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Record details

BCC record ID:0422700000
Type of record:Monument
Summary:Sixteenth century timber-framed inn called the King's Arms Hotel, extended in the 1930s to include adjacent building.
Grid Reference:SU 95675 97320

AMERSHAM, Chiltern, Buckinghamshire

Monument type(s)

  • INN (16th Century - 1500 AD to 1599 AD)
  • (Former) HALL HOUSE (16th Century - 1500 AD to 1599 AD)
  • (Alternate) TIMBER FRAMED HOUSE (16th Century - 1500 AD to 1599 AD)

Associated finds: none recorded

Protected status

  • Listed Building

Public access information

Is the site accessible to the public?Yes
Is the site visible from a public viewpoint?Yes

Full description

Grade II*. C16 and later; formerly two properties, combined, renovated and altered in 1936. Timber framed with colour-washed plaster infill, red brick infill to east flank wall. Old tile roof, two large brick stacks with octagonal shafts. Two storeys. Central carriage arch. Sections east of this refaced 1936 and eastern gable and dormer added. Modern oak doors and leaded windows. Section west of carriageway is original, hall and cross-wing plan, two gables, jettied with first floor. Blocked arched openings between western gable, modern oak door and leaded casement windows. Rear elevation has three gables with exposed timber framing, two sash windows to first floor, small tiled lean-to east of carriageway along east wing, short central wing, and rear of 16th century cross-wing at west end. (RCHM I p8 MON 36 (east section) MON 37 (west section)) (B9).
The King's Head has 3 storeys and an L-shaped plan form. Built in the 16th century of brick and timber (now much altered), the roof is tiled and the front modern with a large gateway at the western end heightened in the 18th century to admit stage coaches. At the back there are three gables and at the southern end there is a short gabled wing. A room on the ground floor has an original moulded ceiling beam. The stable at the back of the building is probably also 16th century. No 47 High Street was built in the 15th century, enlarged in the 16th century, and again in the 17th and 19th centuries. It is of two storeys, H-plan form, and built of timber frames with brick filling covered with plaster. It has been partly restored with modern brick. The roof is tiled. It is particularly interesting because of the medieval work that remains (B2).
Background history is provided in the report of a building investigation undertaken in 2001. Old Amersham stands on one of two old roads running through Buckinghamshire. In 1637, 33 stage coach services per week were passing through the town. The earliest refernces to the Kings Arms appears in the Quarter Sessions Records of 1756, which refers to licences granted to innkeepers. From 1756-62 the licence was held by James Wilson; 1767-8 by Francies Purdames; and 1772-81 by John Cook. A map of Amersham dated 1742 shows the property belonged to a Mr Wingfield. The OS map of 1925 shows the existence of two outbuildings at right angles to the Harness Room. The front of the building running parallel to the street is the oldest structure. The roof shows two bays exposed to an open hearth and one bay free of soot as a result of a closed truss. This suggests that the structure was originally a 15th century open hall with a chamber block on the western end of the building. The floor boards are 17-18th century. The rafters at the front of the building were replaced in the 20th century. During the 16th century upper floors and a brick chimney were inserted. The longitudinal beam has double hollow mouldings typical of the later 15th century. During the 18th century a dog leg staircase was inserted with Tuscan columns balusters on squared blocks. At the western end another 18th century staircase has been inserted. The timber framed cross-wing on the eastern side of the complex is of later date than the original 15th century open hall, with the roof suggesting a 16th century build date with 18th century conversion. The SW facing gable demonstrates the structure's termination and timber weathering suggests the remodelling. There is a large chimney serving a former fireplace and bread oven. The buiilding has three significant floors (B6).

Sources and further reading

<1>Bibliographic reference: BCM CAS RECORD CARD 4227.
<2>Bibliographic reference: RCHM BUCKS 1 PP8-9.. Mon 36 & 37
<4>Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. OS RECORD CARD SU 99 NE 21.
<5>Map: O.S. 1975 50 INCH MAP..
<6>Unpublished document: Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2001. The Kings Arms, High St.,Old Amersham.
<7>Unpublished document: Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2001. The Kings Arms, High St., Old Amersham: An Archaeological Evaluation.
<8>Unpublished document: Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2000. The Kings Arms, High St., Old Amersham, Bucks..
<9>Bibliographic reference: DoE. 1984. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Buckinghamshire: Chiltern District: Parishes of Amersham, Chesham Bois and Coleshill. p48
<10>Article in serial: Francis W Reader. 1933. 'Tudor Mural Paintings in the Lesser Houses in Bucks', in Recs of Bucks Vol 12 pp368-398 & Plates I-XIV. Vol 12, No 7. pp383-6; Plate XIII
<11>Unpublished document: The Archaeological Consultancy. 2006. A Conservation of Buildings Research Analysis: The Building to the rear of the Kings Arms, Amersham.

Associated excavations and fieldwork

  • EBC16277: Evaluation trial trenching and building recording (Ref: KAA 00/60)

Related monuments


No image caption available  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilAmersham Market Hall  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilKing's Arms Hotel, Amersham  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilKing's Arms Hotel, Amersham  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilKing's Arms Hotel, Amersham  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilKing's Arms Hotel, Amersham  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilAmersham High Street  © Buckinghamshire County CouncilKing's Head, Amersham  © Buckinghamshire County Council


No image caption available  © Buckinghamshire County Council

No image caption available © Buckinghamshire County Council