A house of c.1911, designed for Col AS James by a follower of the Arts and Crafts movement. Attributed to both Norman Jewson and Ernest Barnsley and built by Walter Gorton.
Reason for Listing
Greystones, Cirencester Road, Minchinhampton, a house of c.1911, which was built by Walter Gorton and whose design has been attributed to both Norman Jewson and Ernest Barnsley and also Gorton, is influenced by Arts and Crafts principles of design. It is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality: both externally and internally the house shows considerable care in its design both in its massing and elevations, and in the attention to small details, and this is born out in the execution of its construction;
* Intactness: although there has been some alteration to secondary areas, the principal spaces remain as designed, with little disturbance to their essential appearance;
The Arts and Crafts movement which developed in Britain in the later C19 was born from a series of ideals. The Great Exhibition of 1851 revealed the wonders of mass production, but also confronted viewers with a stylistic jumble and sham materials. The theorist and critic John Ruskin wrote about the deadening affects of industrial manufacture and the broken connections between art, society and labour. An attempt to re-connect these elements was developed by William Morris through making things in a much more direct manner, producing handcrafted objects which were both designed and made by craftsmen using the best natural materials. Furniture, tapestry and carpets were the first expressions of the movement and architecture then followed, perhaps started with the Red House, Bexleyheath, designed for Morris by Philip Webb.
The aesthetic of these designs changed in the next generation to a lighter look, with clear outlines, which rejected the deep colours and medieval influences which had often inspired Morris. Instead they turned towards an English tradition of design from the C17 and C18 centuries. The characteristics were described by Arthur Blomfield in 1890 as ‘steadfastness of purpose, reserve in design and thorough workmanship’ and this applied equally to furniture and architecture. A domestic vocabulary of inglenooks, settles and dressers developed and old techniques and vernacular traditions were revived.
A series of workshops were started by architects and craftsmen, such as the Century Guild formed by AH Mackmurdo and the Art Workers Guild, by William Lethaby. Their work was sometimes exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in 1887, which had its first exhibition at the New Gallery in Regent Street and gave its name to the movement. Another outlet for the movement’s labour-intensive and expensive products was Liberty’s shop. Despite the apparent simplicity of the movement’s designs, the background could be complex and metropolitan and several of the pioneers of the movement were London-trained intellectuals; the city of Birmingham founded the first civic school of art, which soon became an academy for Arts and Crafts principals, and so did the Central School in London.
A combination of chance and an emerging desire to escape from the capital meant that Gloucestershire became the home of several groups of craftsmen interested in the Arts and Crafts. The architect Guy Dawber had lived in the area for a number of years, but others moved there, partly because of the traditions of vernacular craftsmanship and good raw materials, and partly because of the relative obscurity of the county at the start of the C20. Ernest Gimson, an engineer’s son from Leicester had trained as an architect in the office of JD Sedding (who also trained Ernest Barnsley). Greatly influenced by Morris, he became a founder member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. In 1893 Gimson and Ernest Barnsley and his brother, Sidney (who had trained with Norman Shaw) moved to the Cotswolds ‘to live near to nature’ and the three settled at Sapperton. CR Ashbee had founded the Guild of Handicrafts in 1888 in the East End of London, and this moved in 1902 to Chipping Camden. Ashbee said that ‘the proper place for the Arts and Crafts is in the country’.
A further influence was Detmar Blow, a fashionable, London-based architect, but with connections to Ruskin and Morris, and a good understanding of Cotswold vernacular, who gradually built his own house, Hilles, just outside Stroud from 1914-1939.
New talents were drawn to the workshops and a cross-currency of influences between Gimson’s and Ashbee’s practices was manifested in the work of artists in the next generation like Frederick Landseer Griggs and Norman Jewson (who married Ernest Barnsley’s daughter). Other local architects working in the spirit of Arts and Crafts at the time include Thomas Falconer (in partnership with John Campbell and Baker), who was prolific in the inter-war period and Percy Morley Horder, who did much work for the Stroud Brewery.
