This timber-framed house was built in 1609. It has no open hall, but a brick chimney heats two of the ground-floor rooms and one of the upper chambers. This revolutionary change in house planning took place in the mid-16th century, but Pendean also has some medieval features such as unglazed windows.
Originally situated about one mile to the south of Midhurst, this building started as a small yeoman farmhouse built in 1609. It was converted into two cottages in the late 18th or early 19th century, but had returned to a small scale farm by the present century. Although protected under the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, permission was given for demolition in favour of sandworking.
The structure of the building was little modified by later alterations and has been rebuilt as it was first designed. Outshots which had been added on the east and north sides were omitted in the reconstruction, together with the partitions and staircase which had been inserted when it was divided into two cottages. The original windows have been restored from the evidence of mortices, replacing the varied assortment of wood and metal windows inserted between the 17th and 20th centuries.
The building demonstrates the results of the revolution in interior planning which took place in the 16th century — the abandonment of the open hall, as in Bayleaf, in favour of upstairs and downstairs rooms heated by a massive central chimney. This chimney provides flues for the back-to-back ingle-nooks in the ground floor rooms. The fireplace in the end room is the wider of the two and contains the bake-oven, so this room was the kitchen. The central room, with a slightly smaller fireplace, might have been known either as the hall or the parlour, while the unheated inner room beyond would have been called the buttery or pantry.
The slow transition from medieval to modern is shown by the retention of medieval features — such as unglazed windows with their diamond-section mullions, upper rooms still open to the rafters, and the use of wattle and daub for interior partitions and the upper panels of the outside walls.
In contrast to these medieval survivals, the chimney is a sophisticated construction. Its three main flues serve the three fireplaces — the two ground floor inglenooks and the small fireplace in the middle room upstairs. A vent was formed at first floor level to let smoke into a smoke chamber for curing meat. The interior brickwork of the chimney has been painted, a technique known as “ruddling and pencilling”. Although surprising to modern eyes, there is ample evidence to show that this practice was almost ubiquitous in the 17th century.
The interior has been furnished with replica items to give an idea of the way it was originally used. The pottery has been based on Graffham ware which came from a 17th-century kiln at Graffham, a short distance from Pendean. The oak furniture, treen, basketware, textiles and ironwork have all been based on appropriate 16th and 17th-century originals.
In 1609 Pendean was sold to Richard Clare, the son of John Clare, who held a neighbouring farm called Hurstlands. The property consisted of 40 acres of land, a barn, and herbage and pasture for 100 sheep and 14 bullocks on the common land of Woolavington manor. Richard Clare was a yeoman, higher on the social scale than a husbandman but below the rank of gentleman. Like many yeomen at this date he was illiterate.
Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) shows that the timbers of Pendean were felled in 1609, so Richard Clare probably started to build the house as soon as he purchased the property. There would have been an earlier house on the site, which was possibly the source for some of the re-used timbers that can be seen in Pendean farmhouse.