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Princess Helena College, Temple Dinsley, with Terraces, Steps, Walls, Railings, Gates, Pergolas, and, Preston

Description: Princess Helena College, Temple Dinsley, with Terraces, Steps, Walls, Railings, Gates, Pergolas, and

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 9 June 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 162902

OS Grid Reference: TL1821324826
OS Grid Coordinates: 518213, 224826
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9094, -0.2829

Location: School Lane, Preston, Hertfordshire SG4 7RT

Locality: Preston
Local Authority: North Hertfordshire District Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: SG4 7RT

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Listing Text

(East side)

9/110 Princess Helena College, Temple
9.6.52 Dinsley, with terraces, steps,
walls, railings, gates, pergolas,
and garden buildings (formerly
listed as Temple Dinsley)


Manor house, now Princess Helena College for girls, with terraces,
steps, walls, railings, gates, pergolas, and garden buildings. '1714' on
front rainwater heads, for Benedict Ithell of Chelsea who bought manor
1712, altered and enlarged 1908-9 for H.G. Fenwick ('1909' on rainwater
heads) by E.L. Lutyens, and further extended to E by him for Fenwick
1911 (the Arches). Alterations internally and roofs of cross-wings
jacked-up 4ft for headroom for dormitories in 1935 by Felix J. Lander
for Princess Helena College. Subsequent alterations and extensions for
college. Lutyens incorporated the C18 tall 2-storeys stable block to E
of main house as a raquets court, subsequently altered to domestic
accommodation. Gardens by Gertrude Jekyll 1909-12. Red brick with
lighter red dressings, some stone dressings. Older house in
Flemish-bond, Lutyens work in English-bond. Steep pitched old red tile
roofs, 2 parallel half-hipped roofs over older parts, hipped roofs to
Lutyens work. Wrought iron railings and gates to forecourt. York stone
paving to terraces and steps and landings of garden staircases and
pergolas. The early C18 central part is a double-pile, 2-storeys cellar
and attics house facing S, with central-entrance, end-chimneys plan.
Symmetrical, 7 windows wide, S front, with corner pilasters in
header-bond with stone cap and urn above parapet level. Similar
pilasters flank central door bay. 3 flat-topped dormers. Flush-box sash
windows with 6/6 panes (sashes renewed by Lutyens replacing 2/2 panes
Victorian sashes), with segmental heads below deep segmental light red
gauged arches with stepped Portland stone keystones, the taller central
stone fluted. Rainwater head near each end has an heraldic badge in the
form of a rising bird with date '1714'. Stone moulded doorcase with
entablature and segmental pediment renewed by Lutyens to former pattern
(original similar doorcase on N front). Old 8-panelled door. N front
similar with urns on corner pilaster, pilaster flanking 8-panel central
door with segmental pedimented doorcase, and 7 upper windows. Those to
right of centre have 2 very deep stair windows. Large red brick mid C18
canted bay to left of door with flat gauged arches to sash windows, and
reserved canted sides. Lutyens added a long 2-storeys wing symmetrically
on each side linked by a recessed 2-storeys and attic link with
prominent dutch gable to N and S. The form of the gables is a reference
to similar gables to the crosswings of the C17 brick house formerly on
this site shown in Drapentier's engraving of c.1700. The link has a
large semi-circular window with keystone and triple-sash above 2
segmental tall sash windows, with 3 windows to ground floor on E link
but 2 on W link. The height of the wing parapets range with that of the
main house and they each have corner pilasters with stone caps and urns
to S and N fronts, with 2 storeys and 2 windows wide. Steeper Lutyens
hipped roofs have chamfered angles and have been jacked above parapet
level, the new elevation tilehung, and dormers inserted over windows
below c.1935. The site slopes steeply down to E and Lutyens built a
kitchen wing at lower level there with 5 flat topped sash dormer
windows. In 1911 he built a nursery extension to E of this with stone
arcaded ground floor, Tuscan stone columns within and 3 bays pilastered
S elevation with very steep tile roof. This links to the tall 2-storeys
C18 former stable block with plinth, plat-band and steep hipped roof
adapted by Lutyens and altered to 3-storeys domestic accommodation since.
