17th – 19th Century Buildings In Holystone Village : P F Ryder
Priory Farm stands immediately to the west of the churchyard, on the opposite side of a minor north-south road. This is the 'exotic-looking walled farmyard' then called 'The Curtain' which Honeyman suggests may have been the site of a Roman fortlet and later a Pre-Conquest church. The farmhouse on the north side of the yard is a doorway with a segmental arched head within a square chamfered surround, and some chamfered windows (perhaps enlarged) that would seem to point to a 17th Century date; there is also evidence at the west end that it was originally a building of one or two very low storeys, later raised to its present height.
Picture : Priory Farmhouse Holystone
The chamfered windows of the present first floor would at first sight suggest that this heightening took place prior to their insertion (ie that the lower walling could be pre-17th century) but it is possible that their chamfered jambs have been re-used. The walls of the house little more than 0.6 m thick, which is surprisingly thin for any building before c1700 hereabouts. Inside there are few old features, other than a fireplace at the east end with a chamfered stone jamb and a heavy timber lintel, the southern part of which has been cut through to allow the insertion of a door communicating with the 19th-century cottages that adjoin this end of the building. There are traces of a small fire window in the south wall.
The range on the west side of the yard is currently undergoing conversion. Its northern part is formed by an old barn with heavy squared stone of late 17th or early 18th Century character; here again there is clear evidence for heightening in its junction with the adjacent building on the south, which added as a two storey block before the older building was raised. In its north wall is an odd doorway with a chamfer to its jambs that ends in neatly curved stops below the lintel; one possibility could be that it originally had a shouldered arch, and another that earlier stonework has been re-used.
The most distinctive feature of the farm buildings are seen on the south side of the yard, at each end of which stand small tower- or pavilion like block, with stone flag roofs gabled east-west; although both have had dovecotes in their upper parts, their function must have been in part decorative; they stand at the top of a steep natural scarp that falls away to the south.
Whilst the Roman fortlet and Anglian church site suggested by Honeyman remain totally conjectural, it is possible that Priory Farm represents the outer court of the medieval nunnery. The lie of the land would seem to suggest that the claustral buildings lay on the north rather than the more usual south side of the church, in which case one would probably find the outer court precisely in this position, adjacent to the cloister on the west. The large square courtyard arrangement of the Priory Farm buildings – itself an unusual form for a post-medieval farm in this area – could perpetuate this, although it seems unlikely that medieval fabric survives here above ground.
The Salmon Inn
Now a private house, this appears to have originally been an 18th-century cross-passage house of one-and-a-half storeys, later heightened; the front door has a chamfered surround and there are traces of the original upper windows below the later half-dormers.
Picture : The Old Salmon Inn Holystone
Outbuilding to Woodbine Cottage
In the garden of a 19th Century cottage, an attractive little building, probably of the later 18th Century with some good vernacular features in its raised gable coping using large triangular stones and roof of pantiles with stone slates to the eaves. Inside is an old fireplace, but the roof timbers have been renewed.
On the south side of the road; its most notable feature, is the close-jointed square stone of the lower part of its north wall, which, it has been suggested, may be medieval masonry, although perhaps re-used. There are traces of an older opening, possibly with a crude arched head, beside an inserted window in its west end. The south side has been heavily altered, but re-set in the wall of a modern porch are the upper part of a 12th Century cross slab, and beneath the window of a small extension at the east end the sill of a medieval window. A fragment of a medieval window head lies at the foot of the wall beneath. The site of the old mill appears to have been a little to the south of this building.
Picture : Mill House Holystone