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Description: Burton Hill School
Date Listed: 2 July 2007
Building ID: 1418394
OS Grid Reference: ST9339286406
OS Grid Coordinates: 393392, 186406
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5765, -2.0967
Burton Hill School
Detached house, now school. 1842 by C.R. Cockerell RA., rebuilt c.1846, probably to the earlier designs, with later C19 alterations. Major mid-C20 extensions not of special interest. Tudor Gothic style. Bath stone with slate roofs.
PLAN: irregular square plan with service wing to north, dining room and ballroom to west; large post-war extensions to north and west ranges.
EXTERIOR: entrance front: angle-set entrance porch of two storeys, with arched door and mullioned windows to each side above a heraldic relief. To the left, a tall three-gable range with a projecting ground floor; in the advanced right-hand gable is a lozenge bearing the letters IC (for John Cockerell). To right, a clock tower with triple openings to each side, and an ogee dome above. East side of northern service range with mullioned windows to each floor with hood-moulds over; and four gables with kneelers and ball-finials over; twin gables to northern return. Stone fretted parapet in front leading off from entrance: mounting block to left of door. South garden front: to right, twin gables, each with two storey canted bays with battlemented parapets; two-gable return with tall projecting ground floor extension. Three-bay continuation to west, with door, to right, set within mullioned windows, and, to left, a projecting ten-light bay window. Beyond this is a single storey conservatory with a densely mullioned windows beneath a fretted parapet. Beyond this is the ballroom extension, with a large gable to each elevation: the south elevation has a two-storey canted bay, and the west elevation a tall projecting twelve-light window with parapet above. Decorative chimneys and finials to roof. Rear of east and west ranges irregular and altered. C20 extensions clearly identifiable and not of special interest. Pierced stone balustrade over low wall runs in front of east (entrance) elevation; close by is a stone mounting block.
INTERIOR: double-height octagonal entrance hall with Gothic fireplace, compartmented ceiling and arched openings; corridor leads to principal reception rooms along south front. That to the SE is panelled to picture rail height, with a Louis XV style marble chimneypiece; that to its west is C18 in style with a classical chimneypiece with carved oakleaves. The dining room is Jacobean in style, with an elaborate two-stage chimneypiece and arcaded panelling, with Jacobean plasterwork to the ceiling. The ballroom also has elaborate Jacobean decoration, with an elaborate compartmented plasterwork ceiling bearing the Miles coat of arms to the centre, and an elaborate eclectic column-flanked chimneypiece with decorative tilework, beaten copper hood, and a Jacobean frieze. The open well oak staircase is Jacobean in inspiration, with heavy newel posts, uprights in the form of tapering pedestals, and heavy hand rails; above is a glazed lantern. Upper rooms retain some fireplaces, joinery and plasterwork
HISTORY: the house forms part of the Burton Hill estate, sold off in parts in the 1830s. John Cockerell (1785-1869), manager of the Sun Life Assurance Co. and brother of the renowned architect C.R. Cockerell RA, had acquired the house and 35 acres by 1839, and asked his brother to design a new house in 1842. Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) was one of the leading architects of his day, serving as Surveyor to St Paul's Cathedral, architect to the Bank of England, and Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy; he was the first recipient of the RIBA gold medal in 1848. A major fire in 1846 destroyed much of it, but rebuilding is thought to have been started soon after, presumably following Cockerell's original designs. By 1849 it had passed to the Miles family: the first owner, C.W. Miles, was Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1856. The estate was sold in 1919 and in 1945 the house was taken over by the Shaftesbury Society and used as a school.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
* a substantially intact country house of the 1840s, designed by one of the outstanding architects of his day for his brother
* a good example of the Tudor Gothic style, showing the adaptation of traditional forms to create a small-scale gentleman's residence
* the survival of numerous internal features of note, displaying a high order of design and craftsmanship, as well as sophisticated planning
* the added interest of later C19 alterations (such as the clock tower and ballroom) which contribute further to the architectural achievement
SOURCES: Victoria County History Wiltshire vol 14, 141-42; David Watkin, `The Life and Work of C.R. Cockerell' (1974), 253.
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.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.