At a recent AGM of the Romsey and District Buildings Preservation Trust (RDBPT), Mr Kevin Stubbs, its historic building advisor, gave a detailed, illustrated lecture describing the renovation of a beautiful medieval farmhouse in Nursling. 

Bargain Farmhouse is a classic, timber-framed and thatched building, with a Grade II listing, and is one of only a few examples of its type remaining in the Southampton area. 

The building structure is centred around four massive oak frames encompassing three main bays with a “half-bay” under a cat-slide roof at the eastern end. 

Early difficulties in obtaining Listed Building Consent delayed the renovation for nearly a year. When work commenced, a large inglenook fireplace was uncovered in bay two, with a fine, moulded oak surround suggesting that the building had originally been constructed for a person of high status.

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Dendrochronogical (tree ring) and oxygen isotope dating established that the building was constructed in 1600/1601, although a few timbers were second-hand, reflecting the shortage of oak at that time, because of the high demands for ship-building.

The timber frame of the building was extensively repaired and the roof was beautifully rethatched with water reed on fire-retardant calcium silicate boards. 

Hampshire Chronicle: The newly thatched farmhouse
Three small rooms at the eastern end were remodelled to form an attractive, modern kitchen, adjacent to the dining room in bay three. 

Hampshire Chronicle: The dining room with the kitchen in the background

An additional major timber frame repair involved the replacement of the complete sill beam on the front elevation which entailed successfully jacking-up the walls to inset the new timber. 

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The interior of the building has been completely transformed by the application of insulating material to all the walls on the ground floor followed by replastering to a very high standard using traditional lime plaster. The upper floor, with its three bedrooms, has also been re-plastered throughout and a bathroom, with bath, shower, wash-basin and lavatory, has been built new gas central heating has been installed and total electrical rewiring has been carried out.  The interior is sensitively decorated throughout and the dining room and kitchen are fitted with hard-wearing wood-effect flooring. The remaining ground floor rooms and the three bedrooms rooms are carpeted.  

Hampshire Chronicle: The main bedroom in bay three

The rear entrance porch has been extended and modernised to provide a downstairs lavatory and wash basin and also houses the new gas boiler and central heating controls. 

A major addition to the property has been the construction of a new timber-framed garage/utility building to the west of the main farmhouse. There is a garage, a utility space for a washing machine etc., a lavatory and also a useful storeroom. On the first floor is a large room of some 35 square metres that could be used as an office for working from home, for a gymnasium, as a company premises or for additional bedroom accommodation, subject to the necessary permissions.

The interior of the main farmhouse is spacious and exquisitely attractive since the many oak beams have been carefully cleaned to remove unsightly surface paint. The impressive inglenook fireplace provides a stunning focus for the ground floor.  

Hampshire Chronicle: The restored inglenook fireplace in bay two

Bargain Farmhouse is now on the market and whosoever purchases the property will become the owner of a unique and beautiful home. The Trust is confident that the restoration will ensure that this very rare and special gem of a property has hundreds of years more of life. The restoration is a fitting testimonial to the work of the Trust which is about to begin its fiftieth year of operation.

By Peter Shoolingin-Jordan 
Chairman - Romsey and District Buildings Preservation Trust