Elaborate W elevation of W wing, 11 windows long, introduces a moulded
stone cornice at eaves level, recesses in parapet over windows, and
pilasters with stone bases and caps marking where a 2-windows section
breaks forward one bay in from the corners. Recess with segmental base
and head in place of 1st floor window in end bay. Stone central
frontispiece with wrought iron balcony to pilastered and segmental
French doors over moulded hood to glazed doors with bolection moulded
stone surround. Narrow window on each side of door and above. Windows
flush-box Sashes with 6/6 panes, segmental heads and segmental arches
with fluted keystones, plain on 1st floor, stepped on ground floor. Wall
extending to W links to twin garden houses linked by a Tuscan loggia,
facing S. Wooden entablature has guttae to corona to emphasise the 2
rusticated pilasters to each hip-roofed single-storey garden house. 2
pairs of Portland stone Tuscan columns and engaged square stone pier at
nearer corner of each house. Jekyll rose garden on W front and garden
walls and revetment walls with flights of steps extend westward defining
terraced gardens and an upper pool to SW of W wing. Flight of steps and
landings alternately convex and concave on plan descends northwards into
hedged garden at'NIl. Upper terrace links wings on N front with pierced
balustrade of brick rusticated dies and curved tile infill. Steps
descend to right and left to second terrace level at which a circular
stone pool with lead statue is half recessed in a hemicycle tiled vault
central under the upper terrace, revetted terraces run northward at a
higher level, from the upper terrace to a grand terrace along the N
front which has 3 flights of steps descending to a sunken garden, the
middle flight on axis of old house, the others on axes of wings having
divided lower flights to W and superimposed pergolas of oak cambered
beams and circular and square special brick piers. E pergola continues
across E side of sunk garden and over the steps in the revetted terrace
on the N side of the garden with another flight of steps further W on
axis of old house. N terrace extends to E and has a gazebo corbelled out
from its battered SE corner. This is a formal square single-storey
pyramid roofed building with entrance by 3-panels fielded door on W
flanked by narrow windows, flush box sash windows central on S and E
with 6/6 panes. 3 stone steps to door. Panelled interior with fielded
panelling all in plaster. Chequered brick and tile floor. Brick-walled
forecourt to C18 house retained with its moulded brick capping to
side-walls, corner piers, outswept iron railings on top of dwarf wall
with scrolled standards at intervals, and double gates with scrolled
standards, overthrow and cresting with repouse ornament. Lutyens linked
side walls to ends of 2 new wings by dwarf walls, square piers with
moulded stone cap and railings interrupted by a wrought iron gate with
scrolled standards on top of dwarf wall and elaborate scrolled overthrow
with repous6 ornament similar to C18 original. Set in wall of kitchen
court is sandstone plaque brought from former premises of Princess
Helena College in Ealing dated 1881. Pine panelled interior to older
house with wide cut string stair with carved tread ends and 3 balusters
to each step, one fluted and 2 barley-sugar twisted. Heavy stock-lock to
front door. Case-locks and 6-panel fielded doors. Lutyens interiors in W
wing with central octagonal Garden Hall with C18 corner cupboard at NE
with hemicycle top, shaped shelves and painted cove and keystone. Copy
at SE. Former birdcages in outer angles. Fluted pilasters and dentilled
entablature to panelled Smoking Room at N. Panelled Drawing Room at S
with red marble bolection moulded fireplace and china cupboards between
windows. The 1714 house replaced the house of the Sadleir family, owners
since the Dissolution. Before this the manor was the property of the
Knights Templars C13-C14 and then of the Knights Hospitallers with a
small religious community here. Benedict Ithell, Deputy Treasurer to
Chelsea Hospital is said to have paid for the manor in 1712. The
contractors for Lutyens work in 1908-9 were Norman and Burt of Burgess
Hill, Sussex. (RCHM (1911)165: VCH (1912)10: Laurence Weaver Houses and
Gardens by E L Lutyens Country Life, 1913, chapter 16: Pevsner
(1977)359: Lutyens Exhib Cat (1981)123, 194).

Listing NGR: TL1821324826

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.

Source: English Heritage

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