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Lord Digbys School for Girls Sherborne House, Sherborne

Description: Lord Digbys School for Girls Sherborne House

Grade: I
Date Listed: 28 November 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 104087

OS Grid Reference: ST6390916922
OS Grid Coordinates: 363909, 116922
Latitude/Longitude: 50.9506, -2.5151

Locality: Sherborne
Local Authority: West Dorset District Council
County: Dorset
Country: England
Postcode: DT9 3JG

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Explore more of the area around Sherborne, Dorset at Explore Britain.

Listing Text

689/1/179 NEWLAND
02-APR-04 (North side)

(North Side)
Sherborne House
[formerly Lord Digby's
School for Girls]
ST 6316 1/179 28.11.50.
House. Circa 1720; by Benjamin Bastard, for Henry Seymour Portman. The staircase hall has mural paintings by Sir James Thornhill. Late C16 rear north west wing. C20 extension. Rendered stone rubble and brick with stone dressings. Slate roofs. Axial stacks.
PLAN: Rectangular principal 1720 block has central hall, flanked by parlours and with main stairhall to the rear right with the servants' stairs behind. The service rooms occupy the earlier wing to the rear [NW], all that remains of the earlier house.
EXTERIOR of main block: 3 storey 7 window south front, the pedimented centre breaks forward. Balustraded parapets, moulded stone cornice, rusticated quoins and moulded stone window architraves with small keyblocks and cills, the second floor with cambered heads; sash windows with thick glazing bars; central 1st floor window has pediment on enriched console brackets; central rusticated portico with round arch with keyblock, flat Doric pilasters with triglyphs above and broken segmental pediment; C20 glazed door. Moulded rainwater heads on east and west sides. The 3-bay east elevation has similar windows, blind on left and with tall stair window over side entrance with moulded stone architrave with cambered head with keyblock and panelled and glazed door. The 2-bay west elevation, similarly fenestrated, blind ground floor right; brick rear wing set back to left and lower 2-storey circa late C16 range projecting from NW corner, stone rubble, partly rendered, steeply-pitched Welsh slate roof with gabled ends, large chimney at gable end removed, at front some chamfered and ovolo-moulded 2-light stone mullion windows and at west gable end a projecting brick ledge on stone brackets and at rear ovolo-moulded 2-light and 3-light mullion-transom window. Rear [N] a large late C20 flat roof wing on left.
INTERIOR: Fine series of early C18 panelled rooms; the hall with giant fluted pilasters and a triglyph frieze and with Victorian Jacobethan carved oak chimneypiece. Similar chimneypieces in the other ground floor panelled rooms, but some of the rooms above have original chimneypieces with their grates. The partition between the two rooms above the hall has been removed to form one large room. Early C18 closed-string back stairs with square newels, moulded handrail and turned balusters. Open-well principal staircase with carved arabesques and marquetry tread ends, three turned balusters per tread and ramped up to fluted column newels a moulded handrail with a carved end. The stair well has fine Baroque paintings by Sir James Thornhill, depicting the myth of Meleager, Atalanta and the hunt of the Calydonian boar, Diana on the ceiling and grisaille painting lower down the walls. Purbeck marble stairhall floor. Brick vaulted cellars. The late C16 rear wing has a panelled ceiling with moulded intersecting beams with bosses at the intersections carved with roses and ribbon-work; a chamfered door frame, its head removed and a recess in the very thick kitchen walls with a moulded stone lintel and cill, said to be a blocked oven; the first floor room of wing has ceiling removed and now open to circa early C18 tenoned-purlin tie-beam and collar truss roof, the collars halved and lapped to the principal rafters. Roof of main block not inspected.
NOTE: William Charles Macready, the actor/ manager, lived here from 1851 to 1860, having rented the house from Earl Digby. Charles Dickens stayed with Macready at Sherborne House in 1854.
Sherborne House is a very handsome early Georgian mansion containing important murals by Sir James Thornhill.
SOURCES: [1] RCHM Dorset, west, vol.1, p.217 [56]. [2] Buildings of England, p.383 and 384. [3] Hill, S.M., Sherborne House and its People [1996], a history.

Listing NGR: ST6390916925

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.