Description: Stable Block with Attached Railings and Coach House Approximately 100 Metres North East of Sarsden H
Date Listed: 15 May 1989
English Heritage Building ID: 254088
OS Grid Reference: SP2893823139
OS Grid Coordinates: 428938, 223138
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9060, -1.5808
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1295/7/193 Stable Block with attached railings an
15-MAY-89 d Coach House approximately 100 metres
North East of Sarsden House
Stable block and attached coach house. Mid-C18 with minor later additions. Interior of coach house has wall art from Second World War.
MATERIALS: Roughly coursed limestone rubble with ashlar to pedimented break in centre of east range, inward-facing corner gables and coach house; graded slate roof, hipped to coach house.
EXTERIOR: U-plan around courtyard with coach house projecting at right-angles to rear on left. One storey and attic with chamfered plinth and cill band to stables. East range has pedimented break to centre with quoin strips and narrow round-headed arch with projecting imposts and keystone. Two multi-paned casements to right and 2 to left flanking boarded door with rectangular overlight. Contemporary gabled dormers directly above windows in roof slope and octagonal round-arched wooden cupola with stuccoed base and lead cap surmounted by weathervane directly above pediment. Ridge stack to far right.
North range. Gable to left has blind 2-bay segmental-headed arcade with projecting keystones and inset round-arched windows with projecting keystones, imposts and multi-paned casements. Continuation of range to right has three boarded doors with rectangular overlights alternating with 3 multi-paned windows (centre section only opening) like those in east range. Gabled hatch with boarded double door above second window from left and gabled dormers to left and far right. Ashlar ridge stack with dripstone and moulded capping to left and circular pointed louvre to right.
South range similar to north except that several windows are blind and two-bay arcade to gable has no window to right bay. Gabled hoist projection in corresponding position to gabled hatch on north side.
Spear-shaped wrought-iron railings on low stone wall, attached to west ends of north and south ranges and enclosing courtyard have scroll work to centre of each section. Coach house to rear has six elliptical carriage arches (4 with full-height boarded double doors), centre two in slightly projecting pedimented break with plain cornice and blind oculus.
INTERIOR: Not fully inspected but noted as having large loose boxes with iron grilles and ball finials. Possibly original hay racks and troughs and decorative arch-bracing to ceiling. Attic has wide floor boards and double butt-purlin roof with light collars. Said to have stabling for 12 horses.
Behind the open bays of the coach house to the right of its central spine wall are wall paintings executed during the Second World War. A limited palette was used, principally brown and pink for the figures, and a bright blue for the backgrounds. The work was evidently left unfinished; some of the figures are complete or nearly so, whereas the backgrounds, mountain ranges, are only sketched in. On the left wall is a seated nude of 1940s glamour girl type, very competently executed, with a background of blue mountains sketched in. On the left side of the rear wall is a similar figure, here reclining, and to the right of the rear wall a crawling male figure with to its left LEO APONTE ON RECONNAISSANCE and LOOKS LIKE A FIVE POUNDER TO ME. To left of right-hand wall is another reclining female nude with mountains behind, and to the right a standing female nude with behind a Sherman tank carrying a triangle badge and number 6.
HISTORY: The stable block pre-dates the late C18 improvements at Sarsden as it is shown (in one case as a birds eye view) on estate maps of the area made in 1788 and 1795 and in both the 'before' and 'after' views in Humphry Repton's Red Book presented to John Langston in March 1796.
The wall art, although possibly begun by British troops, was at least largely the work of men of the HQ Co Combat Command B of the American 3rd Army's '6th Armoured Division' which arrived at Sarsden in February 1944. An indication of this is a number 6 and a triangle on a depiction of a Sherman tank. Locally it is believed the painter was Italian, and a name on the wall, Leo Aponte, is presumably that of an Italian American. British soldiers billeted here are believed later to have taken part in the D-Day landings, while the American troops, who left in July 1944 are known to have later been involved in the Battle of the Bulge, the relief of Bastogne, and the liberation of Buchenwald.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE:
A polite mid C18 stable block and attached coach house associated with a grade II* country house and grade II* registered park. The paintings of 'glamour girls' in the coach house were largely or wholly executed by American troops during 1944. Although not rare such paintings are no longer commonplace, and are vulnerable to decay or loss. This particular scheme is a vivid and poignant reminder of the brief occupation by the military of Sarsden during the Second World War.
N. Temple,'Sarsden, Oxfordshire', Journal of Garden History 6 (2) (1986), 89-111; Oxfordshire County Record Office (estate maps) ; W. Cocroft et al, War Art (2006)
Listing NGR: SP2893123140
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.