A substantial Cotswold Arts and Crafts house, built 1927-37, designed by Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs for himself; damaged by fire in 1975 and repaired in 1977. Much of the interior work and the fittings were made by craftsmen from the workshops of Peter Waals and other members of the Sapperton group.
Reason for Listing
New Dover's House, a substantial Cotswold Arts and Crafts house designed and built in 1927-37 by F L M Griggs for himself, is designated at Grade 2*, for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest: the house is perhaps the last great Arts and Crafts house constructed in England; it represents the culmination of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Cotswolds, which had a late flowering in the inter-war years
Architectural quality: the house demonstrates very high quality in the design and execution of all its elements, with variety and exquisite attention to detail in both the interior and exterior, reflecting Griggs' deep understanding of Cotswold building techniques and traditions
Historic interest: it was built by the architect, etcher and designer Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs (1876-1938) as his own home; it also housed the printing press on which he produced impressions of the visionary etchings for which he is best known
Interior: the house retains most of its bespoke interior fixtures and fittings, many by craftsmen from the Sapperton group, including Peter van der Waals and Alfred Bucknall
Intactness: despite some losses to a fire in one wing in the 1970s, the house remains largely intact, retaining most of its original structure, internal fabric and fixtures
Group value: with the adjacent listed garden walls and dovecote (Grade II), which were built by Griggs to bound the plot in which the house stands prior to its construction
Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs (1876-1938) was an important etcher, illustrator and architect, born to devout Baptist parents who were active in their church; Griggs' early attendance at the newly-built neo-Gothic chapel where they worshipped helped to shape his later artistic vision, which was also influenced by his discovery of the work of Samuel Palmer. In 1900 he began work on illustrations for Macmillan's series of books, 'Highways and Byways', which was published in area volumes. Over the course of forty years, he produced illustrations for thirteen volumes in the series; much of this work was later to provide inspiration for his extraordinary visionary etchings. In 1903, Griggs first visited Chipping Campden as part of his research for the 'Highways and Byways' volume on Oxford and the Cotswolds. Having been impressed by the fact that it had 'a better air of antiquity and more personality than any town I know', Griggs returned the following year, after two short visits settling in the town for good. He lodged initially with members of C R Ashbee's Guild of Craftsmen, moving soon after to Dover's House, a Georgian town house in the High Street. An early member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Griggs was involved in the repair of buildings in the town centre thus saving them from demolition. He formed a loose partnership with Ernest Gimson and his great friend, Norman Jewson, both significant Arts and Crafts designers. This work gave him a deep understanding and appreciation of the traditions of Cotswold vernacular building. Griggs, settled at Dover's House, flourished as an illustrator, at the same time developing the imaginative architectural and topographical compositions which formed his typical mature work. In 1924, he was a founder member of the Campden Society, which sought to preserve the historic town.
Griggs established his own printing press in 1921, in order to satisfy his perfectionist tendencies; he had been dissatisfied by the results gained with a number of commercial printers. In January 1922 he married Nina Blanche Muir. Dover's House rapidly become too small for his growing family, and Griggs began work on plans to build his own house. He secured a plot of land, in the form of an orchard in the Leysbourne area of the town, and work began in 1927. Griggs employed local craftsmen, and acted as architect, client, and critic. He retained a barn on the site, and incorporated part of it into the house which he built. Early drawings show the whole barn, extending further southwards from the southern end of the existing eastern range; but the lower end of the building was later demolished and never incorporated into the final building. Griggs provided his builders with rough sketches, rather than finished designs, and supervised every aspect of the work himself. He was frequently dissatisfied with the work, requiring perfection and the highest degree of quality in design, materials and workmanship, and insisting on the same level of craftsmanship and finish in those areas of the building which would never be seen as in those most prominent elements. For this reason, the work progressed extremely slowly, sometimes even moving backwards, as Griggs insisted on completed work with which he was not satisfied being pulled down and remade. Peter Waals' workshops in Chalford near Stroud supplied much of the interior and many of the fittings; his ledger illustrates the slow progress made in 1928 and 1929, as elm floorboards and oak doors and doorframes were prepared and supplied, though even by 1929 much of the work remained incomplete. In March 1930, Griggs moved his printing press, which had been made by Waals in 1923 at a cost of £5 15s 0d, into the room which had been prepared for it in the eastern range; the family followed in October, the month in which Peter Waals supplied the three oak external doors. The internal doors he had previously provided, however, were not yet hung, and the house remained unfinished, damp, and draughty. The following year, Waals provided the remaining doors, and iron door furniture made by Alfred Bucknall, who had come to work with Waals from the Sapperton workshops.
Work on the house, though largely complete by 1931, continued for the remainder of Griggs' life; the floorboards for the living room were not delivered until 1932, and as late as 1936 Waals was still charging Griggs for a man's time for finishing and repairs, as well as finishing touches such as window boards. By the time of Griggs' death in 1938, the stock market crash and the associated fall in the art market meant that his finances were in a poor state, and his estate still owed £500 to those who had worked on the house. As a result it was sold at auction, in 1938, and subsequently became gradually neglected. It suffered a severe fire in 1973, which destroyed much of the western wing, and caused smoke damage to other parts of the house, though most of the building was unaffected. The house, by then renamed Dover's Court, was listed at Grade II in 1973. Despite the fire damage, it was bought by new owners, and sensitively repaired in 1974. The western wing was rebuilt in truncated form, without the original bay window to the south, employing salvaged stone and elm floorboards where possible, using some modern materials in the roof. The building has been officially renamed New Dover's House.
