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Description: Pugin Hall
Date Listed: 19 November 1985
English Heritage Building ID: 105472
OS Grid Reference: ST5587902626
OS Grid Coordinates: 355879, 102626
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8215, -2.6277
Explore more of the area around Rampisham, Dorset at Explore Britain.
ST 50 SW
526/3/147 RAMPISHAM VILLAGE
19-NOV-85 Pugin Hall
Former rectory, now a private house, built 1846-7 by A.W.N. Pugin for the Rector of Rampisham with Wraxall, the Reverend F.W. Rooke. It is principally a two storey building with attic and is built of rubble stone, brought to course, with dressings of freestone. All the windows are complete with their iron casements, some with leaded lights; and the external doors retain their original ironmongery. The roof of clay tiles is steeply pitched with stone copings and decorative kneelers and clustered groups of tall octagonal stone stacks with embattled cornices. The rafters end in hollow-moulding and there is chamfered stone band beneath the eaves.
PLAN: It has a fairly compact but asymmetrical plan. The principal rooms occupy an L-shaped plan, to the rear of which is an attached two storey service wing consisting of a three bays and a smaller single storey range of one bay.
EXTERIOR: The south west (garden) front has a chamfered stone plinth and a moulded band between the two floors and both continue along part of the side elevations. It consists of a large two storey canted bay, gabled at full height, with a small mullioned window above the bay. The two right hand bays contain two 3-light transomed stone mullions to both floors and a dormer in the roof. The south east, entrance elevation is characteristically asymmetrical and begins with a double gable to the left that has a large projecting stack. A shield carved with the Reverend Rooke's initial is inset into the stack embrasure. To the right, under the rear gable is the pointed arch porch entrance consisting of ovolo-moulded jambs and a stepped label with lozenge stops. A shield above the entrance contains a carving of the Virgin and Child. The inner doorway has moulded jambs and a square head and retains its mid-C19 planked door. At first floor, above the entrance, is a 2-light trefoil-cusped window with quatrefoil roundel which lights a room that was originally used as an oratory - emphasising the ecclesiastical purpose of the building. Beyond the gables the walls step back in stages, the lower height service wing occupying the right hand three bays and a further single storey bay beyond. The central section of this elevation is dominated by a mullioned and transom window with cinquefoil-cusping that lights the main staircase. The north west elevation is plainer and comprises (from right to left) a main range of three bays with three mullioned and transom windows to both floors and a dormer in the roof. To the left the offset service wing of 3 + 1 bays has irregular fenestration and a rear entrance with its mid C19 planked door.
INTERIOR: This is Gothic throughout, with a fine main staircase in the central stair hall, ironmongery, most of its chimneypieces, and a complete set of mid C19 doors; the original joinery even extends to the attics. All but two of the fireplaces are original. They are of Perpendicular design and are mostly of rubbed stone, although that in the Dining Room is probably Caen stone. All the joinery: the main staircase, back stairs, doors and vertical shutters, is red pine. The Library and hall have compartmented style moulded ceiling beams, whilst the floors of the Study, hall and porch retain the original Staffordshire tiles and the larder has its cast iron framework of hooks for hanging game. In the roof, the rafters and purlins are also red pine, although some additional modern timbers have been introduced for strengthening. There is also evidence for some early C19 timbers and joinery in the attics and in the back bedrooms. In his designs for the house, Pugin specified that sound timbers from the original parsonage were to be re-used in the new building.
HISTORY: Pugin was one of the most important and distinguished architects of the Victorian period, renowned for his originality and attributed with reviving the popularity of Gothic architecture in the mid C19. He chiefly designed churches, but his commissions also included secular buildings. Pugin Hall replaced an earlier rectory at Rampisham, Parsonage House, which was considered to be in a dilapidated state and unsuitable for repair. Pugin produced detailed plans and a specification for the rectory which were a requirement of his client's application for a mortgage from the Queen Anne's Bounty, which was available for building new parsonages after 1811. In his specifications Pugin recommended that the sound joinery and timbers from the original parsonage be re-used in the less public areas of the new building, namely the roof structure, servants' accommodation and back bedrooms.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The stable range and the detached laundry to the north and north east of the house are still recognisable as part of the original ensemble. However the stylistic characteristics of the house are not carried through to these ancillary structures which are especially plain and functional. Additionally the former laundry building has been converted to residential use and undergone quite significant alterations. The walls of the former kitchen garden to the rear of Pugin Hall have also been affected by alteration. These structures all contribute to the original design of the former rectory and its surroundings but lack national resonance and are considered to be of local significance.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Pugin Hall was a major commission by the one of the most distinguished architects of the Victorian era, A.W.N. Pugin. It is a characteristic and highly influential example of one of Pugin's smaller, professional middle-class houses and is considered to be the most complete example of domestic architecture designed by him. It has an exceptionally well-preserved interior with features of high quality and is almost complete in every detail. The plan of the house encompasses Pugin's characteristic pinwheel plan: an arrangement of rooms whose axes rotate about a central hall and this lends itself well to the varying effects of light and shade within. The remarkable thing about the pinwheel plan is not only that it was a significant departure in the planning of houses of this scale, but that it also provided considerable inspiration for the design of houses of the late 1840s and 1850s onwards. This development certainly influenced the work of other great Victorian architects such as Butterfield, William White and Street.
Additionally it is also unique as being his only commission for which a full set of detailed plans and specifications survive, produced by Pugin himself. The survival of such an unaltered house by Pugin is very rare and there is clearly no doubt at all about its exceptional importance.
SOURCES: "Pugin's Perfect Priestly Palaces" (2004) Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Country Life Plans, elevations and specification (1846) Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office, D28/6/11
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.