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Downside School, Stratton on the Fosse

Description: Downside School

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 2 June 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 268001

OS Grid Reference: ST6553150716
OS Grid Coordinates: 365531, 150716
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2546, -2.4953

Location: Green Lane, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset BA3 4RJ

Locality: Stratton on the Fosse
Local Authority: Mendip District Council
County: Somerset
Country: England
Postcode: BA3 4RJ

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Listing Text

In the entry for:

ST 65 SE (west side)

2.6.61 Mount Pleasant and
Chapel with flanking
wings, Downside Abbey
and School (previously
only Mount Pleasant
- II

The grade shall be amended to II*
and the address shall be amended to read:

ST 65 SE (west side)
Downside School

and the description shall be amended to read

School. Including the Old house, the Old Chapel and School, the main Refectory
and associated buildings and the houses on the west side of the guadrangle, but
excluding the Gasquet Hall, the Science wing, the Allan Swimming Bath and all post World War II buildings. c.1700 (Old House) 1820-3 (Old Chapel and School) 1853-4 (School) 1873-6 (Main Refectory) 1884 (Gasquet Passage), 1910-14 (South and West ranges) 1939 (South-east Wing ). Architects in same order. Unknown, H E Goodridge, Charles Hansom, A M Dunn and E J Hansom, A M Dunn and E J Hansom, L A Stokes, Sir G G Scott. Mendip and Bath limestone, part rubble and part ashlar, with Welsh slate and tile roofs. The buildings form three sides of the quadrangle which is open to the east, and a north wing stretching through the
Gasquet Passage and the Main Refectory towards the Monastery and Church (qv).
Description: Old House. Original Manor House on site. Semi ashlar. Central
entrance double depth house of Queen Anne type. Three storeys and attic, 5
windows wide. 2-light stone mullioned windows with sashes. Continuous hood-
moulds. Ashlar porch. Eaves on brackets. Big hipped slate roof with three
gabled dormers. Return hidden by early C20 2 x 3 window three storey block which
is not of special interest. Interior not inspected, but known to have original
wooden staircase.

Old Chapel and School: designed to give the appearance of an Early English Church
with transepts, nave aisles and grand west front, but in fact contains chapel on
first floor of transept, and the usual school rooms elsewhere. Transept with tall buttresses (finials gone), large triple window to chapel. 6-bay nave including south porch, lancets with continuous drip, clerestorey with lancets. Octagonal tower at west end (passage round west end added 1867). An unusually refined piece of Gothic revival for the date. Interior not inspected, the chapel has plaster vaulting.

School: L-shaped block with stair turret in angle. 2 storeys and attics but only
east wing has dormers. 2-light mullion and transomed windows, 6 bays to south
wing, 2:2:2 divided by buttresses, 5 bays to east wing. Central bay of east wing
projects with stepped gable. 4=light window to ground floor, single lights flank
statue (St Gregory) on first floor. South range with two chimney stacks and 2
vents to ridge. West elevation reveals a parallel secondary range with lower
ridge line. 6 bays, left hand one gabled with canted 2-storey bay, rest as on
quadrangle elevation, but with central external stack and right hand bay gabled
with 3-light window to ground floor and stack above. Interior partly inspected
and largely in original condition.

South and West Range: A section of a very much larger scheme by Leonard Stokes.
Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings and tiled roofs. Quadrangular elevation
adjoins school with 5-storey tower, the rest three storeys and attics with class-
rooms below, studies above and dormitories in attics. 4 bays to west range and 5
bays to south range. 4-light mullion and transomed windows with iron glazing to
1st and 2nd floors with ashlar apron between. Some of the iron glazing has been
replaced by aluminium. Range of 2-light windows to 2nd floor. Long ranges of
attic windows with large gabled dormers. West and south elevations are broadly
similar but with 5-light windows. Interior largely unaltered with original plann-ing and joinery (see Architectural Review, October 1912 p.228).

South East wing is an extension of the above with Scott's design similar in
intention to Stokes' but differing in detail. 5-bay east elevation with 2:4:2:4:2 light windows, third floor 2-light windows and continuous attic window. Some of the iron glazing has been replaced by aluminium. Interior not inspected.
Gasquet Passage (partly obscured by temporary buildings) is a plain single storey
range, connecting School with Main Refectory. Large window with 5-lights and 2
mullions. Interior not inspected.

Main Refectory is a large ashlar block with slate roof in a collegiate style.
Three storeys with large steeply pitched roof with stair turret on west gable and
prominent stairtower on south side. South side has two large gables, each with
two paired windows with trefoil heads and two small gables with paired window with quatrefoil. First floor window are 2-light mullion and transom with hoodmould.
Ground floor obscured by other buildings. Tall, twin-shafted stack. North side
has large windows to first floor and range of small gables to attic storey.
Interior not inspected, but contains carved stone chimneypiece and panelling.
The Old Kitchens block and the Poldings House by Dunn and Hansom, although largely obscured by other buildings are also included. Two storeys with red tile roofs and of a domestic character. Interiors not inspected. Taylors Row is also
included and may be related to Pugin's unbuilt second scheme of 1841.
History: Built for a community of Benedictine monks, founded at St Gregory's
Monastery at Douai in Flanders in 1607. House re-established in England in 1795,
present estate purchased in 1813. The Old House, the existing house on the site,
was the monastery and school until extended in 1820-3 and continued until the
present monastery was built in 1872-6. The School was greatly enlarged in the
early C20 when it vied to become a major English Public School. Many notable
English Catholics have been educated here.
References: Pevsner, Buildings of England, North Somerset and Bristol.
Architectural Review, October 1912, p.228. Peter Howell, The Raven, 1971 (Vol
LXII No 252).


13/188 Mount Pleasant and chapel with
flanking wings, Downside Abbey
and School
(previously only Mount Pleasant
Chapel with flanking wings, to right contiguous house, to left contiguous classroom block. House c1700; chapel 1823 by H Goodridge; classrooms 1853-54 by C Hansom. Coursed and squared rubble, ashlar, freestone dressings, slate roofs, to
house hipped, brick and ashlar stacks. Chapel to centre in Early English style on north-south axis, 2 storeys with tall 3-light shafted window on first floor, flanking paired buttresses, front-facing gable; 1:6 bay wing to left in
conforming style also by Goodridge, lancet windows, dripmoulds, door opening in gabled porch, polygonal turret to left side. House on right of the group of 3 storeys and attic, 2-light stone mullioned windows, continuous drips over
ground, first and second floor openings, attic with 3 gabled dormers. Central rusticated porch, semi-circular head door opening, ornamental keystone, parapet with metopes, coping. Classroom block set back to left of the group; L-plan,
Tudor style; 2 storeys and attic, 2 and 4-light transomed stone-mullioned windows; one bay projectind slightly under a stepped front-facing gable, on first floor a carved stone figure in a canopied niche, flanking lancets; in the angle
between the 2 halves of the L-plan a polygonal stair-turret capped by a stone cupola. Interior of chapel with some coeval features. House part of the original estate purchased by community of Benedictine monks in 1814. (Pevsner,
Buildings of England, North Somerset and Bristol, 1958; Dom Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard, A Guide to the Church of St Gregory the Great Downside Abbey, 1981).

Listing NGR: ST6553850643

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.