The timber framed part of the house consists of a one and a half storey open hall of three bays in size, with a separate cross wing two storeys in height with two bays which is jettied to the front. The walls are closely studded and shows this was a building of status. The wall plate has an edge halved scarf joint seen internally in the front wall of no 14. Wattle and daub panels are retained in some areas and on display at the former eastern gable wall.
The open hall can be seen by the internally attached wall plate supporting the first floor floor joists in all three bays and indicates an inserted floor to the whole of this earlier part of the building. The inserted main ceiling beam to the eastern bay is of a different timber whilst the inserted beam to the western bay is elaborately carved and appears reused from another building. The bay sizes are unequal with the eastern and central bays being similar, whilst the western bay is over one third wider again. This could suggest that this bay is an addition however the decorative pattern of windbracing to the rafters (curved braces to both front and rear pitches to the eastern and western bays with the central bay being unbraced) indicates that this was contemporary.
Whilst the ground floor timbers have been substantially altered and mostly removed following the insertion of the large central chimney stack at the abutment of the central and western bays, some evidence remains that the vertical studs at first floor level which divide these two bays from the western bay are original. The studs have carpenters marks which show that these are in their original place and therefore this western bay was separated from the eastern and central bays and open to the roof.
The apparent original western gable wall is braced and the tie beam is chamfered facing into the room. There are no signs of pegs for studs or slots and there are decorative curved braces. There is a suggestion of a chamfer to the small section of exposed rear face of the tie. This confirms that there was a further bay which was demolished to make way for the new two storey cross wing. It is impossible to state whether this hall was two or three bays in size or whether there was a further cross wing beyond, but for some reason possibly fire, collapse or a change in status, this part of the hall was demolished and replaced by the entirely freestanding two storey cross wing present today.
The original purpose of the eastern and central bays is not clear and may have formed the service end or chambers of the building. Further bays may have been present but residential use as the slots for the window shutters cut through peg holes for studs which would suggest that the windows were a later alteration. These bays have been significantly altered over the years as they have been adapted to suit the requirements of the owner/occupants. It may have been a longhouse type building with integral barn although this is an unusual format for this part of the country.
At some stage the central bay has been altered with the eastern tie beam relocated, creating a smaller central bay of approximately 2 metres in size. This has been rather crudely done and the tie beam just sits upon the wall plate without any additional support from a post. This suggests that this is a later alteration rather than earlier n the buildings history. The reason for the relocation would appear to be that when the first floor was inserted and separate rooms created, the chimney stack took up such a lot of space from the central bay that only a small narrow room was created. It would appear that at this time only one or two of the three flues were built (as all are serparate) and there was a small useable area in the remainder of the central bay. Later alterations following subdivision of the building into cottages probably required the best use of space. In doing so, at some time a further fireplace was added to heat the first floor room making the central bay too small to use as a room on its own. the partition below the tie beam was removed leaving a good sized room with a low height beam across the middle which would have been impractical hence its relocation to adjacent to the chimney breast.
The building appears to have been remodelled with the demolition of the other bay/bays and wings to the west of the hall, construction of a new jettied cross wing on the site of the remainder of the old hall, and with the insertion of the first floor to the hall, eastern and central bays, the central chimney stack and associated first floor windows. These windows were all set just below the wall plate level and were diamond mullioned with an integral shutter incorporated into the wall plate which can be seen by the grooves carved into the wall plate at first floor level and inserted mid rail at ground floor level. Below the window would have been an attached rail supporting the shutter which slid from side to side. In the eastern gable wall an original window has been reinstated with mullion and shutter. The cross wing appears to have been built at this time as the blocked windows in the western outside wall of the cross wing has similar grooves suggesting that it is contemporary with the remodelling
The central fireplace arrangement is typical of the 16th and 17th centuries and usually has the entrance in front of the void between the chimney and outside wall on one side and the staircase in the rear void. In this case, there is no surviving evidence to say that there was a door here at the front where one would normally be expected. The two fireplaces are set back to back and fill the whole of the shortened middle bay. The fireplace mantle beam to the western fire place is elaborately carved with a beam which has been reused as there is a decorative return at one end only and obviously came from a larger fireplace. This decoration is not matched to the eastern fireplace. The axial beam is also heavily carved and again maybe reused.