MATERIALS: The house is constructed from Cotswold limestone rubble brought to course, with limestone ashlar dressings, under Cotswold stone slate roofs with ashlar stacks. One bay facing the courtyard is timber-framed, and some internal partitioning is also timber-framed. The rainwater goods are in lead.
PLAN: The building is a slightly irregular U-shape on plan, one wing shorter than the other; the eastern and western ranges run north-south, with the main east-west range running between their northern ends. The eastern range incorporates part of a C18 barn which was on the site before the house was constructed.
EXTERIOR: The building as it stands today is a substantial Cotswold Arts and Crafts house, built 1927-37, designed by Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs for himself; damaged by fire in 1973 and repaired in 1974. Much of the interior work and the fittings were made by craftsmen from the workshops of Peter Waals and other members of the Sapperton group. The house is constructed from Cotswold limestone rubble brought to course, with limestone ashlar dressings, under Cotswold stone slate roofs with ashlar stacks. One bay facing the courtyard is timber-framed, and some internal partitioning is also timber-framed. The rainwater goods are in lead. The building is a slightly irregular U-shape on plan, one wing shorter than the other; the eastern and western ranges run north-south, with the main east-west range running between their northern ends. The eastern range incorporates part of a C18 barn which was on the site before the house was constructed.
The house is principally of two storeys, the main range having an additional range of rooms contained within the attic. The building's elevations are irregular, with gabled bays, and various elements of projection and recession, reflecting its organic growth and Griggs' understanding of vernacular Cotswold building. The northern range has putlog holes remaining from the building's construction using traditional timber scaffolding. The roofs have raised verges with stone copings. The windows all have chamfered stone mullions, with various numbers of lights and in differing sizes; they are set within chamfered stone reveals, except for those in the timber-framed bay, which are timber windows with chamfered timber mullions. All the windows have rectangular leaded lights and wrought-iron cames with spear ends, and wrought-iron decorative latches. To the north, the principal elevation of the main range is of five irregular bays, the central and more deeply projecting bay having a two-storey canted bay window. Further to the right is a shallow blind gabled bay of single-storey height, with a tall rectangular stack. In the re-entrant angle between the first and second bays is a complex angled entrance to the scullery, with a datestone of 1929.
The three ranges form a small courtyard to the garden side. The eastern wing has a steeply-pitched roof with wide gables forming half-dormers; the northern bay is timber-framed. There are large buttresses to the southern end of this range, which has a small doorway, over which is a datestone for 1927, carved by Eric Gill. This range has elaborate octagonal chimney stacks on square bases, those to the south in a cluster of four. The northern range has a moulded plinth, and an ashlar finish. The pitched roof is steep, and has clustered stacks. The garden entrance doorway is modest, offset to the right, and set under a cambered-arched head in a chamfered reveal. The door, in common with the two other external doors, are double-boarded plank doors with elaborate, scrolled wrought-iron hinges. In the corner with the western wing is a polygonal stair bay, with tall windows to each face, rising to the left to follow the staircase. The roof of the turret has a shallow parapet, behind which rises a small, timber-framed and louvred gable. The southern end of the western wing was largely rebuilt in the 1970s following fire damage, and is now shorter than the original footprint of the house. The south gable-end wall includes the re-sited blocks carrying the inscription carved by Gordon Russell, which reads: NEW DOVER'S HOUSE WAS DESIGNED AND BUILDED BY F L M G RA 1927-1937.
INTERIOR: The interior of the building retains a wealth of high-quality features designed by Griggs and made by significant craftspeople of the Cotswold Arts and Crafts movement. The floors have wide elm boards, the ceilings have exposed chamfered beams with run-out stops, and exposed joists, and there is a variety of ashlar and timber fireplaces throughout the building. The walls are variously timber-framed, plaster, exposed rubble stone and ashlar. All the doors, apart from that to the scullery lobby, are plank doors with decorative nail studding made at Peter Waals' workshop in Chalford, with wrought-iron door handles and strap hinges made by Alfred Bucknall. Both the main and secondary stairs are solid-tread oak winders. The exterior entrances in the northern range, to north and south, give access into an entrance hall which faces the garden and has an internal window to the kitchen. The complex plan of the main range allowed a number of service rooms to be contained within a relatively small footprint, with the principal living rooms contained mainly in the western wing, and Griggs' working area in the eastern wing. The eastern range has a large room built to house Griggs' printing press. The western wing houses two principal rooms, that to the south being the remodelled lounge. This has a wide inglenook fireplace in its northern wall with a chamfered bressumer over, now housing a wood-burning stove. The main stair winds through the well-lit turret with tall stair windows set into exposed ashlar walls; the secondary stair is accessed behind a studded plank door, adjacent to which is a similar door to the cellar stair. The first-floor rooms are reached from corridors which run along the ranges, with rooms opening from one side. The rooms in the eastern and northern ranges have exposed roof trusses including half-crucks, collars and purlins. In the eastern range, the timber-framed bay houses Griggs' former study. The western bay has a later-C20 roof structure of softwood. The cellar is reached by a stone winder stair; the room is L-shaped, built in stone, and has round-arched vaulting. One wall has incised initials made by the craftsmen who built the house.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: to the north of the house is an outbuilding known as the TACK ROOM, a two-storey structure built in limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. It has timber-framed partitions to the ground floor, which appears to have been used as stabling. The loft above is reached by an external stair; its exposed roof structure has high queen struts and a raised collar.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.