Historic Droitwich Its Streets and People

33 High Street, Jewels (St Andrew's Parish)

This is the oldest known domestic building in Droitwich.  It dates from 1340 and was originally an open hall built in timber framing, that is, a two storey height building which was open from floor to roof and constructed with massive vertical and horizontal straight and curved timbers.  This tells us its first (and probably later) owners would have been high status people. 

The property to the east (No. 35), now apparently almost entirely brick but with a few timbers visible inside, is thought to have been the service wing (food-related storage at ground floor with rooms of variable use above) to this open hall (and therefore is likely to have had two rooms on the ground floor and one or two chambers above).  To the west, the complex includes a magnificent two-storey solar cross-range which is now 31 High St, dated on stylistic grounds to around 1400 (private accommodation on the first floor for the owning family, probably with a shop and related storage on the ground floor).  It is likely that the three properties were built as a single complex in the 1340s, with the present solar cross-range perhaps replacing in 1400 an earlier part of the original structure.   Documentary evidence suggests that in the 1680s the complex was sub-divided into two properties (potentially what is now No. 31, and Nos. 33-35). 

Changes to the open hall (No. 33) took place over the centuries following 1400, including the insertion of a ceiling to create separate ground and first floors in the late 16th century and the raising of the roof in the 18th century to increase the height of the first floor and create an attic floor.  The building now shows no sign of its origins from outside, either on the street frontage or at the back.  But inside, the structural components of the 14th century building survive to a great extent and are still visible.  Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) has given us the first date of construction and also that of the inserted ceiling, while a professional survey of the building has provided more information about the various phases and enabled the provision of a substantially complete picture of its architectural development.

Documentary research has added to the picture and enabled us to put names to the owners and some occupiers back into the early 1600s.

Click on the links below to see more detail about the various time periods

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