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Summerhouse of Stukeley House, Stamford

Description: Summerhouse of Stukeley House

Grade: II
Date Listed: 20 February 2014
Building ID: 1412673

OS Grid Reference: TF0275107281
OS Grid Coordinates: 502751, 307281
Latitude/Longitude: 52.6535, -0.4825

Locality: Stamford
Local Authority: South Kesteven
County: Lincolnshire
Postcode: PE9 1EE

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Listing Text


Summerhouse built c.1840 in the garden of Stukeley House.

Reason for Listing

The summerhouse in the garden of Stukeley House, built c.1840, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural quality: it is a picturesque garden building of evident architectural quality, Tudoresque in character.

* Interior: the interior has a vernacular style. Notably, It has a finely panelled dado and ceiling, and handsome corner stone fireplace, which give the impression of a miniature Tudor parlour;

* Historic interest: the association with the famous antiquarian William Stukeley is manifested in the C18 stone tablet above the door of the summerhouse, which was originally made for the Temple.

* Group value: it has strong group value with the listed Stukeley House and the scheduled site of the town defences.


Barn Hill appears to have had relatively distinguished occupants since the later Middle Ages and there has been a house on the site of no. 9 since this period. From 1630 it was occupied by Alderman Richard Wolph, a wealthy grocer and Royalist sympathiser who is said to have befriended Charles I. It is thought that the King stayed at the house in May 1646 just before he surrendered to the Scottish Army. The C17 postern gate through which Charles I is said to have passed was located in the old town wall that bounded the garden on the northern side. The gate was later moved by the Revd William Stukeley, the renowned antiquarian, who bought the house from the Butlers in 1738. He said that ‘though old, it will be comfortable and not inelegant’. Stukeley lived there for eighteen years and ‘was pre-occupied with its beatification.’ He laid out a Baroque garden which had temples, an obelisk, a prospect mound and ‘Rosamund’s Bower’. This refers to a legendary maze created by Henry II in Woodstock Park, Oxfordshire, in order to conceal his mistress Rosamund Clifford from the jealous Queen Eleanor. Set in the north wall which follows the line of the medieval town wall are fragments, presumably from Stukeley's collection, which include a capital and a corbel of the C13 and medieval responds. Little of Stukeley’s garden now remains.

In 1796 the house was bought by Henry Tatam, alderman and cabinet maker, who set about rebuilding it, presumably to his own design. In 1802 it was described as newly built. In 1840 Stukeley House was bought by James Atter who probably rebuilt the rear wing. He was probably also responsible for the construction of the summerhouse which dates this period and was refurbished some sixty years later. It bears the C18 stone tablet with a quotation from Cowley that Stukeley had placed in the Temple of Flora, one of the garden buildings that has since been lost.


Summerhouse built c.1840 in the garden of Stukeley House.

MATERIALS: timber-framing with rendered panels supported on a plinth of ashlared limestone laid to courses. Roof covering of plain red clay tiles.

PLAN: the summerhouse is built up against the north garden wall and faces south over the garden. It is rectangular on plan.

EXTERIOR: the summerhouse is a picturesque little building in the Tudor revival style with square timber framing. It has one storey under a half-hipped, steeply pitched roof with exposed rafters at the eaves. The ridge piece formed of saddle-back tiles is surmounted at the front end by a finial, and at the other end there is a perforated weather vane with the date 1849 located on the wall. In the place of kneelers are the carved timber heads of a dog and a cat which bear the traces of having been painted. The gable end forms the front (south) elevation which has a wide, centrally placed doorway. This has a four-centred arch opening with carved and painted timber birds and foliage in the spandrels. The double-leaf timber doors have a single raised and fielded panel at the bottom, six panes in the middle section, and eighteen small panes in the upper section. This is flanked by two windows with the same glazing bar pattern as the door, except the small panes are of coloured glass of various shades. Above the door is an C18 rectangular stone tablet inscribed with the following: ‘HIC SPARGE FLORES, SPARGE BREVES ROSAS:/ NAM VITA GAUDET MORTUA FLORIBUS:/ HERBISQUE ODORATIS CORONA/ VATIS ADHUC CINEREM CALENTEM.’ (This translates as ‘Here scatter flowers, scatter brief roses/ For life (which dies) rejoices in flowers/ And with sweet smelling plants/ Crowns the still warm ashes of the poet’.) Above the tablet, supported by carved timber consoles, is a blind box containing a wide blind to pull down over the door and windows. The side elevations have a mid-rail and convex braces between the wall plate and posts. They are lit by a single window in the same style as those on the front.

INTERIOR: this has a canted ceiling clad in square panelling, four panels of which are pierced in an elaborate pattern. The interior is also panelled to dado height and the north wall has a shallow, three-centred arch recess. There is a stone chimneypiece in the north-east corner which has a moulded Tudor arch, and the floor is covered in wood blocks laid in a chequerboard pattern.

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