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Acton Burnell Hall (Concord College), Acton Burnell

Description: Acton Burnell Hall (Concord College)

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 29 January 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 259655

OS Grid Reference: SJ5342202017
OS Grid Coordinates: 353422, 302017
Latitude/Longitude: 52.6139, -2.6893

Location: Acton Burnell, Shropshire SY5 7PF

Locality: Acton Burnell
County: Shropshire
Country: England
Postcode: SY5 7PF

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text

SJ 50 SW
6/4 Acton Burnell Hall
29.1.52 (Concord College)

Country house, now school. 1814, by John Tasker (c.1738-1816) for
Sir Joseph Edward Smythe, probably a remodelling of a house of 1753-8
by William Baker (1705-71) for Sir Edward Smythe,extended c.1810,
garden porch dated 1909, substantially rebuilt in 1915 by F.W. Foster
after a fire in 1914; adjoining probably late C18 or early C19 chapel
altered and extended in 1846 by C. Hansom. Painted stucco lined as
ashlar with grey sandstone ashlar portico and porch; hipped slate
roof. Remodelled in a Neo-Classical style. 2 storeys and attic.
Plinth, cill bands, Tuscan giant order with pilaster strips at ends,
entablature and blocking course, and central tetrastyle Ionic portico
with unfluted columns supporting entablature and triangular pediment,
and with low scrolled flanking walls at bases; C20 flat-topped dormers
and 6 rendered stacks. 2:2:2 bays; glazing bar sashes with moulded
architraves; central pair of 4-panelled doors with early C20 glazed
draught lobby, 9-part rectangular overlight, moulded architrave,
frieze, and acanthus brackets supporting cornice. Left-hand return
front: 1:3:1:3 bays with 2 full-height canted bays and ground-floor
windows with lugged architraves and keystones. Rear: 2:5:2 bays with
pilaster strips at ends and to central break; central ashlar porch
with channelled rustication, concave corners, moulded cornice, blocking
course, and segmental-headed doorway with 2 glazed doors, lugged
architrave, and keystone dated 1909. South-west wing: set back to
right: c.1810; 3 storeys and attic; Tuscan giant order with pilaster
strips, entablature, and blocking course; C20 flat-topped dormers
and 4 stacks; 1:2:1 bays; glazing bar sashes and late C19 wooden
cross casements. Chapel: stuccoed brick with later ashlar window
dressings and addition of roughly squared and coursed grey sandstone
with sandstone ashlar dressings and plain tile roof. L-plan; C14
Gothic style side chapel to south-west. Raised quoins, pilaster
buttresses, and coped parapet with recessed square panels. 3 bays;
c.1846 windows with 2 trefoil-headed chamfered lights and c.1846
west window with 3 trefoil-headed lights and cusped Geometrical tracery;
2-bay side chapel: angle buttresses and parapeted gable end; 2 bays;
cusped Geometrical tracery, hoodmould with carved stops, and quatrefoil
opening in apex of gable above. The house has cast iron downpipes
with stag's head reliefs on the rainwater heads; downpipes to chapel
have late C18 or early C19 lead rainwater heads. Interior of house:
largely of 1915 by Foster in an early C18 style with bolection-moulded
panelling, marble fireplaces and pedimented doorcases with lugged
architraves and pulvinated friezes; full-height entrance hall has
enriched plaster decoration and 3-flight square-well staircase with
barley-suger and fluted balusters, and wreathed moulded ramped hand-
rail with Composite columnular newel post; Ionic screen leading to
central ground-floor segmental-vaulted corridor and 3 arches to
first-floor gallery; library at rear in a Jacobean style with oak
panelling, Tudor-arched stone fireplace with overmantel, and
segmental-vaulted plaster ceiling with strapwork enrichments and
roundels of heros; arcaded gallery to central first-floor corridor
with enriched plaster decoration; early C19 back staircase in c.1810
block with closed string, stick balusters, and wreathed moulded hand-
rail. Some of the panelling in the library seems to be reused C17
work, probably the panelling removed from Frodesley Lodge (q.v.), a
nearby c.1600 house also formerly owned by the Smythes, after the
fire at Acton Burnell in 1914. Interior of chapel: c.1846 fittings;
west gallery with trefoil-arched arcade; chancel and side-chapel
arches with chamfer dying into responds; trefoil-arched piscina to
side-chapel; c.1846 stained glass in west window and side-chapel
window; 2 chest monuments to members of the Smythe family of 1841
and 1853 consisting of recumbent-effigies within cusped-arched niches
with ball flower ornament and hoodmoulds; other early and mid-C19
memorial plaques and tablets. A former early C19 stable block, now
science block and gymnasium, adjoins the hall to the south-west.
The builder for the 1915 rebuilding was James Carmichael of Wandsworth.
It is known that by 1731 a small stone house stood on the site of the
present building and the former small stable block to the south-west-
(not included in this list), now student accommodation, might date
from this time. Tasker certainly added the portico in 1815 and the
rest of the building might have been rebuilt or remodelled at the same
time or a few years before. Leach describes the house as being of
'white freestone' in 1891. He could have been misled by the painted
stucco or the house could have been of ashlar before the 1914 fire and
subsequent rebuilding. The pilaster strips to the entrance front and
the 2 full-height canted bays to the north-east front seem to be 1915
additions; an early C19 coloured engraving [John Preston Neale (1771-
1847), Seats of the Nobility and Gentry] and a c.1891 photograph
(Leach) show the house without the pilasters; the engraving also
shows only one ground-floor bay and another pre-1914 photograph shows
2 ground-floor bays. The Shrewsbury Chronicle describes the house as
having been 'completely destroyed' by fire during the night of the
14/15 April 1914 but also states that the chapel was spared. It
appears that the house in its present form is largely of 1915 and
that the portico and probably the shell date from before this time.
The house stands in ornamental grounds with a lake and gable
ends of a former medieval barn (County AM No la)
a prospect tower [Keeper's Lodge (q,v.)], ice house (q.v.) and a
shell house (q.v.). V.C.H., Vol. VIII, p.8; B.o.E., p.51; Colvin,
Pp. 84 and 807; Ed. Francis Leach, The County Seats of Shropshire,
Eddowes' Shrewsbury Journal (1891), Pp. 219-223 and photograph opposite
p.220; The Archaeological Journal, Vol. 138 (1981), p.10; Shrewsbury
Local Studies library, print and photograph collections.

Listing NGR: SJ5342202017

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.