Wolverhampton's Listed Buildings

Old Merridale Farm

Merridale Lane

As it was in the 1990s.

Listing: The Old Farmhouse and Dairy. II. House, subdivided. Late Medieval; remodelled circa early C17, extended circa C18 and with C20 alterations. Timber-framed, partly rebuilt and extended in brick, now all rendered. Gable-ended roof, cladding stripped off. Truncated axial, lateral and gable-end brick stacks.

PLAN: Hall and cross-wing; the cross-wing on the right [north] is late Medieval, its first floor was jettied on three sides and its ground floor divided into two rooms, the larger at the front. The main range was probably the site of the Medieval hall, rebuilt with two storeys and an attic in circa early C17 probably when the first floor of the cross-wing was rebuilt.

In about the C18 the walls of the hall range were rebuilt in brick, a 1-storey and attic 1-bay range was added at the left [south] end and a stair tower was built in the angle of the cross-wing at the rear. The wing behind the cross-wing is probably also C18.

In the C20 the cross-wing jetties were underbuilt and three shop fronts were inserted at the front.

EXTERIOR: 2 storey and attic and 1 storey and attic. Asymmetrical 3-window east front, to right projecting gabled cross-wing, to left 1-storey and attic. C20 3-light casements and flat-roof dormers. Three C20 shop fronts on ground floor. At the rear gabled cross-wing on left, gabled stair tower in the angle and lower gable-ended wing projecting from cross-wing.

As it is today.

INTERIOR: Cross-wing: timber-frame partition wall; front and back rooms have dragon beams, chamfered axial and cross-beams with step stops and unchamfered joists; chambers above have chamfered cross-beams and unchamfered joists.

Main south range: former hall, has chamfered axial beam with ogee stops and unchamfered joists; hall chamber above also has chamfered axial beam with ogee stops; exposed in attic chamber above large purlins. Rear wing has chamfered cross-beam with waney end and unchamfered joists.

HISTORICAL NOTE: It was the home of the de Salfords family and there are references to the de Salfords of Merridale from the early C14.

Comment: The top photo shows what appears to be a derelict Victorian dump. It was saved from demolition by the alertness of Derek Thom, of the Wolverhampton Civic Society, and quick work by the Borough Council and English Heritage. It was listed the same day.  We have included almost the whole listing (above) as it is more interesting than usual and very important.  

An archaeological report produced in 2001 showed that there were sandstone walls and foundations which appeared to date back to the 12th century.  This would make it the oldest known building in Wolverhampton, other than St. Peter's.  The photos below were taken before any work, other than archaeological, had been done on the building.

This is a wall in the upper floor of the oldest wing.  Behind the later laths you can see wattles from the original wattle and daub wall.

The ceiling of the ground floor.     

One of the most interesting and important holes in Wolverhampton.  This is where the limestone wall was found that seems to date from about 1200, which makes it the oldest surviving building work in Wolverhampton (unless anyone can show some still existing bits of St. Peter's are older).  The wall runs from the hole towards the top right corner of the photo.

The owners, who had the garage next door and wanted to expand over this site and, when prevented from doing so by its being listed, put it on the market.  Luckily it was bought by a local builder who could see no profitable way of restoring it but was determined to use his skills to preserve this most valuable piece of local history.   (He must also have spent a lot of his money, without any real prospect of a return).  The building has been converted into flats, all the original bits have been retained and it looks great.

Many thanks to Chris Sedgemore and Maythorn Construction for permission to enter and photograph.

Note:  this is Old Merridale Farm.  New Merridale Farm became Bantock House.