House. Dated 1610 and 1613. For Jacob and Ruth Astill. C18 alterations and extensions and restoration, internal alterations and rebuilding of one gable wall in 1935 for Sir Frank Craven.
Exterior. Timber framed on cobble plinth, with brick nogging in square panels with some arch bracing. Swithland slate roof with brick central ridge and right end stacks. Originally 3-unit lobby-entry plan with additional cross-wing on right. Later extension to service end which includes a projection of single storey and attic on far left. 2 storeys and attic. Windows appear to be all of 1935 and have leaded lights with some stained glass panels. In the main range 4 lower casement windows and 3 above at varying levels. one dormer in the roof and a tall axial stack with further stack on left gable end. Projecting cross wing is jettied and has canted oriel bay window to ground and first floors: on the head of the lower the date 1613 with initials A over IR. Right end projecting stack. Square panel framing overall. The original wattle and daub infill was repalced with brick nogging in 1935 using small bricks which may have been re-used. Smaller brick wing to far left with one upperlight. Doors and lean-tos on left end. Rear now has main entrance in gabled porch, square-panel framing as on front leaded casements and two gabled dormers. Brick rebuilt gable to left.
Interior:- The plan survives with lobby (original entrance now blocked) in front of back-to-back fireplaces. That to left still with original bressumer with lead-filled carved date 1610 and IRA. Staircase well behind now has 1935 staircase which continues to attic in a former bedroom space now open to the roof. the heavy jowled posts of the main frame are mainly visible as are the bridging beamsand joists. The former have wide plain chamfers typical of the early C17 and plain stops. The joists are chamfered in the right (viewed from road) ground floor unit. The cross-wing ground floor room has a C20 character with covered beams. Framing of heavy scantling with corner bracing visible in part as are roof trusses. The main roof has coupled and pegged rafters along the whole length and original purlins in the staircase hall area. Elsewhere the purlins have been replaced at a different height. In the principal bedroom on the cross-wing first floor one bridging beam could be original, the other appears to have originally been a gable-end tie beam and may have been that on the original rear gable end wall which was rebuilt in 1935 (initials and dates). There is an unusual ensuite bathroom of 1935 complete with fittings, cupboards and lights and with fine tiling in art deco panels in two shades of green.
HISTORY: Jacob and Ruth Astill built the house in 1610-1613 (there is a carved date and initials on the wall post of the right unit room as well as the earlier date on the fireplace bressumer). The Astills remained owners until the late C17 or early C18 when the freehold was acquired by Richard Benskin (1671-1756). The Benskins remained in occupation as brewers and malsters until the death of Edward Stanton Benskin in 1934. The house was then bought and restored by Sir Frank Craven.
This fine yeoman's house retains much of its original plan form and structure including good wall framing, the main roof structure and an open fireplace.
Sources: Leics CRO and information from current owners which included an account of the work undertaken in 1935 as related by Mr R W Dalby who was one of the restoration team employed.