Ashridge Management College, Little Gaddesden
Description: Ashridge Management College
Date Listed: 14 May 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 157703
OS Grid Reference: SP9939012181
OS Grid Coordinates: 499390, 212181
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7995, -0.5601
Location: Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire HP4 1NS
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LITTLE GADDESDEN ASHRIDGE PARK
SP 91 SE (East side)
1/172 Ashridge Management
14.5.52 College (formerly
listed as Ashridge)
Country house, now a management college. 1808-1814 by James Wyatt
(d.1813) completed by his nephew Jeffry Wyatt (Sir Jeffry Wyattville
after 1824) for 7th Earl of Bridgewater, sold 1921 and became The Bonar
Law Memorial College, and after 1954 Ashridge Management College. The
house incorporates remains of a College of Bonhommes founded 1283 which
became a royal residence after its dissolution in 1539 until sold by
Elizabeth in 1575 and acquired by Egerton family in 1604. Largely
demolished 1800 by 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (d.1803) and house erected
for 7th Earl in park reputedly improved by 'Capability' Brown c.1777
with immediate surrounding gardens designed by Humphrey Repton c.1813.
The oldest part is 1285 - 1350, a twin-aisled 7 bays rib-vaulted
undercroft to the great hall of the monastic refectory incorporated as
a beer cellar by James Wyatt now below the dining room and drawing room.
Of Totternhoe stone with low-pitched slate roofs, the present house is
one of the finest examples of an early Gothic revival mansion. It is
built of ashlar with a castellated parapet and casement windows with
stone dripstones over and in most cases windows of 2 lights with obtusely
pointed heads (those on S front altered by Jeffry Wyatt 1818 and 1839).
The entrance front faces north and consists of a central block
containing the state apartments and 2 office courtyards to the west,
which was the extent of James Wyatt's work, and 2 stable courtyards
beyond these on the west and on the east a block of private apartments
at an angle to the main building and an orangery beyond ending in a
turret, which were all added by Jeffry Wyatt 1815-17. The main block
has a central tower, to which enrichments and a projecting porte cochere
were added by Jeffry Wyatt c.1814, and on each side of it a block of 3s.
and 4 w. with taller octagonal turrets at the angles. The first office
courtyard to the right is slightly recessed and comprises 2s. and 9 ws.
all flanked by buttresses. The second office courtyard has rectangular
towers of 3s. and 1 w. each at its angles and between these a retaining
wall with pointed lights flanked by buttresses and with a four-centred
carriage archway in the centre. The first workshop and stable courtyard
comprises 1s. with a stepped gable in the centre. Finally a tall carriage
archway surmounted by a gable with a cross at its apex and flanked but
buttresses gives entrance to the second stable courtyard. The Brownlow
Hall here of brick and stone with slate roof has preserved in it a
giant frieze of Venus and putti with armorial centrepiece and 3 early
C20 murals. The N stables are grandly appointed and now house a museum.
The private apartments to the left of the centre block comprise 2s. and
1Ows. 2 bays on both floors and 2 square turrets with octagonal
buttresses at all 4 of their angles. Beyond is a blind wall of the
orangery ending in an octagonal turret. On the garden side the
conservatory to the left of the main block was altered by Clough
Williams-Ellis in 1919 to form the dining-room of the modern College.
The Chapel (1817) makes a right angled projection beyond this. A pair of
fine C14 carved doors re-used in lobby. Spire replaced in fibreglass
1969 after being cut off as a safety measure by Lord Brownlow in 1922.
Large medieval well in vaulted wellhouse below chapel. Flint-lined and
224 ft deep with C19 large cast iron horizontally geared wheel to drive
pumps in 3 lifts formerly powered by donkeys circling the wellhead and
stabled at rear. Now the Coult Museum with pumps etc. displayed after
excavation 1970-71. Sheltering the N side of the Monk's Garden is the
late C14 Monks' Barn timber framed on brick and stone sill with old red
tile roof. Jowled posts, large curved braces, queen-post roof with wind
braces to 2 butt purlins. Close-studding and red brick infilling exposed
on the north side. Extended and S side remodelled by Jeffry Wyatt in
1816 when it was converted into a covered walk facing the Monks' Garden.
The north side has the date 1816 on the rain water head and 2-four-
centre headed blocked wagon entrances. The south side has 19 four-centred
arches with wooden columns, and a recessed brick wall inserted behind
these. 7 gabled dormers, front ones altered 1972, the centre one larger,
and wooden octagonal lantern of Gothic design in the centre of the roof
with pointed leaded spire, all added in 1821. The barn was altered to a
dormitory with inserted floor in 1972. A wall of knapped flints with 11
buttresses and an arched alcove with seat joins the Monks' Barn to
Mathew Digby Wyatt's 1884 red brick Fern House to the south. Of the
interior, only the hall, the staircase tower with its statues by
Sir Richard Westmacott, and the chapel are Gothic in design. All these
were designed by James Wyatt, though the latter was completed by Jeffry
after James's death, and the stalls were designed by Jeffry. The C16
stained glass windows from Stainfeld in Germany have been removed to the
Victoria and Albert Museum. The classical re-decoration of the sumptious
interiors including the drawing-room and the billiard room was by Sir
Matthew Digby Wyatt 1855-63 for Lady Marion Alford. (VCH(1908)209-11:
RCHM(1911)143 no 2: Pevsner(1977)237-40: RCHM Typescript: Linstrum
(1972)228-9: Douglas Coult Ashridge (1979) Ashridge Management College)
Listing NGR: SP9939012181
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.