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Fitznell's, Chessington Road, Ewell: IV

1989/3 pp3–4


Fitznells, Chessington Road, Ewell: IV


In the mid nineteenth century Fitznells was owned by John Mower farming 337 acres (including land at North Looe). This greatly enlarged holding provided funds for the erection of the present south block, which was the last major building operation at the house, until those now underway.


The new works included the reconstruction of the existing timber-framed south wall in brickwork, destroying the jetty, and certain internal reorganisation. Although the new block had brick walls these were pebbledashed in panels at first floor, the whole being under a slate roof. On the south and east sides a verandah was erected, constructed of rustic timberwork with a corrugated iron roof, and continued across the existing building on the east side to just beyond the hall door. French doors were provided on the east front to the new rooms, and also to the room between the new block and the hall. Above the latter was inserted a six-pane sash window similar to those in the south block at first floor; at ground floor the sashes are of three-pane design.


Internally the new accommodation provided two fine reception rooms with plaster decoration to the ceilings, and good period fireplaces on the ground floor, plus a passage with four rooms and passages over. All the new rooms were provided with a fireplace and the south rooms of Phase I were also provided with a chimneystack to serve both rooms. All the French windows were provided with folding shutters, as was the window on the south wall of the main ground floor room. A vertical shutter was provided to the ground floor, whilst external louvred shutters were fitted at the first floor on the windows on the south and west elevation of the new build.


A new entrance was created in the southern bay of Phase III with a black, red and cream tiled floor and a small gothic-style grate, which was inserted into the back of the existing stack, necessitating a small grate to be provided for the adjacent room. The external door in the central gable of the west wall was blocked, and the window above the new entrance increased in depth with transom lights introduced. The porch was not erected until after, and was built close to, a former cesspit perhaps constructed during the previous phase. A simple York stone flag was used for the floor, and a terracotta tile built into the gable. Brick was used for the walls and slate the roof, and it remained an open porch until about 20 years ago.


To gain access to the first floor of the new block from the old the attic floor was raised to the wall plate level in the south room of Phase III, and a short stairway formed, with a hatch to the attic that now had its window blocked. The stairs between ground and first floor were replaced in a similar location to those previously in use, but now blocking the door between the two sides of the old house between the corresponding outer doors. In the larger of the two rooms over the solar, the west wall was over-clad in match boarding covered with hessian and repapered. The walls of the stair and the newly created upper hall were mainly battened, covered in hessian, and papered, as part of the uplift.


At the south end of the property the agricultural extension had been built by the mid nineteenth century, and the kitchen adapted to cater for the increased needs of the farm. This included the insertion of a brick built bread oven in the northwest corner, and a copper to the side of the fireplace. The latter may have been for brewing, and the flues were fitted out as bacon smoking lofts.


Ian West

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