Greystones, is believed to have been built c. 1911 for Col AS James, who named the house La Bicoque, but took this name for his new house when he moved elsewhere in Minchinhampton. Greystones is attributed to Norman Jewson by Alan Brooks (see SOURCES, B of E, Gloucestershire Vol 1). Jenny Bailey and Catherine Gordon attribute the house to Ernest Barnsley, as did David Verey in the first edition of Buildings of England, Gloucestershire Vol 1 (1970). The deeds to the house record the builder as Walter Gorton, who built several Barnsley houses and was also quarrymaster on Rodborough Common. He designed and built Arts and Crafts houses himself.
Work undertaken by the present owners uncovered a newspaper dated September 1917 in a stud wall, which may indicate the date of alterations to the original plan, including the building of a more substantial staircase to the attic floor, which continues the design of the lower flights. Alterations in the late-C20 and early-C21 have included the removal of walls to combine kitchen, pantry and scullery to make a large kitchen and ground floor cloakroom. At first floor level, bathrooms have been added and partition walls removed and partitions in the attic have also been removed to create one open space with eaves storage.
A house of c.1911, designed for Col AS James by a follower of the Arts and Crafts movement. The design is attributed to both Norman Jewson and Ernest Barnsley and the deeds record the house as built by Walter Gorton. The building has two storeys with an attic and is built of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings and a hipped roof with graduated stone slates.
EXTERIOR: all windows are casements. The south front is near-symmetrical, of three bays, with a central gable. This gable has two three-light mullioned windows to the ground floor and two, two-light windows at first floor level, with a vertical slit window to the gable. To the right of this central feature there is a three-light window at ground floor level and a three-light first floor dormer with hipped roof and stone-tiled flanks. At left there is a similar first floor window set above a re-worked arrangement to the ground floor. Originally this bay had a recessed loggia, but this was firstly enclosed by sliding plate glass windows in the late-C20, and this arrangement has in turn been replaced by a wooden screen, with glazed upper body of six lights which has French windows to the centre. The hipped roof has paired, cross-axial chimneys to the ridge. Recessed at right is a single-storey service wing with replaced C20 doors and a tall chimney of two stages.
The east flank has two bays with two-light mullioned windows to the ground floor and a two-light gabled dormer at left and a four-light similar dormer to right. The service wing projects at right.
The west flank has mullioned ground-floor windows of two and three lights at right and a canted bay window to left. The first floor has hipped dormers of one and two lights.
The northern, entrance, front has a broad gabled wing to the centre with a doorway at left which has a massive lintel with quadrant moulding to the forward edge. The doorway has chamfers to the sides. To right is a three-light mullion whose heavy lintel is split into three blocks, supported by the mullions. To the first floor above are two, two-light windows with similar mullions and there is a vertical slit window to the gable. At right the roof sweeps low and there is a four-light ground-floor window with a two-light gabled dormer to the first floor and a single light to the attic. The service rooms to left have single-light mullions.
INTERIOR: the entrance hall has an inglenook fireplace with cranked bressumer. The L-shaped staircase leads up from here. Ceiling beams are exposed and the flooring here and in the dining room is wood blocks laid in herring-bone pattern. The dining room has a chamfered central ceiling beam and two window seats. To one side of the hearth is an original, fitted cupboard. The fire surround has been removed. The door here, as elsewhere in the house, is of planks with nailhead decoration and strap hinges. The sitting room has a window seat and exposed beams. The fire surround has been replaced. The former loggia at the south end has been enclosed and now forms an extension to the room, approached through the former external doors. The former kitchen, scullery and pantry now form one large kitchen.
The oak staircase has a moulded handrail and rectangular balusters which have emphatic chamfers to their longer sides. The same pattern appears to both the flights leading up from the ground floor and again, leading to the attic, although the latter appears to be of a later date.
At first floor level the majority of bedrooms have window seats and exposed beams and two rooms have fitted cupboards which appear original. Some casement lights have been replaced, but the majority are original with their bronze latches and stays.
Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the garage block and garden shed to the north west of Greystones and the garden buildings to the north east of the house are not of special architectural or historic interest.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.