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Description: Headington Hill Hall and Attached Forecourt Wall
Date Listed: 7 December 1992
English Heritage Building ID: 245989
OS Grid Reference: SP5316806547
OS Grid Coordinates: 453168, 206547
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7551, -1.2311
SP 50 NW
24/10004 Headington Hill Hall
and attached forecourt
Country mansion. c1856-8 by John Thomas for James Morrell, a
local brewer; built by Joseph Castle. 1872, interior extensively
remodelled for G.H. Morrell by local architect William Wilkinson.
Pale yellow brick with stone dressings and ashlar central bay to
entrance front; ashlar with stone dressings to other facades.
Tiled mansard roof having segmental arched dormers with finials
and tall ashlar chimney stacks. Italianate/Louis XIII style.
Entrance front has 3 symmetrical bays. 2 storeys, attic and
cellar. Attached recessed and lower 2 storey service wing to
right with projecting end bay having a hipped roof with bracketed
eaves and tall ashlar and brick chimney stacks. Main block bays
defined by chanelled pilasters to each floor and angles and
paired to central 1st floor bay. 1st floor band. Central porte-
cochere of chanelled stone with round-arched openings having
keystones; recessed window with margin glazing and small roundel
at top. Banded pilasters and columns at angles support a Doric
entablature with parapet having rectangular banded ball finials.
Subsidiary entrance at left angle. Architraved sashes, ground
floor shouldered, 1st floor eared and shouldered, all with margin
glazing and shaped blind boxes. Entablature with cornice
supporting a parapet with sections of pierced shaped openings to
centre and in front of dormers. Rear, garden facade, has Doric
colonnade, carrying a parapet with pierced, shaped openings,
fronting French windows and margin glazed sashes at 5-bay ground
floor. Colonnade approached by 2 flights of stone steps with 6
urns on dies. 1st floor bays defined by chanelled pilasters,
paired at angles, with brackets supporting pierced roundel
balustrade. Eared and shouldered architraves to margin glazed
sashes with shaped blind boxes. Dormers similar to front facade.
Colonnade continues around returns, breaking forward around
canted ground floor bays with margin glazed sashes. Southern
section approached by 2 flights of steps with 3 urns and 2 lead
statues of Greek putti, one playing aulos and the other dancing
with a bowed scarf. 1st floor sashes tripartite with pilasters,
cornices and shaped blind boxes. Mostly tripartite dormers.
Attached stone forecourt wall, mostly coursed stone but that flanking
entrance piers of roundel balustrading; piers with good cast iron
Interior: Large, rectangular, 2 storey, galleried and top-lit
hall with pillars and pilasters supporting depressed arches with
keystones and enriched plaster work spandrels. Moulded panelling
to ceiling and walls which have round-arched openings and niches.
Above arcaded entrance with sidelights, an inset compass; inset
clock on left hand wall; opposite entrance, a pilastered statue
niche with segmental pediment containing a high relief cartouche
with the godess Diana flanked by dogs with foliage and flora and
surmounted by doves. In compartment to right, an imperial
staircase, having gilded balusters with roundels, leading to
gallery with similar balustrading. At landing to 1st flight,
newels have candelabra lamps; lighting stair, a late C20 stained
glass window by an Israeli artist depicting Samson at the Gates
of Gaza. Gallery arcaded to stair; arcading continues as niches
or entrances to rooms. Coved, coffered celing with rectangular
light having scrolled pendants and geometric patterned glazing.
Ground floor library and drawing room divided by narrow passage
having panelled sliding doors and enriched round-arched
entrances. Both rooms and passage with good elaborate
plasterwork ceilings. Drawing room chimneypiece carved marble
with doves and flora and overmantle with mirror and giltwork;
library chimneypiece carved marble with herms and foliage, c1800
and reputedly from Fitzroy Square, London. Dining room has
coffered plasterwork ceiling of octagons and rectangles and a
deep bracketed cornice; carved marble chimneypiece with dove and
flora and mirror overmantle with painted wooden frame. Small 1st
floor room with elaborate gilded enrichment to arcading, with
acanthus leaf capitals, forming niches, overmantle, windows and
entrance. Similarly elaborate gilded enrichment to coved
cornices and coved portion of ceiling above entrance with
interlocking design. Carved marble chimneypiece with foliage.
Other rooms throughout house retain cornices and marble
chimneypieces. James Morrell was a brewer who played a prominent
part in the life of the city of Oxford. The architect, John
Thomas, was better known as a sculptor; he supervised the carving
at the Palace of Westminster.
Listing NGR: SP5316806547
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.