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Medieval undercroft remains at Nos 50-52 High Street, Guildford

A Scheduled Monument in Holy Trinity, Surrey

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2351 / 51°14'6"N

Longitude: -0.5745 / 0°34'28"W

OS Eastings: 499616.94301

OS Northings: 149395.967888

OS Grid: SU996493

Mapcode National: GBR FCJ.KK3

Mapcode Global: VHFVN.0741

Entry Name: Medieval undercroft remains at Nos 50-52 High Street, Guildford

Scheduled Date: 4 April 2011

Last Amended: 6 July 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1400306

County: Surrey

Electoral Ward/Division: Holy Trinity

Built-Up Area: Guildford

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Guildford Holy Trinity and St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

Summary

The monument includes the truncated remains of a square medieval room below the ground floor of Nos. 50-52 High Street in Guildford.

Source: Historic England

Details

The undercroft is about 3.3m square and 1.5m high, built of chalk and includes an entrance to the south flanked by substantial stone door jambs, opposite which are a set of steps that end at the modern ceiling of the undercroft. This ceiling is formed by the modern floor joists and floor of the room above. The floor of the medieval undercroft is of beaten chalk and the east and west walls have blind arcades. The plinths of the engaged columns of the blind arcades are supported by a low stone ledge which continues around all four sides of the undercroft. There is an astragal on one of the columns of the east side of the undercroft, and the corners of the undercroft are of dressed chalk blocks. There are indications of surface treatment of the limewash at various places in the chamber suggestive of a painted pattern in red/pink, black and white.

The scheduling aims to protect the medieval undercroft including the blind arcades, the stone door jambs, steps, stone ledge, walls including fill to the rear, and the floor of the room. The scheduled area has a maximum width of 5.5m and a maximum length of 5.5m to include the thickness of the undercroft walls and fill behind the walls (which may be the original backfill of the chamber when constructed and thus may include dating evidence for construction). The modern floor joists and floor of the room above, which forms a ceiling to the medieval undercroft, and the building above are not included in the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A domestic undercroft of the medieval period might comprise three, four or more vaulted bays depending upon the wealth of the owner. They were usually constructed of stone, fireproof and used for the storage of provisions or items of special value. Placed beneath a house they could thus be kept under close supervision. Although undercrofts are sometimes referred to as cellars, they were not necessarily built entirely below ground level, but, where they are sunken into the ground this can aid their preservation when the house either falls into disuse or is replaced by a later structure. All domestic undercrofts of the medieval period with significant surviving archaeological remains are considered worthy of protection.

The lower part of the medieval undercroft below Nos. 50 and 52 High Street, Guildford survives well and has good architectural detailing such as the blind arcades which are not paralleled in other known undercrofts. The site will contain further archaeological remains and deposits which have not yet been excavated which will relate to the construction, use and history of the undercroft. It will also contain environmental evidence relating to the undercroft and the surrounding area of medieval Guildford.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Websites
A Medieval synagogue in Guildford? , accessed from http://www.guildford.gov.uk/article/3254/A-Medieval-synagogue-in-Guildford
Other
Report comissioned by Vincent and Gorbing Chartered Architects written by Guildford Museum Excavation Unit: Evaluation of Test Pits Excavated Behind No’s 50-54 High Street Guildford (1996),

Source: Historic England

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