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Southwater House, Southwater

Description: Southwater House

Grade: II
Date Listed: 24 July 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1409948

OS Grid Reference: TQ1515826340
OS Grid Coordinates: 515161, 126350
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0250, -0.3593

Locality: Southwater
Local Authority: Horsham District Council
County: West Sussex
Country: England
Postcode: RH13 9BT

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Listing Text


Former vicarage, 1854, designed by Joseph Clarke in the Gothic style.

Reason for Listing

Southwater House, a stone 1854 former vicarage in the Gothic style designed by Joseph Clarke, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a carefully designed asymmetrical building with varied elevational treatments;
* Materials: constructed of good quality stonework with ashlar dressings;
* Craftsmanship: includes a fine stained glass staircase window, original pine joinery throughout and a number of stone fireplaces of varying designs, one dated, one incorporating Minton tiles;
* Rarity: Joseph Clarke built few vicarages and this is certainly of comparable standard to his one listed example (at Congleton in Cheshire);
* Degree of intactness: virtually unaltered externally and internally and including the attached stable courtyard and boundary walls.


Southwater House was built in 1854 as the vicarage to Holy Innocents Church Southwater. The church was built by J P Harrison in 1850 but the vicarage was designed by Joseph Clarke. The vicarage cost over £3,000 to build. The building is shown on the first edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey map of 1875 with its present outline. Southwater House remained in use as a vicarage until 1958 when it became a private residence.

Joseph Clarke (1819/20-1881) was a Gothic Revival architect who became a member of the Ecclesiological Society in 1853, served as Diocesan Surveyor to the sees of Canterbury and Rochester and, from 1871, to the See of St. Albans. Most of his commissions were churches, whether wholly designed by him, or restorations of or additions to existing churches. He also built at least twelve schools and published plans of them in his 1852 'Schools and School house: a series of Views, Plans and Details, for Rural Parishes'. Other commissions included a teachers' training college at Culham, Oxfordshire, side wings to Beddington Place in Wallington, Surrey and the Metropolitan Convalescent Institution at Weybridge, Surrey. Only one other vicarage by him is listed, St. Stephen's Vicarage (Grade II), at Congleton in Cheshire, built in 1862.


DATE: a Gothic style former vicarage of 1854, dated on drawing room fireplace.

ARCHITECT: designed by Joseph Clarke.

MATERIALS: built of coursed and squared stone rubble with ashlar dressings. Tiled roof with three stone chimneystacks. It is an asymmetrical building of two to three storeys with a single-storey service end and an attached former stable courtyard to the north-east.

EXTERIOR: the entrance front faces south-east and is of three bays. The central entrance bay is of three storeys, with a narrow gable, a trefoil-arched window to the first floor and an arched stone entrance with corbel heads and a six-panel door with elaborate iron hinges. The larger northern bay is also of three storeys with a casement window to the second floor, triple sash to the first floor and a projecting mullioned and transomed window to the ground floor. The recessed south bay is of two storeys with a triple sash window to the upper floor with a gable with bargeboards and a triple mullioned and transomed window to the ground floor.
The south-west elevation has an ornamental trefoil ventilation panel to the gable end, a ground floor five-light mullioned and transomed bay window below and a large square bay.
The north-west elevation, also of three bays, has a wide two-storey gabled southern bay with a triple window to the first floor and two French windows on the ground floor. The narrow central bay has a two-light trefoil-headed staircase window on the first floor and the wider three-storey northern bay has a second floor casement window, a triple sash to the first floor and a mullioned and transomed window to the ground floor.
The north-west side of the main house has a gabled dormer and external chimneystack but is otherwise covered by the single-storey service wing. This has a smaller arched entrance with plank door on the north-east side and terminates in a former stables with hayloft over, aligned south-east to north-west, with a central gabled dormer with wooden bargeboards.
Attached at the eastern end of the former stable block is a stone wall enclosing the former stable yard, which incorporates a carriage entrance flanked by square stone gatepiers capped with ball finials. At the northern end this wall is attached to a further range of single-storey outbuildings including a former coach house with a dovecote in the end gable. Attached at the north-west end of these outbuildings is a brick garden wall in Sussex bond, about eight feet high, forming the boundaries of the property.

INTERIOR: the main entrance on the north-west side leads into a small vestibule with a glazed screen leading into the staircase-hall. This has a roll-moulded cornice, exposed V-jointed ashlar walls and a dogleg closed string, pine staircase; this has elaborate turned balusters which are partly twisted in the centre and square newel posts with decorated square finials and pendants. The first-floor staircase window contains stained glass with a pattern of intersecting circles, shields of the See of Chichester and a Tudor rose. There are a number of four-panelled pine doors leading off. The library has a coved cornice, a coffered ceiling, a stone fireplace with carved corner shields of the See of Chichester and foliate spandrels, and retains its window shutters. The morning room has a coved cornice, a stone arched fireplace with foliate spandrels and Fleur de Lys Minton tiles, and also retains its window shutters. The drawing room has a coved cornice, Tuscan columns in the window bay and a stone fireplace with a trefoil arch dated 1854 in the corner corbels of the cornice. The dining room, thought to have been the servants hall originally, has a large cast iron fireplace. The service rooms include a former game larder. The master bedroom has a stone fireplace with a cornice supported on corbels and a pointed arch which is lined with Minton tiles. Other bedrooms have stone fireplaces with a trefoil-shaped or Caernarvon arch or wooden fireplace surrounds with cast iron fire grates. A service staircase to the second floor has twisted balusters and a turned newel post to the landing.

Source: English Heritage

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