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Wilsley Hotel, Cranbrook

Description: Wilsley Hotel

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 20 June 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 168858

OS Grid Reference: TQ7784736943
OS Grid Coordinates: 577847, 136943
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1042, 0.5390

Location: Willesley Gardens, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2LF

Locality: Cranbrook
Local Authority: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: TN17 2LF

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Explore more of the area around Cranbrook, Kent at Explore Britain.

Listing Text

Wilsley Hotel,
20.6.67 (formerly listed
as Ye Olde Wilesley

House, now hotel. 1864-70 for the painter John Calcott Horsley RA by Richard
Norman Shaw, his first important domestic commission, incorporating C18
house to left and C17 outbuilding to right. Red and blue brick chequer on
ground floor to left with mathematical tiled first floor over timber frame.
Single red brick bay at entrance left; red brick additions to right with square
projection of hall to right, tile-hung on first floor. Lower timber-framed
studio-wing clad in red or blue brick chequer on ground floor and tile-hanging
on first floor, projecting at entrance right. Bracketted eaves cornice to main
block with plain tiled hipped roofs. Stepped hip to left, and hipped projecting
wing to right. Off-centre square pavilion-like cupola on main ridge block
with roof hipped up to right and ribbed brick stack behind. Two ribbed brick
stacks behind main ridge to left and tall ribbed brick stack in angle of pro-
jecting wing to right. Two pediment-gabled dormers in centre of main block.
Low hipped plain tiled roof to studio wing at right with very tall flat-headed
semi-dormer studio windows to east and north. Semi-dormer with hipped roof
between main block and projecting wing to right. Two storeys and attics;
Regular 5 window front in centre, glazing bar sashes with open boxes save one
wooden cross window with Casements on first floor in centre and outer left-hand
blocked window on ground floor with single bay to left, the last window blocked.
Ovolo-moulded transom and mullion windows to right, with single bay between
main block and projecting wing which contains very large main hall windows on
ground floor. Almost continuous diamond lattice windows with deep reveals on
ground floor of studio wing, with single window on right return front. Entrance
in centre of main block with double glazed doors. North side: large end transom
and mullion window to Music Room. West front: Square projecting block of
original fireplace to right, much built up above with hall to left. Tile-hung
over ground floor with plaster-decorated cove carried around inglenook on
ground and first floors; plaster decorated half-hipped gable above. Quarter
octagonal bay at end of hall to left in recess to half-timbered music room with
central partice-roofed bay. Various later additions at entrance right.
Interior: Ribbed entrance hall ceiling. Main hall ceiling, ribbed with incised
plaster-decorated panels. Large inglenook-type fireplace with windows flanking.
Music Room with gallery and ribbed bay window. Delft-tiled fireplace. Studio-
wing: exposed timber-frame with notch-jowled posts and queen truss roof. The
Wilsley Hotel is listed II* as one of the earliest examples of the vernacular/
Queen Anne revival of which Shaw was later to be the principal exponent.
Particularly interesting is the survival of the decoration in the cove at the
rear, especially the Japanese-influenced peacock with 'eyes' of green bottle-
bottoms, and the inscription 'UNLESS THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE THEY LABOUR IN
VAIN THAT BUILD IT'. J E Horsley, RA, was a prominant member of the Cranbrook
School of painters.

Listing NGR: TQ7789337022

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.