Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Judge's House

Yesterday I had a trip to the cash and carry in Gloucester and had a couple of hours to spare so I nipped into the city centre for a mooch.  Most of my favourite buildings in Gloucester are pubs [the New Inn, the Fountain, Cafe Rene etc. etc.] but there is one none pub building, known as the Judge's House, which I find enthralling. 

It is reputed to be the biggest and most authentic sixteenth century timber framed town house in the country.  The catch is that you can't really see it.  Another building was subsequently built in front of the facade of the Judge's House, so that there is now a small narrow lane between the two buildings.  It is down Westgate Street, just passed McDonald's and next door to the Santander Bank.  Until recently the Judge's House was an independent book shop, but is now empty and on the market.  I am told that the upper internal floors of the building have not been touched in 400 years.

If you sidle down the alley, known as Maverdine Lane, strain your neck and look upwards then you can see the tremendous façade.  It is covered in anti-pigeon spikes and it is rather gloomy, but marvellous none the less.  I wonder how the sixteenth century merchant who built it would feel if he knew that his splendid house was now next door to a Spanish bank, and especially one that had consumed several long standing British banks?

Proceed through the goes no where.

Look up.....difficult to get a good photo....

I hope these photos do it justice.  I would have thought that in this digital age the façade could be 'scanned' and then reproduced somehow.  I hope a new use is found soon for the building and that it is a sympathetic one.  It would make a good pub.........


  1. Thanks for posting this - it's a fascinating building, and it was good that you photographed those views up from the side alley. I went round the building's interior once when it was open as part the September heritage weekend and there are lots of interesting timbers, old casement windows, etc. I do hope it finds a sympathetic owner and use before too long.

  2. Hi Richard,

    Some fantastic shots, they give a great perspective of the building.
    I bet it made a fantastic bookshop, genuine atmosphere definitely.
    What a shame they couldn't hang in there, I hope that someone sympathetic to the history of the building, takes it on.


  3. Thanks both. They have recently restored Robert Raikes' house in Southgate Street and done a very good job. Even though some might say it has now been a little 'over restored'. It's now a pub called 'Robert Raikes' House' and worth a visit if you are in the area.