Area One - Adjacent to Hitchin
Oak Public House - Grade II Listed
The Royal Oak comprises an 18th/early 19th century brick built house (though some portions may well be earlier) with a timber extension and a timber barn adjacent. A 19th century handpump is located a the front of the brick building. An unidentified house apprears on this site on the Andrews county map of 1766. Its first recorded use as a public house dates from 1818 when the licence was owned by the Hitchin brewers W&J Lucas.
This is a site of outstanding historical importance and the most significant single site within the area of the proposed development. Almshoe Bury farm is probably constituted of the St Ippolyts demesne lands dating from the Saxton period and was the largest landholding in that parish. It may have been held initially by Aelfhelm (Abbreviated to Alm) whose fortified dwelling most likely lay to the east of the existing house. The present site has probably been in agricultural use at least since the 13th century. It retains the characteristics of a hilltop stronghold and enjoys sweeping views over the adjacent countryside.
Almshoe Bury Barn - Grade II Listed
Situated at the northeast end of the farm, this barn dates from the 17th century and is timber framed, weather-boarded and slated.
Although the context of ancient countryside has been eroded, this site remains of key importance and the proposed development would wholly destroy a complex which has so far survived for over 600 years.
The Wyck (or Wick) is a 16th century timber framed building with a tiled roof with some adjacent stabling, possibly 19th century. Most of the framing is in-filled with layers of roofing tiles with only the rectangular panels using brick. Some of the roof trusses and ceiling beams are probably original.
The earliest reference to the house seems to date to 1579. It was originally a hall house with a parlour wing of two storeys to the south and a service wing to the north reached from a cross passage whose blocked entrance can still be seen from the outside. The brick chimney stack was most likely inserted subsequent to the original construction of the house.
By the late 18th century the house was the centre of a prosperous farm and was described as having a kitchen, two pantries, brewhouse, small beer drinkhouse, ale cellar, dairy, best chamber, maids and man servants rooms and several barns. It subsequently fell on harder times, being divided to provide five farm labourers cottages. It was only returned to a single house in the late 19th century at which time it was much restored.
Farmhouse Hotel- Grade II* Listed; & Granary - Grade II
A fine 15th century timber framed house with additions made in the 17th century and a new red brick and tile-hung front added in the late 19th century, after c1885. A sale catalogue of 1887 mentions "a well proportioned drawing room with walnut panelled sides".
An important range of Listed Grade II 17th and 18th century timber framed and weather boarded farm buildings survives, including a granary.
House - Grade II Listed
An early 19th century stuccoed brick house with hipped slated roof. It originally had a typical symmetrical classical form but was subsequently extended later in the century.
(No photo; permission withheld)
A late medieval hall house of timber framed construction with cross wings, rendered with a clay tile roof and probably dating from the 16th century with 17th century additions.
- Grade II Listed
Probably a 17th century timber framed building clad in brick (probably mainly 18th century) with a thatched roof (now rare in North Hertfordshire) and much restored and extended after 1984.
Titmore Farmhouse and Barns - Grade II Listed
A 16th century timber framed house with a clay tile roof. In the 18th century the side of the house nearest the lane was faced with red brick and some tile hanging. The timber framed, weather boarded and tiled outbuildings date at least from the 18th century.