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The College

The College

The building is now the Vicarage. For an under- standing of the house it is necessary to look at its history and its original purpose, i.e., a College of Chantry Priests of which the present building is only a part.

When Sir John Fogge of Repton, a wealthy and powerful friend of Edward IV, rebuilt Ashford Church with the intention of making it a collegiate church, he aimed at completing his grand scheme by building the College in the churchyard. The College was endowed in 1461 and the building followed in 1468.

The plan of the College (Fig. 2) is based on the details recorded by William Warren, a curate, in 1712. In 1765, the parts of the building which had become ruinous were demolished and the south wing widened and encased in brick, giving it the Georgian appearance as seen today, but leaving untouched the close-studded section.

Architectural Details:

Fortunately the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England has made a detailed survey of the building. Our account here is necesarily brief.

The principal close studded section is one of four bays, i.e., there are five thick upright main posts standing on a stone plinth.

The bay window is of doubtful origin. Although this main section (the Hall) was slightly longer, this window is much too near the comer of the room. Between this window and the door, each side of the third thick upright post, there used to be two four- light windows (seen in an engraving in Pearman’s book, Ashford, its Church, Vlcars, College arid Grammar School, 1886 ).The doorway itself has a very late Tudor arch.

Fig. 1 – Carved door head in screens passage

In the bay window are three stained glass roundels about 8 inches in diameter: (1) White Rose of York, (2) Anns of Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII, (3) The Royal Arms (Tudor). During its heyday the College had a magnificent display of heraldic glass, but these panels are all that remain.

The oak panelled screen in the cross-passage has very fine carved spandrels to the two doorways (Fig. 1).

Fig. 2 – Plan showing original lay-out of the College

The following details list the rooms with their original purpose and their present use.

  • A. Hall. Later a kitchen, then a dining room and at one time a schoolroom. The north wall (hatched) was rebuilt in 1765.
  • B. Stairs. Enclosed in a stair turret, a device more common when an open hall was floored over and the stairs added externally. Here, there is no doubt that the house was built with a floor.
  • C. Cross Passage. The broken lines probably represent the original screen with its two doors (X1). At some time the screen was moved to its present position (x2). Earlier the stairs went from the hall.
  • D. Warren writes that this was the Buttery, with its hatches.
  • E. He describes this as a large kitchen, now the Lounge.
  • F. He says that there were three ‘ground rooms’ behind the kitchen. There is some evidence that they were here.
  • G1/G2. These rooms were probably studies, but now a sitting room and a study. The east wall of G has exposed timbers.
  • H. This area may have contained stairs to the chambers above as in other similar colleges, e.g., Cambridge, Peterhouse.
  • J. The corridor and new stairs were formed when the ‘modernisation’ was carried out when Dr. Andrew was vicar (1765-1774).
  • K. Porch (conjectural).
  • L. Gate House and wicket gate (conjectural).
  • M. The Parlour, according to Warren.
  • N. This section was probably similar to G/G.
  • O. The Courtyard.

Briscall W., 1987, Discovering Ashford’s Old Buildings, Ashford, LRB Historical Publications

List Entry


List entry Number: 1184332 ➚

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1951

  1. 5344 THE CHURCHYARD (East Side) The College TR 0142 NW 1/48 24.9.51. II* GV
  2. Founded in the reign of Edward IV as the Vicarage, but moot of this building was demolished in the C18. L-shaped building. The north wing is timber framed with plaster infill. 2 storeys. Tiled roof with eaves cornice. 3 modern casement windows. The west wing dates from the C18. 2 storeys red brick. Cornice and parapet, 3 sashes with glazing bars intact. Painted wooden doorcase with pediment, rusticated pilasters and 6 panel door.

All the items in the Churchyard form a group, together with Nos 51 to 61 (odd) 61A, 63 to 67 (odd). 67A, 69 to 71 (odd). 75 and the rear part of No 75. High Street.

Listing NGR: TR0106142703


List entry Number: 1071115

Grade: II

Date first listed: 04-Jun-1976

  1. 5344 THE CHURCHYARD (East Side) Wall to south-west of The College TR 0142 NW 1/48A II GV
  2. C18 red brick wall with some grey headers, about 10 feet in height.

All the items in the Churchyard form a group, together with Nos 51 to 61 (odd) 61A, 63 to 67 (odd). 67A, 69 to 71 (odd). 75 and the rear part of No 75. High Street.

Listing NGR: TR0103942678