REPAIRS have been proposed to help preserve the internal fabric of one of Burnley’s oldest and most significant buildings.
Spenser House in Hurstwood is a Grade Two listed building — reputed to be the family home of Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser — and dates back to the mid-16th Century.
But ‘inappropriate but well-intentioned interventions in the recent past’ have affected the outlook of the historic property, council planners have been told.
Plans to remedy the alterations include the replacement of leaded light windows, some internal and external repointing, insulation and relaying of stone flag floors inside, along with the replacement of internal doors.
The building forms part of a historic enclave in the middle of the village, with Hurstwood Hall (1579), Hurstwood House and Hurstwood Chapel nearby.
The house and hall were also used in 1996 by the BBC for the film version of Anne Bronte’s ‘Tenant of Wildfell Hall’, when the stair balustrades were replaced with painted plywood to resemble barley twist spindles.
Under the renovation these will be replaced with green oak square sections, which are said to be more in keeping with the building’s fabric.
Richmal Wigglesworth of Storah Architecture, who has provided a heritage impact statement, said: “The proposal is one of repair. It does not impact on the significance nor understanding of the building.”
He also noted that ‘moisture trapped within the building fabric is causing damage to fixtures and fittings and may cause damage to the internal significant plasterwork’ without remedial efforts.
Former Clarets star Eddie Cliff and the late music hall comedian Jack Sharples both lived at Spenser House, and it is now occupied by the Wilson family.
The original ‘H’ section plan of the house, along with the trusses and plasterwork, is said to be ‘exceptionally significant’ in architectural terms, and several features, including arched window lights to the south, are ‘highly significant’.