Guildhall gives up its secrets during revamp

Foreman Roger Compton, of building contractors A C Nurden Ltd, putting the last touches to external render at West Oxfordshire District Council's Guildhall offices in Chipping Norton. NNL-150213-122848001
Foreman Roger Compton, of building contractors A C Nurden Ltd, putting the last touches to external render at West Oxfordshire District Council's Guildhall offices in Chipping Norton. NNL-150213-122848001

A ‘hidden’ entrance has been found within the walls of a 15th century building in Chipping Norton.

Six weeks of refurbishment to West Oxfordshire District Council’s Guildhall offices are nearly complete.

Work has included the replacement of rotting wooden sash windows, new stone window sills, the replacement of crumbling concrete render with lime render and the chipping away of whitewashed render on internal walls to expose the original stone bricks.

The building has been repainted on the outside and the entrance doors and surrounds have been refurbished.

When removing the external render, the entrance was discovered, while inside the building a beam set into a wall has been exposed along with a section of red bricks among stone. The Chipping Norton Buildings Record is documenting the new findings.

The Guildhall was built around 1500 by the Guild of the Holy Trinity, which administered the local market. The original building had an open-arched ground floor with the Guild Chamber at first-floor level and previous refurbishment work has already uncovered many historic features which have been preserved, including a vaulted roof space.

Future plans include installing a glass viewing pane to show the original basement space beneath.