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IoE Number: 483524
Location: THE RIB, 3 ST ANDREW STREET (south side)
  WELLS, MENDIP, SOMERSET
Photographer: N/A
Date Photographed: N/A
Date listed: 12 November 1953
Date of last amendment: 12 November 1953
Grade II*

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WELLS ST5445 ST ANDREW STREET 662-1/7/245 (South side) 12/11/53 No.3 The Rib GV II* Large detached house. Mid C15 Hall, N Porch c1470 for Dean Witham, wings on N side of early and later C16, extensive renovations and additions 1802, including insertion of floor in hall, and new staircase adjacent to porch,for William Phelps; further renovations and alterations, including exposure of early fabric, 1989. Local stone rubble with Doulting ashlar dressings, clay pantiled roof between coped gables, brick and stone chimney stacks. PLAN: the original great hall, approx 12.50m x approx 6.50m had a screens passage, with service range to the right (W), and solar to the left; these have all disappeared, the service range as recently as the mid C20. To the left, on the road side of the hall are the two C16 wings, with a further large addition of 1802, and staircase of the same date. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, with north elevation having 2 gables, a recessed bay and a projecting 2 storey porch. The two east gables crowned with double stone chimneys set diagonally, with simple caps, second gable has a small chamfered stone surround single-light window to first floor, and then a C19 slate and rendered single-storey projection northwards, the intermediate bay, under a catslide roof, has a pointed arched Y-traceried window at mezzanine level. The projecting porch has corner buttresses and a gable finial, and is rendered on the north face, 4-centre-arched doorway with C19 doors and fanlight, over which is a 3-light Perpendicular traceried window under 4-centre arch with vestigial label, below the sill of which are 3 carved panels with tournament-type shields, small blocked single light in gable. The W elevation has the return of the porch and a gable, in the latter a simple chamfered stone single-light window at ground floor level, and traces of a 2-light window at attic level. South elevation a late C18 revision of 3 bays, buttresses with 2 offsets between bays, ground floor has 2-light casement doors, first floor has 2-light Y-traceried windows under vestigial labels with curl stops, the panels rendered. The later additions have various sash windows. INTERIOR: the porch has a 4-compartment ceiling with moulded beams, and in the inner corner is a squinch, marking the location of a former staircase. The porch has a doorway with 4-centred arch and wave-mould to the right-hand ground floor panelled room, with an C18 fireplace. A square opening with chamfered surround opens to the stair hall, with an open-well early C19 staircase with turned newels and stick balustrade. In the S wall, the original outer wall of the hall, is a doorway to a central passage. The large later wing, formerly in 2 rooms, now one large space with a central inserted post, has compartmental ceilings with large moulded beams, of differing dates in the two sections. There is a small fireplace with 4-centred arch in the E wall, and to the N a very lofty fireplace with square surround opened at the time of the 1989 restoration. Sash windows are shuttered; the floor is stone flagged. A wide and deep elliptical arch with early mouldings, probably of the C14 (RCHM) opens through the former outer wall of the hall to the E parlour, which has a C19 fireplace. The upper hall has a 6-bay roof, with arch-braced principals and 4 ranges of wind-bracing, stopped-chamfer purlins, and brattished plate with angel carvings to the deep fascia; substantial new work was inserted at this upper level in 1989. One of the main bedrooms has a carved wooden angel with shield, and posts carried on carved stone angel corbels in two corners. In the room over the porch a window contains glass with silver stain, and above the C16 wing is one room with a fireplace with moulded arch, and moulded beams. The roof over this wing is similar to but later than that in the hall. HISTORICAL NOTE: The Rib is the only remaining house of a former group of 5 which were in the gift of the Bishop rather than the Dean and Chapter. The earliest recorded tenant was in the early C14, and a fragment of the house of that period may remain in one of the ground floor doorways of the present building. In 1771 a headmaster of the Cathedral School was installed, and his successor in 1802, William Phelps, made extensive alterations and additions to the building. In the late C19 and early C20 The Rib was the house of the Principal of the Theological College, and it first came into private ownership in 1989. (RCHM Survey: 1990-; Hale B: Vernacular Architecture Group Report: 1990-).

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