Parts of this building date from the 14th century, beginning as a small structure measuring approximately 18 ft. long as indicated in the drawing (Fig. 1) by the letters X and Y. It was the property of the Lord of the Manor of Ashford, and throughout much of its early history acquired the name of ‘The Cage’ from a small underground gaol leading out of its cellar (still existing, but blocked up).
In the 16th century, the first-ﬂoor was extended and supported on pillars to form a small market-stall area (Fig. 2). During the restoration in 1981/2 an oak traceried window (Fig. 3) of circa 1400 date was discovered, indicating that the building was of some importance, probably a Market Hall.
In the early years of the 17th century, the roof was raised and the front covered with decorative plaster- work known as pargetting. This had deteriorated badly and was removed and restored during the restoration. (A full account by the author appeared in Volume 101 of Archaeologia Cantiana, published by the Kent Archaeological Society, and may be consulted in the Reference Library of Ashford Library.)
Fig. 4 illustrates one of the decorative roof- brackets to be seen on the premises. Others, each have a differently carved design, are made of oak and in excellent condition after more than 300 years. Fig. 5 shows the very large carved bracket supporting the 17th-century extension overhanging the lane to the west of the building. Fig. 6 shows a completely contrasting roof-bracket to be seen at No. 54 High Street (Reference No. 4) illustrating how the style of pavement decorative art had changed in less than a century.
1A and 1B Middle Row
This range of buildings was built against the old No. 1. The roofs show that the range comprises three separate houses, so they were built at different times, probably starting with the easterly one facing down the High Street. This has the characteristic gable. The next buildings have progressively rising roofs. This can be seen when looking up the High Street, the tallest one can be seen peeping over No. 1 when viewed from North Street. The last two appear to have always been used for commercial purposes.
Briscall W., 1987, Discovering Ashford’s Old Buildings, Ashford, LRB Historical Publications
Name: 1A, MIDDLE ROW, 1, MIDDLE ROW
Date first listed: 24-Sep-1951
- 5344 MIDDLE ROW 24.9.51. No 1 24.9.51. No 1A TR 0142 NW 1/29II GV
- A C16 timber-framed building, much altered. 2 storeys and attics. The east front is of brown brick with 2 gables faced with roughcast. The north front is of brown brick on the ground floor and above much renewed pargetting with lozenges and circles in strapwork motifs. Tiled roof with 1 gabled dormer. 2 gables with enriched bargeboards and attic windows. 1st floor windows modern. Modern shop front.
All the items in Middle Row form a group.
Listing NGR: TR0104442804