The following are summary findings from projects completed by HBAC ltd
(note: as many of our properties are under private ownership, only examples that are already in the public domain have been provided)
Lewes, The Old Post Office, 65 High Street (NGR: TQ 41451 10032). A historic building assessment was prepared for the Old Post Office in September 2017 to assess the origin, development and significance of the building in advance of a programme of alterations.
The greater part of the extant external brickwork, roof-structure and floor-plan of the building dates to the turn of the 19th century and comprises the construction of the north – south oriented main range at the junction of the High Street and Watergate Lane. It is probable that parts of the walls on all but the south side of the building at basement level are surviving elements of earlier buildings. The thinner bricks used as quoins within the vaulted part of the basement indicate earlier activity, the brickwork consistent with 16th and 17th century work contrasting clearly in dimensions to the consistent late Georgian era work of most of the main range.
By 1851 the house had been converted to a Quaker School, remaining as such until 1876 when it became the residence of the Morris family and the location of the post office. In 1934 the building underwent a programme of modernisation with a re-opening event dated to the 1st of October that year. The building remained in use as a post office until its closure in 2016 (HBAC).
(The Old Post Office, Lewes, winner of the Sussex Heritage Trust Commercial Award 2019)
Park Mill, Batemans, Burwash (TQ 67051 23586) A Historic Building Record was prepared to establish the mills’ origin and evolution.
Park Mill is a long rectangular plan building comprising a two-storeys-plus-attics domestic dwelling at its southern end and a mill at its northern end. The mill proper is roofed at right angles to the domestic dwelling in a similar manner to a cross-wing. The combined house and mill had occupied the site by 1785, however, the structural evidence extant within the building indicates that the mill and its link were substantially rebuilt or replaced in their entirety by John Skinner (junior) in 1795. The house was subsequently modernised, perhaps in line with the date of 1810 inscribed into the living kitchen fireplace bressumer. Some 18th century fabric remains in situ at the north end of the dwelling, particularly within the roof, the construction details stylistically commensurate with that of the late 18th century mill. The dwelling shows signs of rebuilding in the 19th century and alterations and interior reconfiguration in the 20th century.
The mill retains its historic machinery although its wheel had been removed by Rudyard Kipling upon purchase of the property (with Batemans) in 1902. Kipling replaced the wheel with a turbine to supply electricity to Batemans. The mill was allowed to deteriorate excepting the turbine. In 1969, a project was set up, driven by Dorothy Martin (subsequently awarded an MBE for her efforts) and supported by the National Trust to record and repair the mill with a view to producing flour. The project was successful, the mill repaired by a team of dedicated volunteers led by Jim Smith and the work completed by 1975.
Other periods of repair and maintenance have been required, notably in 1999 and 2004-5. The buildings remain subject to periodic inspection to identify any ongoing issues and initiate any necessary repairs required to secure the future of this important building.
Old Schoolhouse, Ewhurst Green
Ewhurst Green, The Old Schoolhouse (TQ 79523 24607). A heritage statement was prepared for the Old Schoolhouse to determine the origin, development and significance of the building in order to assess the impact on that significance of the building’s conversion in 1965.
The building was constructed in the late 17th century to a non-standard layout intended from the outset to provide a large open plan area in addition to a suite of domestic accommodation. A reference to a schoolhouse in the Survey of the Manor of Ewhurst dating to 1670, held at the Keep (AMS 474400) may be referring to this building as the open-plan part of the building, integral to its original construction, is very much conducive to a school house function, supplemented by a suite of domestic accommodation that was in effect a small lobby entry house (with integral rear-lean-to).
The building retained much of its original layout and function, despite encasement in brick in the early 18th century, until its ultimate conversion to domestic accommodation in its entirety in 1965.
Richmond House, Winchelsea (TQ 90662 17454) A Historic Building Assessment of Richmond House, Winchelsea, East Sussex was prepared in advance of a proposed scheme of alterations.
The phase 1 standing building remains represent part of the 18th century regeneration of Winchelsea rather than a survival of the town’s medieval origins. The earliest extant remains are those of a late 17th or early 18th century stone-built house that had comprised a two-storey plus attics and cellar main range served by end chimney stacks. The main range was supplemented by a probable single storey rear outshot, separated from the principal accommodation by a timber partition. The rear outshot had provided ancillary service accommodation and stair access to the upper floors. The cellar below the main range has no discernible medieval features commensurate within those of known medieval origin within the town.
A cross-wing was added to the south end at the turn of the 19th century and the earlier building was modernised resulting in its current coherent external appearance. The late 19th and early 20th century saw several additions and alterations, including the majority of the roughcast rendered finish to the house. Richmond House was substantially re-roofed during the late 20th century following fire-damage.
Shortbridge: Forge Cottage (NGR TQ 44994 21472; Fletching parish) (Site Seaford: 12 High Street (NGR TV 48325,98909; Seaford parish). (Site code: HSS17. Director: Diccon Hart).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out in September 2017 during groundworks associated with the construction of an extension to the rear of the Grade II listed early 19th century building. The earliest deposit observed comprised an undated layer of redeposited brickearth, into which a medieval pit of 13th-mid 14th century date was cut. This was sealed by a thick ground raising dump deposit of earlier 18th century date, over which a rammed chalk yard surface was laid and a masonry cess pit constructed. A small outbuilding was constructed in the later 18th-early 19th century, along with a small brick lined soakaway and a rubbish pit. Both the outbuilding and soakaway were subsequently rebuilt in the later 19th century. During the course of the earlier 20th century the outbuilding was demolished, the soakaway infilled and the entire yard area surfaced with a cement screed (HBAC).
Fantasy House, Elm Grove Lane, Steyning, West Sussex, BN44 3SA
HB Archaeology and Conservation Ltd were commissioned by George Baxter Associates Ltd to undertake an archaeological watching brief during groundworks associated with alterations to Fantasy House, Steyning.
Natural geology was observed only in the far north of the site, at 18.92m above Ordnance Datum. The earliest archaeological activity on the site is of medieval date and consisted of evidence for small scale quarrying and the masonry foundations of two successive buildings. Available dating evidence indicates much of this activity dates to the Late medieval period, between c. 1350/75 and 1525/50, though the earliest activity is in fact undated and may be of earlier medieval date. Post-medieval activity appears to be entirely external in character, consisting of an initial phase of landscaping activity and refuse disposal dating to c. 1525/50 – 1750, followed by additional pitting in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the early 20th century the site was once again landscaped with the importation of a horizon of garden soil.