28 Palace Street - King's School shop
"the finest example in the county...[of imitation rusticated stone]" Brown, p218 see bibliography)

Early 17th century (probably 1647) timber-framed building with jetties - leaning alarmingly! Wonderful carving and unusual small clerestory windows.


Crooked doorway - deliberately shaped to exaggerate the leaning building
Notes: The building is one of the best known in Canterbury - known as the King's School shop. It is often thought to have been built by Sir John Boys, but as he died in 1612 and there is a later date on the apex of the gable (at the top), this is probably not true. Some reports say this date is 1617 (e.g. Quiney, see bibliography), others say it is 1647, so I am not sure!

See the wonderful description by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust on Peter Collinson's Canterbury tour site.

It was probably built by a cloth merchant (draper) called Avery Sabine, whose initials are also on the apex of the gable. This part of the city was occupied by many 'strangers' or foreigners, many in the cloth and weaving trade, and this man was probably one of them - his name sounds French. Many got rich, and this house has many signs of wealth. The small windows (see photos below) may have been to light the workshops in the second and third floors.

It was close to falling down in recent years. It stands above a brick cellar and has a contemporary brick fireplace - the insertion of another chimney stack later probably called the structural weakness which is now mended.

The fine wood carving is its best feature, as you can see from the photos below.

But also of note are the small windows (called clerestories) at the side of the building - restored - designed so that you could look out at the street without being seen (see the last photos below). Compare these windows with others such as at 1 St. Peters' Street.

Carving on jetty supports (dragon post)
Carving on jetty supports (dragon post)
This plaster between the timber frames is called 'pargetting' - see more decorative styles on Queen Elizabeth's bedchamber in the High Street (forthcoming). It is thought to be an attempt to imitate stone.
The top storey, with relatively plain barge boards (the two meeting at the point of the roof)
Front of the building - small windows with more recent glazing.
Side of the building, second floor - original small windows.
Side of the building, top floor - original small windows.

 

 

Copyright Stephen Bax 1999. Click here for terms of use.