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Hewell Grange

A Grade I Listed Building in Tutnall and Cobley, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3192 / 52°19'8"N

Longitude: -1.9916 / 1°59'29"W

OS Eastings: 400666

OS Northings: 269006

OS Grid: SP006690

Mapcode National: GBR 2G7.F9V

Mapcode Global: VH9ZM.FZG0

Entry Name: Hewell Grange

Listing Date: 16 July 1986

Last Amended: 30 August 2016

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1100160

English Heritage Legacy ID: 156208

Location: Tutnall and Cobley, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B97

County: Worcestershire

District: Bromsgrove

Civil Parish: Tutnall and Cobley

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Tardebigge

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

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Alvechurch

Summary

A former country house, now an open prison, built 1884-1891 for Lord and Lady Windsor, later the Earl and Countess of Plymouth, to designs by Thomas Garner of Bodley and Garner.

Description

A former country house, now an open prison, built 1884-1891 for Lord and Lady Windsor, later the Earl and Countess of Plymouth, to designs by Thomas Garner of Bodley and Garner.

MATERIALS
The house is constructed of Runcorn sandstone from Cheshire, with a slate roof.

PLAN
The house is built to an H-plan, with three principal storeys, attic floors and a basement. The entrance elevation, with a central porch wing, faces north-west and the principal rooms face south-east, overlooking the gardens. There is a large service range to the west and north-west.

DESCRIPTION

EXTERIOR
The house is built in a Jacobean and Elizabethan style, with long elevations to the principal fronts of three storeys with attics, punctuated by tall, shaped gables, chimneys and a central lantern of two stages with a domed roof which can be seen from both sides. Windows across the house are mullioned and transomed and moulded string courses define the floors.

The entrance elevation is near-symmetrical and has a central, projecting porch of two storeys with an elaborate parapet with a statue in a central niche, over a semi-circular oriel window above the arched porte-cochere. There are paired Corinthian pilasters at ground and first floor level. There are tall mullion and transom windows in the flanking elevations, with projecting wings at each end. These have shaped gables with carved finials throughout. There are tall chimneys across the roofscape, with dormer windows lighting the attic level. The east elevation has a central shaped gable with a canted oriel window at third floor level, this is flanked by pairs of square bays at ground and first floor level, each with ornate parapets. There is a modern fire escape at the centre.

The garden elevation (facing south-east) is symmetrical and of nine bays. At the centre is a loggia of three arches at ground floor level, in a projecting bay which rises to a shaped gable with Corinthian pilasters at first and second floor, with obelisk finials at roof level. There are central windows at each level, that at the first floor flanked by niches and that on the second floor by further pilasters. Between each floor are bands of ornate carved stonework and moulded courses. This bay is flanked by two, tall towers which rise above the roofline of the building and culminate in pyramidal roofs. Each tower is square on plan with four-light windows on each floor. These stand in the re-entrant angle between the main elevation and the projecting end bays, which themselves have bay windows rising through the ground and first floor, with semi-circular projections and ornate carved parapets.

To the west of the house is the large, rectangular service range, of two storeys, which partly encloses the forecourt at the entrance to the house. This range is in the same style as the house, with less decoration but still with carved finials to gables, and a Tudor carriage arch flanked by buttresses. There are two courtyards within, one open and one covered.

INTERIOR
The house is entered through a large octagonal vestibule in a Neo-classical style with cloakrooms either side now converted for prison use; a short flight of stairs gives access to the Great Hall, a door to the right conceals the stair for public access to the chapel over the entrance. The Great Hall runs the full length of the principal building and rises through two storeys, with a garden vestibule giving access to the formal garden beyond. The hall is decorated in the style of the Italian Renaissance with Italian fireplaces, doorcases based on sketches made by Lord and Lady Windsor in Mantua, and arcaded screens at each end in alabaster and marble, that to the south-west based on Brunelleschi's Pazzi Chapel in Florence. The arcading continues around the bedroom corridor at the upper level of the hall with bands of ornate plasterwork above and below, with a timber panelled ceiling supported on massive beams. Timber galleries on the north side give private access to the chapel in the centre.

