King's Mill Lane (Fig. 201)
(250) The Vale House, No. 2 (Fig. 134), two
storeys, attics and basement, three storeys on garden
side, has coursed rubble walls with flush dressings,
squared stones on the W. closely resembling ashlar,
and hipped roofs. In July 1784 the site, apparently
vacant, was bought by Joseph Robinson, miller,
from William Gooude, for £100. The present
house was completed for Robinson by 1788 to
designs by William Legg; in that year a carpenter
advertised that he had been employed on the house
under Legg (Mercury, 25 Jan.). At Robinson's death
in January 1823, the house was bought by Thomas
Gilchrist who appears to have effected the early
19th-century refitting (deeds). The house has an unconventional plan and its building-sequence is obscure. It seems to have originated as a simple range
on the garden side with an entrance hall and stair
on the street side. Slightly later, possibly before the
completion of the first building, a wing was added
at right angles on the S. In 1823 it was described as
having 'excellent dining room and drawing rooms,
breakfast parlour . . . water closet and shower bath'
(Mercury, 5 Sept.).
Fig. 134 (250) The Vale House.
The main elevation, on the W., comprises a three-bay
front on the N. and an added S. bay (Plate 150). The
former has platbands at principal and upper floor levels,
and continuous sills to the upper windows; the sills of
the two main S. windows have been lowered and the N.
window provides access to a garden terrace. The central
upper window is emphasized by a balustrade below the
sill, probably a 19th-century enrichment. A straight
joint and a slight setting-back separate the S. bay from
the main block which is of different character. This bay
has a tall shallow round-headed recess rising from a platband continuous with that on the N. The plain impost
moulding of the recess ignores the horizontal elements
of the main block. The upper window in the recess
is segmental-headed. A bracketed cornice continues over
both sections and is apparently of one date. The E.
elevation of the main range is set back from the road
and is reached by a passage which bridges the basementarea on a two-bay loggia; the doorway has a segmental
head with lunette. The street end of the S. wing consists
of a cantilevered two-storey wooden bow window with
triple sashes on each floor. The roof of this range is half-hipped.
Inside, the entrance-passage with barrel-vaulted ceiling leads into the corner of the main stair hall which is
perhaps entirely early 19th-century; the plain wooden
stair is cantilevered and has a ramped handrail. A
round-headed window with panelled reveals and decorative arrises lights the stair. An axial passage leading off
the stair hall has a heavy dentilled cornice of c. 1785. The
principal room has early 19th-century decoration with a
fireplace having moulded surround and angle-paterae.
The adjacent room has plaster cornice with husk-andswag pattern. Rooms in the S. bay have heavy wooden
cornices of c. 1785 or slight plaster cornices of the early
19th century. Upper rooms contain wooden fireplaces;
one of c. 1785 is enriched with fluting, repetitive leaves,
and carved motifs (Plate 130). Plaster ceilings are in the
same vein. In the basement, the kitchen has a hearth
flanked by elliptical-headed recesses. In garden, reset
in red brick wall, is a 15th-century doorway with four-centred crocketed head the outer order having small
capitals (Plate 65). At the S. end of garden is a single
span bridge of freestone and coursed rubble with ashlar
abutments carved with large roundels (Plate 150).
Near-by walls and piers carry carved urns.
(251) House, No. 3, two storeys, attics, coursed
rubble walls, mansard roof, originally comprised a pair
of class 15 cottages. It was built by James Brown, fellmonger, before 1811 and possibly before 1802 (deeds).
Lumby's Terrace, see 22 Water Street (447).