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Waverley Abbey House, Farnham

Description: Waverley Abbey House

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 26 April 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 444244

OS Grid Reference: SU8683345547
OS Grid Coordinates: 486833, 145547
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2025, -0.7585

Location: Waverley Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU9 8EP

Locality: Farnham
Local Authority: Waverley Borough Council
County: Surrey
Country: England
Postcode: GU9 8EP

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Listing Text

(South West side)
Waverley Abbey House
SU 84 NE 12/136 26.4.50


The house is a symmetrical composition of distinguished proportions set on a wide terrace probably of much earlier date, and looking out to the abbey ruins on the south side over a long artificial lake whis is spanned by a plain stone bridge to one side of the south fron and placed so as to be seen at an angle from the principal rooms.
The west side looks over a continuation of the terrace which stretched for several hundred yards to ewaled kitchen gardens. This terrace is planted with various trees all of great size and grouped with an effect of a series of glades.
The park is a fine example of landscape tree planting, and is of exceptional beauty in itself.
The north front of the house consists of a central 3-storey block of 5 bays, with 2 2-bay links to end blocks of 2 bays each and of greater height with pediment, the links and end blocks being 2 storeys. The central block has 6 Ionic pilaster with carved bases and capitals, resting on a stone string which runs across the whole front above the ground floor windows, these pilasters are carried up the remainder of the front to a stone cornice with a blocking course above. Below the 2nd floor windows a string with guilloche ornament is carried across the whole front, forming a base to balustrades over the links, but with an attic storey of brick with recessed panels over the windows in the end blocks. The wall treatment of the whole building is yellow stock brick on a stone plinth with all dressings, pilasters etc, of stone and the roof of slate. The centre of the north front is designed with a recessed arch of 3 storeys, on the 2nd floor the window has been altered and on the ground floor a projecting porch has been added though of similar design to the rest of the building. The total windows are 5 on 2nd floor, 13 on 1st floor and 12 on the ground floor. The central 1st floor window which lights the main hall and double stair, is 3 lights with a panel and swag ornament over the central light and roundels over the side lights.
The south front which is generally similar in wall treatment and stone detail, has the central block divided into 3 parts by coupled Ionic pilasters flanking a 3-bay central feature of Corinthian columns (Tower of the winds, Athens) which is carried up to 1st floor cill level, and framed 3 large windows to the central room. This part of the front has a wide stone terrace at 1st floor level with a double stone stair to ground level. Each side of the central feature is one window, with architrave surround and small cornice on 1st floor. The front has the frieze and cornice carried across the main block with a small central coat of arms. The end blocks, which equal 4 bays on the north front, have wide angular projecting bay windows the whole height. Thses end blocks were both 2 storeys originally and have roundel ornament and panels with swags over the windows. The terrace and garden stair have been altered at a later date but are reasonably consistent with the rest of the design. The east end block has an additional storey of later date. Some minor additions of late C19 date have been made to the east service court, including a clock tower, with a small domed lantern. In this court are some walls of much older masonary, remains of a former house, probably of the period following the disolution of the monasteries. The interior has a fair amount of original plaster work, including a very fine ceiling, of Adam character, in the large drawing room on the west side. All the principal rooms are on the 1st floor. The stair hall appears to have been redecorated in the early C19 and has a flat coffered ceiling, and well designed cast iron rails with acanthus detail to the stairs. It would appear possible that the house was designed by one of the Adam brothers for Sir Robert Rich, whose family owned Waverley during the C18 until 1796 and who had work carried out in London by Adam in 1769. The angular bays of similar design to the sentral windows in the Society of Arts building, John Street, Adelphi, but without some of the enrichment. The details of the swag and roundel ornament are exactly similar to those of Home House, Portman Square. There is no mention of any work by any of the Adam brothers at Waverley in Bolton's book, though Sir Robert Rich is mentioned among the list of clients in connection with work in London.

Listing NGR: SU8683345547

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.