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Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott

Description: Kelmscott Manor

Grade: I
Date Listed: 12 September 1955
English Heritage Building ID: 253837

OS Grid Reference: SU2509698888
OS Grid Coordinates: 425096, 198888
Latitude/Longitude: 51.6882, -1.6384

Location: Kelmscott, Oxfordshire GL7 3HJ

Locality: Kelmscott
Local Authority: West Oxfordshire District Council
County: Oxfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: GL7 3HJ

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Listing Text

5/85 Kelmscott Manor

Shown on O.S. map as Manor House.
Manor house. Circa 1570 for Richard Turner, extended c.1670 probably for Thomas
Turner; late C18 and C19 additions and alterations; between 1871 and 1896 it was
the home of William Morris. Uncoursed limestone rubble with alternating angle
quoins; stone slate roofs with moulded coped verges, parapet and ball finials to
gables. Original house a U-plan with main range of 3-unit through-passage type
and gabled ranges projecting to rear; extended at right-angles to east on north
in late C17. 2 storeys and attics. East (entrance) front. 3 bays; mullion
windows with dripstones, of 4 lights to ground floor, 3 lights to first floor
except centre of 2 lights and of 2 lights to prominent gabled full dormers to
left and right. Central entrance (through passage) has stable door under C19
slate-hung gabled trellised porch. Lead water spouts to eaves. Prominent
external end stack to left has 2 detached diagonal shafts with moulded capping
and rectangular windows to left; similar ridge stack to right with 3 detached
shafts. Projecting T-shaped range to north-east has classical symmetry and
apparently intentional entasis, twin-gabled to east and south sides. These have
a 4-light mullioned and transomed window to ground floor, a 3-light window to
first floor, both with dripstones and rectangular windows with eared architraves
and pediments to prominent gabled half-dormers. Projecting gable to north has
narrow rectangular window to ground floor, a 3-light mullioned and transomed
window with dripstone to first floor and a 2-light mullion window to top, latter
2 with dripstones. Valley stack with 2 detached diagonal shafts. To right is
north gable end of c16 house with mullioned window to each floor and outline
with mullioned window to each floor and outline of original east wall visible to
left; C17 pedimented window to left on first floor. Attached to right corner of
gable end or C16 house is gabled porch dated "1966" with contemporary lean-to to
right and reused moulded wood door surround. Immediately above lean-to is
3-light mullion window with right label-stop cut by full-height C17 gabled
addition; 2-light mullion windows to ground and second floors and one of 3
lights to first floor, all with dripstones. Prominent external lateral stack to
right has 2 attached diagonal shafts with dripstone and moulded capping. West
front: has projecting gables to left and right, left longer and flush gable to
centre. All have 2-, 3- and 4-light mullion windows with dripstones to attic,
first floor and ground floor respectively, except for right gable which has
half-glazed stable door in earlier surround with rectangular chamfered window to
right on ground floor. Further mullioned windows to returns of projecting
gables, that on first floor of right gable infilled. 2-light mullion window
directly below eaves to right of centre gable has chamfered doorway (through
passage) beneath with moulded surround and stable door. Bracketed wooden gutters
to eaves to this and north side. As on other sides the mullion windows have a
mixture of leaded and cast-iron casements. Late C18 or early C19 service range
attached at oblique angle to south-west corner of south projecting wing has
open-lean to to north supported on wood posts with pad-stones, continued round
to west side of projecting wing. Service range itself has, from left to right, a
half-glazed stable door, a boarded door, 2-light wooden mullion window, boarded
door, a rectangular chamfered window with leaded casement and a boarded door
(latter to right of lean-to which stops before end of range). Ashlar ridge stack
with moulded dripstone and capping to left and red brick ridge stack to right.
Interior. Screens-passage has plank and muntin partition with cross rail to
either side and 4-panel doors opening into rooms to left and right. Right is the
'old hall'. Chamfered spine beam with stepped ogee stops and stone fireplace
with moulded Tudor arch. C18 corner cupboard to right with carved moulded
shelves, panelled doors to bottom and dentilled cornice. Room to right of this
