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Caverswall Castle, Screen Walls, Gatehouse and Bridge, Caverswall

Description: Caverswall Castle, Screen Walls, Gatehouse and Bridge

Grade: I
Date Listed: 2 May 1953
English Heritage Building ID: 274806

OS Grid Reference: SJ9508342808
OS Grid Coordinates: 395083, 342808
Latitude/Longitude: 52.9826, -2.0747

Location: Blythe Bridge Road, Caverswall, Staffordshire ST11 9EA

Locality: Caverswall
Local Authority: Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
County: Staffordshire
Country: England
Postcode: ST11 9EA

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Listing Text


12/4 Caverswall Castle,
Screen walls, Gatehouse
2.5.53 and Bridge (formerly
listed as Caverswall
- Castle)


Castle, later country house. C13 foundation to superstructure of circa
1615, enlarged, altered and refitted circa 1890. The work of 1615 has
been attributed to Robert and John Smythson. Red sandstone ashlar;
flat roofs largely invisible behind crenellated parapets with multishafted
C19 side stacks; the gatehouse and angle towers have tiled roofs and
balustraded parapets. Built in a castellar, supra-vernacular style with
a foretaste of Bolsover and echoes of Longleat (and strangely reminiscent
of Castle Drogo by Lutyens). House: the single-fronted house is a truncated
rendition of the Slingsby plan and facade with symmetry upset by the lack
of an eastern stair tower, the vacuum part filled by the additions of
1890 leading on to the gatehouse. Facade: of 3 storeys on a raised plinth
over cellars (which are only part below ground level), banded at ceiling
levels up to crenellated parapets, fenestrated on all 3 levels by five
3-light chamfer mullion and transom windows, the outer inset slightly
from the extremities and formed into full height 3-sided bays with similar
2-light windows to angled sides; the central entrance has a small,
3-sided underplayed single storey porch with balustered parapet and part-glazed
C19 doors. The square stair tower is well set back on the west side of the
front rising a further storey, banded only under the parapet and fenestrated
at that level by a three-light mullioned window with further two-light
windows rising with the stairs; the C19 wing of two storeys slightly set
back on the east side, of similar style including the two windows, the
left hand a bay; the right hand first-floor window has a panel under
inscribed "MDCCCXCI". Retaining structure: the house is set to the
north side of a square retaining enclosure surrounded by an excavated
moat which opens out to lower ground level on the west, forming a prospect
which was never used. The lower parts of the walls (approx. 9m high)
appear to be the only remnant of the medieval castle (the stonework
above garden level certainly seems homogenous with the house) rising to
plain parapets (set at garden level) and with octagonal towers on all
but the northern-most angle. These rise to two storeys above the inner
garden level (and thus approximately four storeys from the floor of the
moat); they are pyramidally roofed with balustraded parapets and fenestrated
by two-light mullioned windows on most facets but only to the final
two storeys. The Gatehouse: of similar style; set on the east side and
attached to the angle of the C19 wing of the house; fronted with two
3-sided bay turrets flanking an entranceway with rounded 2 centred arches;
the inner face is flush. The gatehouse leads onto the bridge of two
round arches with C19 balustrade set on a corbelled band. Interior of main
house: entered via a screens passage with the hall opening out to the left
via a round arch with carved figures; all the walls are panelled; two
round arch (again in imitation of the medieval layout) doorways at far
end and fireplace to north (inner) side; the overmantel has C17 elements
but heavily remodelled and enriched in the C19 restoration; ovolo moulded
beams and joists. Stairway: entered through one of the doors (the other
is a blind dummy) at the rear of the hall rising in straight flights, a
C19 restoration; lions and unicorns on newels, vase balusters. Dining
Room: has 3 C17 low relief panels of hunting scenes reset in C19 over-
mantel and late C17 or early C18 panelling. Library: early C18
panelling, C19 strap work, plaster ceiling, C17 overmantel with low relief
carvings of fruit. First floor billiard room: set over hall with
elaborate C19 plasterwork. The cellar does not bear the promise of
Slingsby's garden room, being a collection of plain and unadorned service
rooms. Refs: B.O.E. p. 95. M. Girouard. "Robert Smythson and the
[Elizabethan Country House" p.181-2.

Listing NGR: SJ9507742769

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.