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Description: The Mansion
Date Listed: 28 June 1960
English Heritage Building ID: 132140
OS Grid Reference: SO8090201384
OS Grid Coordinates: 380902, 201384
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7109, -2.2778
SO 80 SW WOODCHESTER WOODCHESTER PARK
4/265 The Mansion
Large country house. c1854-1868 by Benjamin Bucknall for William
Leigh. Ashlar limestone; ashlar chimneys; stone slate roof.
High Victorian Gothic style. Built around small courtyard. Main
2-storey with attic L-plan range to south; chapel to east;
secondary range to west; and service range to north, built into
hill side. South front: 3 parapet gables above buttressed wall.
Symmetrical 8-window fenestration, 4-light wide mullioned and
transomed to ground floor with shouldered arched lower and trefoil
headed upper lights, 3-light wide to upper floor with trefoil
headed upper lights, paired cross windows in attic gables with
quatrefoil vent over. Mullioned cellar windows. Continuous drip
moulds above windows running over buttresses, alternating
buttresses having realistically carved animal gargoyles receiving
water from channel down coped top of buttress below stone gutters
on carved stone brackets. Paired ridge-mounted chimneys with
circular shafts. East side: 3 main gable ends, central to chapel
with simple fin-like buttresses and elaborate flowing tracery to 5-
light east window. Two 3-light chapel windows on south side,
single to north, with matching tracery. Gable end of main south
range to left with large off-centre single-storey canted bay window
having large mullioned and transomed window to each face; diagonal
corner buttresses with attached shafts and winged animal gargoyles;
trefoil-headed lancet-pierced parapet. Large pointed relieving
arch above bay is echoed by drip mould. Fenestration otherwise
mixed mullioned or transomed, upper having separate hoodmoulds.
Gable end of service range to right with scattered mullioned
casements, bold diagonal buttresses and ridge-mounted stone vents.
West side: very changeful, not contrived but resulting from large
gable end of main range to right, buttressed return wing to centre
and service range to left with projecting wing. Belfry tower set
behind dominates this range, having tall coped hipped roof, carved
cresting and iron weather vane; tall stone louvred belfry
openings. Courtyard: buttressed west end of chapel with
spherical triangular window containing rose tracery; two 2-light
windows below with Decorated tracery. Central gabled projection
to rear of main range with stepped trefoil headed stair lights;
much leaded glazing installed. Various stone rainwater pipes,
buttresses and stone-bracketed gutters.
Interior: fine tierceron chapel vault with individually carved
flower bosses. Most of house interior is incomplete, arched stone
fireplaces and doorways being installed. Main range has one room
with completed stone vaulting, otherwise only springing in place.
Round arched moulded rere-arches to main front windows. Simpler
vaulting to staircase and corridors. Many other stone fittings
including bath and tunnel vaulted shower with animal gargoyle water
outlet. Leigh bought Woodchester Park from Lord Ducie in 1845
demolishing the C18 mansion and starting this large house, designed
by a young local architect. Bucknall was greatly influenced by
Viollet-le-Duc from an early age, becoming his English translator,
and this is his most thorough application of a rational approach to
Gothic architecture. Never completed, the house is partially
glazed and completely roofed. One of the most remarkable houses
of its period and uniquely exhibiting its construction process.
Also in the large landscaped park (possibly by Capability Brown)
are a boat house (q.v.) and The Tower (q.v.).
(The NMR has an extensive set of photographs. M. Girouard, The
Victorian Country House, 1979; D. Verey, article in Country
Life, 6th February 1969, and Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds,
Listing NGR: SO8090201384
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.