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Tyne and Wear HER(7525): Low Fell, Kellfield Road, Nos. 1-3 Rosehill - Details

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Low Fell, Kellfield Road, Nos. 1-3 Rosehill

Low Fell





Early Modern


Extant Building

This attractive and intriguing row of well-built stone residences is one of the earliest surviving developments in the area, as at the time they were constructed most of the buildings in the vicinity were poorly made, and later removed during the enclosure of Gateshead Fell. An possible exception to this are the houses at Kells Place (No. 137-147 Kells Lane) which are also in place by the 1st Edition OS map (c1858), but these are likely to post-date the enclose of the Fell. No. 3 was the first to be built, constructed for Thomas Barrass around 1800 (a lease of 1803 survives describing the dwelling house lately built) at Kells Field (‘but is now separated and divided therefrom’). The adjacent houses were later added for members of his family - probably by his son Samuel who was a local colliery viewer. There was a well in garden of 1-2, which would have given the houses their own water supply. The distinctive detailing is fine, and varies between the properties, but all are in the sandstone available from quarries nearby. The oldest building is the most grand – double-fronted with step moulded solid window surrounds and an attractive but simple solid doorcase with cornice. The stonework is nicely dressed and laid in courses – most of which are large blocks of stone (which may have been more expensive) but with diminishing courses towards the top, beneath the lead-lined stone guttering. The door is fine with a distinctive 12 panel arrangement, featuring square panels interspersed with rectangular ones and flat panels to the base. It is uncertain whether this is original, but it is certainly quite historic. Nos. 1 and 2 are stylistically later, with a pairing arrangement showing that the houses were built together, with the doors sharing a double surround, and the lower windows paired. The detailing involves chamfer mouldings and eared architraves – a stylistic feature which can be seen elsewhere in Low Fell. The cast iron rainwater goods have been retained, as has a wonderful gas lamp in the grounds. There is a variety of attractive ironwork of differing dates, including some rather elaborate Victorian work leading to the garden with cast intermediates and cheerfully curved fleur-de-lys derivative finials – the whole set in a solid stone plinth. There is an air of seclusion about the buildings, as they are accessed from a private entrance at the end of Kellfield Road (originally a private carriage road), so that the site has remained intact despite many the development growing up around it over 2 centuries. The status of the dwellings is clear, through the squat but sturdy gate piers (which may have been moved from a location further south, at the entrance to no. 3). These make clear that there were separate entrances for carriages and those on foot, implying that there was also a carriage turning circle within the grounds, although this is not visible on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey of about 1858. Of particular importance is the remarkably large private garden enjoyed by no.3, which appears to have been associated with this dwelling since the beginning. The 1st OS map shows a formally laid-out garden, with avenues of trees and pathways, both adjacent to the house and to the piece of land to the west. The garden opposite nos. 1 and 2 is also formally laid out, with a geometric form reminiscent of old knot gardens. They appear to have included a variety of trees, including some depicted as smaller, which may have been fruit trees. The garden to no. 3 later included a tennis lawn. These special buildings (in particular no. 3) are a great historical and architectural asset to the area, and a real hidden gem. MATERIALS Sandstone, slate, timber DATES c1800 (No.3) Before 1822? (Nos. 1 & 2) LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/149; lease of 1803 with plan

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