Walking through Canterbury the “falling buildings and skew architecture definitely reminded my of York which is filled with such buildings. I really wonder how these buildings stay standing seeing as they are so top-heavy and old.
The first “skewed” or “falling” building we came across in Palace street was the Old Rectory House of St. Alphage Church. This house was built in the year 1250 AD. This half-timbered building has two projecting upper stories over a ground floor, each upper story projecting further than the last. The upper floors may be 15th century. In 1665 it was renovated and they added a second floor and a new roof.
The exterior is beautifully carved, with intricate floral and geometric designs rimming the jetties. The most intriguing features, however, are the carved brackets that support the jetties. This building has a type of gargoyle bracket that can also be found in some other buildings in the city. These gargoyle brackets are used to protect the occupants from bad spirits or demons.
The building that had me the most flabbergasted even had a “falling” door. The front door actually had to be built with ‘severely skewed’ corners to fit to unusual doorframe.
This ” Crooked House” is prominently positioned at the far end of Palace Street within an easy stroll of the High Street. It is known as Sir John Boys House- or ‘Crooked House’, ‘King’s Gallery’, or ‘Old Kings Shop’ .
After the Cathedral, Sir John Boys House is possibly the most photographed historic building in Canterbury and is a dramatically skewed 17th century half-timbered building, with projecting jetties onto both Palace Street and King Street.
Apparently, the house gained its current distorted look after alterations to an internal chimney caused the structure to move sideways. Works to correct the movement actually caused the structure to skew further, although now, the building is supported internally by a steel frame, which prevents it from further movement.
Above the door is painted ” a very old house bulging over the road…leaning forward, trying to see who was passing on the narrow pavement below….” Charles Dickens 1849