Priory House, North Stoke Lane, North Stoke
Priory House, formerly No. 1 Naish’s Cottage, forms part of a row of three Grade II terraced cottages situated along the central road through the North Stoke village conservation area, within the Bath Green Belt and the Cotswolds AONB. Priory House dates to the late 17th/early 18th century, with the other two cottages likely dating to the mid-18th century. To the rear is a two-storey early 19th century Georgian extension in the Gothic style, with some unusual features of specific interest as highlighted in the D&A/Heritage Statement such as an oval window with lead glazing bar details in the shape of a cross.
We have no objections to the removal of the existing 21st century low-performance extension.
With regards to the proposed single-storey extension in ashlar and glazing, we feel this could be an acceptable addition which mostly utilises the existing extension’s footprint (with some proposed increase), and the use of glazing will ensure a lighter, more contemporary approach to the rear of a listed building. We would, however, highlight that this extension would completely obscure the first floor bedroom window, whereas the existing extension is situated beneath the sill; we would therefore recommend an extension design which is better tailored to preserve and enhance original features of merit on the main late 17th/early 18th century building body.
However, the Trust feels that the addition of a glazed mezzanine floor will result in direct harm to the appearance of both Grade II Priory House, and the attached Grade II listed cottages. We feel that the height of the mezzanine will challenge the height of the early 19th century extension and close off views of the extension’s currently exposed gable end, whilst obscuring features which the D&A/Heritage Statement highlight as “of high significance and also sensitive to change”, such as the unusual oval window and associated religious stone detailing. Whilst the frameless glass box has been selected to “facilitate views of significant 19th century details”, this will instead close off views of the external walls of the 19th century extension and limit their external readability as part of the building’s original envelope.
Furthermore, the mezzanine will ride up high over the flush eaves of the original roof, therefore obscuring the aesthetic continuity of the roofline across the three main cottages which clearly delineates the early, original plan form of the terrace. It will ultimately block the remaining view of the rear elevation of the original building, which we do not feel is suitably mitigated by the use of glass.
Therefore, we would strongly recommend that any rear extension is restricted to a single storey to preserve and enhance the remaining view of the original late 18th/19th century body of a Grade II listed building and the continuous shared roofline across all three cottages which visually highlights the terrace’s core historic plan form. Furthermore, we feel that the detailing of the early 19th century extension is of particular aesthetic and evidential interest due to its material illustration of the Priory House’s original association with Bath Abbey, and should remain exposed. We additionally feel it would be beneficial to consider an extension design which would better frame and reveal the first floor mullioned bedroom window, which appears to be an original feature.