SOUTHALL: A Brief History

Of the original building little can now be seen. At the back there is a small section of wall quite probably composed of Tudor bricks, and one of the chimneys is indubitably very old. The rest of the exterior has been faced with comparatively recent brick-work which may conceal the original bricks underneath. Much of the timbering is too suspiciously crisp to be genuine, and the Aztec corbels are only too clearly Victorian whimsies. Nevertheless some of the supporting timbers inside are indisputably authentic. Substantial additions were made in the 18th century, and an entirely new wing was added in the 19th comprising a row of cottages with a clock tower. This part was demolished to allow for road widening after the first World War.

As for the coat of arms above the fireplace in the entrance hall. G. M. Bark says:

                        ‘The Visitation of 1633 expressly states “No Arms”. There is a shield in the Elizabethan Manor House attached to the overmantle between the initials R. A. This is of doubtful date and seems to be copied from a tablet in Norwood church on the western respond of the North Aisle. It looks as if this tablet had originally affixed to the gallery erected by Francis Awsiter. It may be that this series is not so much a heraldic achievement as a pictorial representation of an agricultural life. This device,’ he concludes rather tartly, ‘is showing its true nature by coming unglued’.

Before we can determine the date of the building of this most interesting house it will be necessary to establish that it is in fact the same house referred to as as Wrenns, and also to determine how much and what parts survive of the original structure.