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The Norton Builder

If you stand at the top of the ramp leading into the Park, on Norton Lees Lane and look at Bishops House you will see that the western part of the building leans to the right [the east]. When first built around 1500, Bishops House was a three bay timber framed building, constructed from vertical and horizontal timber beams, all locking together to form a rigid structure and probably about 15 m long. Around 1550 the western bay was demolished, reducing the length to 11 m, and a cross-wing was built. After that the builders installed fireplaces on the ground and first floors. You can see the tall chimney stack at the right of the extension. To do this they removed the main western corner post of the surviving original building, causing the extension to lean. The upper floor leans about 30 cm out of the vertical at the west wall and it may be that the addition of the stone chimney, which caused the problem, also saved the house by propping it up.

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