Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ice house at Ascott House, 190m north west of Ascott Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Stadhampton, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.6794 / 51°40'45"N

Longitude: -1.116 / 1°6'57"W

OS Eastings: 461219.504

OS Northings: 198213.779822

OS Grid: SU612982

Mapcode National: GBR B1F.LP9

Mapcode Global: VHCY9.L1WX

Entry Name: Ice house at Ascott House, 190m north west of Ascott Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 July 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020969

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30849

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Stadhampton

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Little Milton

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes an early and unusual combined ice house and granary
situated close to a later dovecote within the grounds of Ascott House.
The ice house, which is a Listed Building Grade II, was constructed in
the 1660s as part of a planned layout including a house which unfortunately
burned down before completion. The finished ice house was retained and
incorporated into later phases of the park's design.
The structure is octagonal in plan and stands two storeys high with the
lower floor occupied by the ice house and the upper floor by the granary.
The ice house chamber measures 7.5m high internally beneath a domed roof
which forms the support for the granary floor above. The chamber floor is
partly subterranean and is entered by means of a passageway with doors at
the internal (bottom) and external (top) ends, linked by a flight of eight
The ice chamber contains a central drain 1m in diameter, built into the
floor and fed by a gulley, both of which are constructed of brick. The
granary above has an identical floor plan to the ice house but includes a
series of vents set in the walls below the roof line.
The roof is supported by a wooden frame and is thatched. The building was
restored in 1975.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice,
usually removed in winter from ponds and used in the summer for preserving
food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England
since the early 17th century. These were initially built only by the upper
level of society, but by the end of the 18th century they were commonplace.
They continued to be built throughout the 19th century, when huge examples
were established by the fishing industry, as well as for use in towns.
Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic
refrigerators in the early 20th century.
Of the thousands originally built, some 1500 icehouses have been positively
identified through a combination of archaeological and documentary research.
Although a relatively common class, most recorded examples with surviving
remains will be considered to be of national interest and appropriate for
consideration for either scheduling or listing. They are also generally
regarded as a significant component of local distinctiveness and character.

The ice house at Ascott House, 190m north west of Ascott Farm is notable
on account of the early date of the building and unusual because of its
two storey construction and dual purpose, serving two functions which
are more commonly accommodated in separate buildings. It retains many
internal features and although restored, has not lost its archaeological
integrity. The structure shows a carefully planned strategy for storing
food stuff: grain throughout the winter and perishable goods throughout
the warmer months of the year. It provides a fascinating insight into the
household management of Ascott House, and into how the developing tastes
and expectations of its inhabitants could be met by the technology of the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hansell, P, Hansell, J, Doves and Dovecotes, (1988), 208
OXFORDSHIRE 2, O.A.U., MPP Ice House Assessment, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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