 with only 20 cm visible in No., 9. There are 16th, 17th and 18th century doors remaining, some with original door furniture. The eastern extension of No., 9 towards the road is an 18th century addition and has the original roof gutter passing through the loft.
No. 7 & 9
An early Tudor octagonal chimney with filleted sides is concealed within the 18th century Mansard roof. The roof itself is not from the French influence but from an early English tradition designed to enable the use of shorter timbers. It is reputed to have housed three looms and a wool loft. In the 19th century it was the home of two generations of printers and publishers, who conducted business from a shed in the garden before moving in to premises in Braintree. In the mid 20th century it was owned by a jazz critic and Duke Ellington used to stay there.