British Listed Buildings

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C House, Marlborough

Description: C House

Grade: I
Date Listed: 18 July 1949
English Heritage Building ID: 310459

OS Grid Reference: SU1848468684
OS Grid Coordinates: 418484, 168684
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4169, -1.7356

Location: 65 High Street, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1PA

Locality: Marlborough
County: Wiltshire
Country: England
Postcode: SN8 1PA

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

There is also a scheduled monument, Castle mound, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.

Listing Text

C House
[formerly listed as Main Block]
SU 1868 5/106 18.7.49.

1699 (bricks ordered). 1702 (building according to Celia Fiennes). 1706 (west
wing built, east wing unbuilt). 1723 (drawn by stukeley complete).
Chequer brick. Rubbed brick quoins and central block. Hipped old tile roofs.
Very tall chequer brick chimneys, one on the north front of the east block with
a pronounced entasis, all with cornicing and sunken panels.
2 storeys of unequal height attics, and basement on garden (south) front. String
above ground floor. Richly carved wood modillion eaves cornice.
3 adjacent blocks, smaller central one set back deeply on courtyard (north) side,
andvery slightly on garden (south) side. Courtyard side has 5-3-5 ranges of cased
sashes with glazing bars, those in central block with arched heads, and sunk panels
below 1st floor windows. Flanking blocks have 3 attic dormers each, casements with
glazing bars, moulded cornices and pedimented gable ends. Central block is crowned
by modillioned pediment. Ashlar colonnade of 4 pairs of unfluted Roman Ionic columns
takes full entablature across space between flanking wings: covered passage from
colonnade to north door: colonnade bought from Mildenhall Woodlands circa 1800.
Garden front has 6-3-6 ranges of windows, and 4 dormers instead of 3 to flanking
blocks; otherwise these are the same. Central block has ashlar moulded window embrasures,
impost blocks, keystones, aprons and consoles. Central range is entirely ashlar
faced, and has curving flight of stairs with C18 iron rails to door with moulded
surround and cornice on consoles. parapet to roof with 4 ashlar piers, and 3 sunk
West front has central door with ashlar surround and segmental pediment on consoles.
Interior has good staircase hall: staircase with huge vase-shaped balusters. Re-set
Jacobean fireplace with much strapwork and carving depicting Moses striking rock.
Good early C18 panelling throughout and stone-flagged hall.
History: the College stands on the site of Marlborough Castle, a Royal castle built
in the C12 or slightly earlier (first mentioned 1138 [Annales Mcnaatici II]. Of
this nothing survived in 1610, except a "heap of rammel" (Camden), and nothing survives
now except the Castle Mound. By this time the castle was in the hands of the Seymour
family of Wolf Hall, hereditary Wardens of Savernake Forest. The Seymours rose to
a position of national importance during the lifetime of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke
of Somerset (executed 1554). The 1st Duke began to build himself a palace at Bedwyn
Broil, in Savernake Forest which was abandoned on his disgrace. His son, the 1st
Earl of Hertferd, begun Tottenham Park in the Forest in 1573. The 1st Earl was
succeeded by his grandsons in 1621, the elder inheriting the peerage and Savernake
Forest, the younger inheriting Marlborough Castle. The elder was created 2nd
Duke of Somerset in 1660, the younger 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge in 1640.
The younger grandson, then Sir Francis Seymour, began a house on the College site
shortly after inheriting; and this house was visited by Charles II during the
ownership of the 2nd Lord Seymour of Trowbridge in 1663, On the death of the
4th Duke of Somerset in 1675, the elder line had no more male heirs, so Savenake
Forest and Tottenham Park passed to the 4th Duke's niece, the Countess of Elgin
and Ailesbury, while the Dukedom passed to his cousin, the 3rd Lord Seymour of
Trowbridge, who "offered rudeness" to a Signora Botti in 1678 and was shot dead
by her husband. He was succeeded as 6th Duke of Somerset and owner of Marlborough
Castle by his brother Charles, nicknamed the Proud Duke, who, resides building
Petworth House, Sussex, built the present C house, Marlborough College, on the
site of the house built in 1621 by Sir Francis Seymour. The Proud Duke lived
until 1748, but mainly at Petworth, while his son, the Earl of Hertford, lived
at Marlborough, where his wife, a friend and admirer of Alexander Pope created
a picturesque garden. On his death in 1750, C House was sold and became the
Castle Inn, a particularly chic stopping point on the route from London to Bath.
The Castle Inn fell on hard times (like the rest of the town) with the construction
of the Great Western Railway in 1837, and in 1843 was bought by the newly founded
Marlborough College, who immediately began the construction of the surrounding
school buildings.
C House, B House, The Museum Block, The Arcade, Tha Bradleian Building, The North
Block, the Porter's Lodge, gates and railing, the chapel, and A House form a group.

Listing NGR: SU1848468684

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.