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© Dr John L. Wishlade

IoE Number: 470049
Location: NUMBER 12 STREET, 12 BRIDGE STREET AND ROW (west side)
Photographer: Dr John L. Wishlade
Date Photographed: 30 June 2001
Date listed: 28 July 1955
Date of last amendment: 06 August 1998
Grade I

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

CHESTER CITY (IM) SJ4066SE BRIDGE STREET AND ROW 595-1/4/38 (West side) 28/07/55 No.12 Street and No.10 Row (Cowper House) (Formerly Listed as: BRIDGE STREET No.12 Street & No.10 Row (Cowper House)) GV I Formerly known as: Nos.2 AND 4 Cowper House BRIDGE STREET ROW. Undercroft and town house, now shop. C13, C17, C19 and C20. Sandstone, timber frame with plaster panels and brick; grey slate roof. Gable to street. EXTERIOR: 4 storeys including undercroft and Row level. The undercroft shopfront is late C20; flight of 11 repaired stone steps north of shopfront to Row walk; brick pier north of steps; replaced post between steps and shopfront; posts formerly at each corner of building, now approx one metre back from encroached shopfront, with chamfered brackets and beam; C19 and C20 shaped splat brackets at front of sloping stallboard which is approx 3m from front to back; side posts at rear of stallboard are stop-chamfered at front and carry a chamfered beam; C17 joists over stallboard and Row walk; 2 diagonal beams, south, one chamfered, the other having carved face with dentils; C20 Row shopfront of wood and glass. Carved fascia above Row opening; 7-light mullioned and transomed leaded window c1870, standing proud of wall on consoles, has 3 studs with 2 intermediate rails to each side; lead rainwater pipe north has head inscribed P & E 1830; strapwork carved on jetty bressumer to fourth storey inscribed TC (for Thomas Cowper) 1664; a row of 8 round-headed panels with central oak phalluses and arches carved as if voussoirs; 2 similar panels to each side of a mullioned and transomed 5-light leaded casement, c1870, proud of the wall on consoles and projecting up into the gable which has an interrupted tie carved with vine leaves and grapes and quadrant-braced panels; carved bargeboards and finial. A brick chimney. INTERIOR: the front undercroft, its present floor 2 steps below street level, is lined, with no visible features of interest; 6 steps lead down through a mid C19 Gothic Revival stone screen with archway on colonnettes and flanking windows in C13 style, within a broad recessed arched panel, to a 6-bay quadripartite rib-vaulted rear undercroft, probably 1350-75 but possibly a little earlier; squared sandstone rubble walling; truncated-cone-shaped rib-corbels; deeply chamfered ribs; a 3-light window at the west end, formerly with trefoil heads but now heightened and with round heads; a trefoil archway in the fifth bay leads to a stone stair within the stone party wall with No.14 Street (qv), rising backward, and displaying the underside of an upper stair serving No.14. The rear undercroft was found and excavated in 1839, when the floor level may have been lower approx 0.6m. The front undercroft is not capable of interpretation in its present form, but investigation of other undercrofts in the Rows suggest it may be earlier than the rear undercroft; it is 16m long, the rear undercroft 13m. The Row storey has modern finishes; the portion over the rear undercroft is up 3 steps. The third storey has modern linings; a sandstone fireplace above the diagonal beams in the Row walk is inscribed TC (Thomas Cowper) 1661 to each side of a blank shield, and has a substantial projecting, moulded mantel. The attic storey has a moulded plaster cornice in the front room and C17 purlins and braces discernible but now boarded. The rear undercroft is the most important visible element. Thomas Cowper who improved the house, a Royalist, was Mayor of Chester 1641-2. (Chester Rows Research Project: Harris R: Bridge Street West, Nos.2-20: 1989-1990; Bartholomew City Guides: Harris B: Chester: Edinburgh: 1979-: 124).

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