("north or garden hall") has a chamfered spine beam on same line as that in
previous room and a reassembled C17 oak partition (formerly glazed) with another
spine beam above. Blocked window to former front wall. Circa 1670 addition
("panelled room") has C18 white-painted raised and fielded panelling with
moulded cornice and pilastered overmantel to c.1670 moulded stone fireplace with
festooned garlands and Turner family coat-of-arms to centre. Blue and white
ceramic tiles to splays of fireplace are probably by Charles Marks of London.
Wood-block floor, continued to closet to north, which has display-shelving with
fluted colonettes designed by Philip Webb. To left of screens-passage is "the
old kitchen": chamfered spine beam with stepped ogee stops and inglenook
fireplace with damaged lintel; oak winder staircase behind door to right.
Chamfered spine beam to south gabled range ("new kitchen"). North gabled range
("green room") has stone fireplace with eared architrave, moulded decoration and
Turner family coat-of-arms to centre; blue and white ceramic tiles inside are by
Morris and Webb. Chamfered spine beam with stepped stops. Panelled shutters to
rear window. Panelled window shutters also to several other ground- and first
floor rooms. Apart from the "panelled room" and the "green room" (floor boards)
all ground-floor rooms have stone-flag floors installed by Morris. Dog-leg
staircase (c.1570) to right of "green room" is approached through round-headed
wooden arch with dentilled band and carved pendant like those on staircase;
crudely turned balusters to closed string with square newels, carved finials and
pendants; moulded ramped wall string. At head of staircase is a massive plank
door with fleur-de-lys pointed strap hinges. Over "green room" is "firs. Morris's
bedroom", approached through plank and muntin door. Chamfered cross beam ceiling
with main bean running along axis of gable; stone fireplace with Tudor arch.
Wide floor boards in this and all first-floor and attic rooms renewed or
inserted c.1964. "Morris's bedroom" to right of staircase to attic "see below)
has Tudor-arched stone fireplace with inserted C19 Gothic-style cast-iron grate.
Chamfered spine bean with stops and massive door, panelled to one side and of
plant-construction to other. Straight flight of 4 wooden steps leads up to
"tapestry room" in c.1670 addition. This has fireplace, including tiles by
Marks, similar to one in "panelled room" below but narrower without festooned
garlands, although it has the same floral motifs to sides. Turner family
armorial crest (1663), different to one in room below, to centre. Has fluted
pilasters to overmantel and wood cornice like room below but has battens only
for wall panelling. Suggesting that this was never completed and that the room
has always been tapestry-hung. C18 panelled door. Room over "old hall" has art
nouveau cast-iron fireplace of c.1890 said to be designed by Crosswaites of
Thornaby-on-Tees and chamfered cross-beam ceiling with inserted cross wall,
separating it from present bathroom. Room over "old kitchen" has another art
nouveau fireplace and a chamfered cross-beam ceiling with straight-cut stops;
similar ceiling to room over "new kitchen". Attic, reached from steep
straight-flight staircase (1964) to right of main staircase, has double-purl in
collar truss roof with carved decoration to collars in 4 bays to main range and
similar roofs to rear projecting gables; original rafters. C17 addition to
north-east has contemporary short straight-flight staircase up to each gable
with turned balusters to open string, moulded handrail and square chamfered
newels with later finials. Several C17 plank doors and plain window shutters.
Infilled Tudor-arched fireplace to south end of main range has oak winder
staircase down to first floor to right. Service range has brewhouse in second
room from west. This has large open fireplace with bread oven to left and
integral semi-circular chimney above (curved back visible in room to west).
Circular copper sinks with furnaces below to either side. Room also has a stone
sink and a lead water-pump. Stone-flag floor and double-purl in collar and tie
beam roof, extending in 5 bays to whole range. The house was the rented home of
William Morris, the celebrated writer, socialist and manufacturer, from 1871
until his death in 1896. It contains furniture and textiles, much of it designed
by Morris and his associates but mostly brought in from elsewhere during C20.
(Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, p666; A.R. Dufty,pers.comm. and Kelmscott,
An Illustrated Guide (London, The Society of Antiquaries, 1984))

Listing NGR: SU2509698888

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.