The cross wing end of the axial beam continues beyond the original truss, confirming that the floor was inserted once the cross wing was constructed as it is not actually tied in to the new cross wing either.
The cross-wing was constructed as an independant two bay, two storey unit with a jetty to the north elevation. This jetty was subsequently infilled with the bressumer beam cut out and a new front wall at ground floor level built flush with the first floor.
The whole cross wing was originally unheated. The ground floor appears to have consisted of a single room with a decorative mid axial beam to support the floor joists above. The first floor room also appears to have been open as a single room as there is no evidence of studwork to the middle truss below the tie beam and the tie beam is embellished with decorative curved braces which were meant to be on display.
The exposed floor joists are chamfered to the front ground floor room whilst the rear joists are plain, There is evidence of a window in the western elevation to the rear part of the room as the shutter groove is still visible. It appears to be contemporary with the windows fitted in the earlier part of the house. There may have been a window in the same wall in the front part of the wing but the evidence for this has been lost in the construction of a chimney breast in this wall in the 18th or 19th century with fireplaces to ground and first floors.
The position of the staircase to the cross wing is not clear. The joists to the southern end of the ground floor have been altered and the original stairs/ladder access may have been in this area or in the current stairwell. There is also a cut away section to the front room joists which may be a much later alteration to create a trapdoor type access to the room above for larger items of furniture.
The staircase to the infilled hall is likely to have been to one side of the fireplace, with the entrance being in the opposite recess creating the standard lobby entry typical of many houses of this period. There is a Tudor arched frame to the front door located at the eastern end of the front elevation which does not conform to the usual house plans as there is no evidence of a further wing to the east which would be insitu if the house had had an early screens passage arrangement. The door is not in its original position as there is a shutter groove partially within the doorway. The door itself is a more modern reproduction but the frame could have been reused from either its original position in a now demolished part of the building or from elsewhere.
Apotropaic marks which are symbols of superstition, are evident in all parts of the house marked on the wall plates, mid rails and ceiling joists and beams. There are many in the cross wing at ground floor level particularly to the front room ceiling joists close to the front wall where they are present to most joists. All of these marks are identical in style.
Further marks may become apparent in the eastern half of the house, but the timbers here are coated in black paint unlike the western half. The extensive amount of marks to the front room close to the front wall could indicate the presence of large windows/openings as this is a common position for such marks to be found. Many apotropaic marks are found next to windows, doors and fireplaces in order to ‘keep evil out’. It is possible that this property has at some time been a shop/workshop which typically in this period would have drop down shutter type windows which would double up as a trading counter. The marks which could be interpreted as an intertwined” VV” which is thought to mean Virgin of Virgins or could be interpreted as a “M” meaning Mary or interpreted as a butterfly mark which is described as “ incorporating the cross of St Andrew, was seen as a symbol of good luck and protection. In early runic script the bracketed X was an especially lucky letter. It was mainly used on window latches in the 17th and 18th centuries. The side brackets were seen as the jambs of a window or door and the cross was to block entry to evil.” (Worcestershire County Council Historic Environment and Archaeology Service – Averting Evil Evidence from Worcestershire Buildings Shona Robson-Glyde)
These marks are typical of medieval superstition of the 17th Century and frequently have religious roots asking for protection discretely, particularly with the Catholic and Protestant persecutions of the time.
World War II affected Pirton with this property badly damaged by a doodlebug bomb which landed on The Bury. Whilst the roof lost its tiled covering, the structural timbers were less affected, however a number of additional timbers were inserted where damage had occurred and metal plates used to hold together damaged sections.