The Old School House, Stalisfield

Working for a private client, Clague Architect’s specialist conservation buildings team was engaged to restore and repair large sections of a Grade II listed medieval house. Located in Stalisfield, The Old School House had fallen victim to widespread decay. This challenging project utilised a range of traditional building methods and materials in order to lovingly restore its 15th century vernacular. The previous unsympathetic repairs were mitigated, and the team was able to design and construct a bespoke garage and landscape for the surrounding land, including terraces and gabion walling.

The Old School House project, originally a Wealden Hall House built for a Kentish yeoman, began when the Clague was asked to look at the internal planning and restore the building’s original arrangement of space.

Unsympathetic 20th century repairs to the building had caused damage and increased the rate at which the original timber frame was decaying resulting in large-scale decay. Unable to work from the inside out due to existing lath and plaster, it was agreed to work from the outside in, removing existing cement render.

Working closely with structural engineers Holt and Wooten and Colman Contractors, we used a range of traditional building methods and materials to fit the 15th century vernacular of the timber frame.

Carefully removing recent cement panels and replacing them with a wood fibre insulation board and lime mortar – forming a ‘breathable’ wall – allowing moisture to evaporate from structure instead of trapping it behind cement render.

The careful rectification of unsympathetic previous repairs was extremely time intensive.

We re-instated the double-height main hall window and the diamond mullions to introduce more light into an otherwise dark property. Working with a local carpenter to install a top hung screen ensured the original main hall of the house could be ventilated.

We were able to secure listed building approval for the use of thin double-glazing for the new casement windows – unusual for a Grade II listed building.

To finish the project, we designed and constructed a bespoke garage and landscaped the surrounding land, banking land for terraces and gabion walling.