At the north-east end of the hall are the former billiard room and drawing room, accessed from a lobby with a ceiling painted by the Bavarian artists Behr and Virsching. On the south-east side of the hall, the garden lobby is hung with canvases painted by scene painters from the Vienna Burgtheater to resemble tapestries in the Schonbrunn, with an C18 bronze statue of Hermes in the centre. This gives access to the former library and Lord Windsor's study, the latter with timber panelling and an ornate wooden overmantel under a Jacobethan plaster ceiling. The former private dining room adjacent has further panelling, an C18 fireplace brought from the old house and C17 style plasterwork ceiling and overmantel. In the south-west wing, Lady Windsor's sitting room has a painted ceiling copied by Behr and Virsching from the Hall of Labyrinth at the Ducal Palace in Mantua, with highly ornate detailing to the window bay, fireplace and doors. The former state dining room beyond has further ornate ceiling plasterwork, fireplace and a minstrel's gallery with a timber arcaded screen. The main stair adjacent is of open-well plan, with Jacobean detailing to the balustrades and panelled walls.

At first floor level, the chapel over the entrance has a floor laid with lapis lazuli and white marble by Farmer and Brindley, and a barrel vaulted ceiling of carved cedar by Detmar Blow and Fernand Billerey of 1914. Stained glass windows include a design by Arild Rosencrantz in the eastern oriel window and restored C15 panels, apparently brought from Bordesley Abbey. The former bedrooms and dressing rooms on this level are now used as dormitories; original doors, doorcases and fireplaces generally appear to survive. Lady Windsor's dressing room in the south-west wing has murals painted by her mother Walburga, Lady Paget, illustrating Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, with a portion of the score painted underneath by Virsching.

The second floor has further bedrooms now in use as dormitories, as well as former nursery rooms and a school room with a ceiling supported on large timber trusses with decorative ironwork. The third floor has a range of further former bedrooms on the south side, with the northern side being storage areas with the roof supported on thick timbers and exposed brick walls. The interior of the service range retains many original doors, skirtings, cupboards, plain cornices and stairs, and the layout appears mostly intact.

History

The estate at Hewell Grange had been in the hands of the Windsor family since the Dissolution, and by the mid-C19 it comprised a large landscape park principally designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the mid-C18, and later redesigned by Humphry Repton in the early C19. At its centre was a house of 1712 thought to be by Francis Smith of Warwick for the 6th Earl of Plymouth, with alterations of c.1815 by Thomas Cundy Senior, following the proposals in Repton's Red Book of 1812.

The Plymouth earldom became extinct upon the death of the 8th Earl in 1843, at which time the Hewell Grange estate passed to Harriet Clive, a sister of the 6th Earl who in 1819 had married Robert Henry Clive. The barony of Windsor was revived in 1855, and Harriet assumed the additional surname of Windsor. Harriet was succeeded in 1869 by her grandson, Robert George Windsor-Clive, who came of age in 1878. In around 1880 the architect George Frederick Bodley was asked to advise on potential improvements to the existing house, and due to the estimates for the cost of the work the decision was taken to build an entirely new house. Advice for the siting of the new house was sought from the landscape architect Edward Milner, and a location was chosen on higher ground north-west of the existing house, adjacent to the formal French Garden, chosen not for its views but for its sense of enclosure within the existing, mature landscape.

Bodley and Garner were engaged to produce designs for the house, with Thomas Garner being the lead architect for the project. As a firm, Bodley and Garner were among the leading architects of the Gothic Revival, although they are principally known for their ecclesiastical work. Hewell Grange is thought to be their only major country house commission.

The house was built between 1884 and 1891 with much input from Lord Windsor (created 1st Earl of Plymouth of the third creation in 1905). In 1883, Lord Windsor had married Alberta Paget, the daughter of the diplomant Sir Augustus Paget and his wife Lady Walburga, a German countess by birth. Lord and Lady Windsor were members of the intellectual group known as the Souls, with great interests in the arts and philosophy; interests which are reflected in the design of the house and its grounds.

The design of the house takes its inspiration from a number of sources. Montacute in Somerset, Charlton Park in Wiltshire and Westwood House in Worcestershire can all be seen to have influenced Hewell's appearance. The interior of the house reflects, among other styles, the Italian Renaissance interests of Lord Windsor with direct influences from Renaissance buildings. The ceiling in Lady Windsor's sitting room is a direct copy of that in the Hall of Labyrinth at the Ducal Palace in Mantua, and the drawing room was hung with panels by or attributed to Renaissance artists. Other influences showed, too, with C17 English panelling (some genuine re-used and some imitation), ceilings painted by the Bavarian artists Behr and Virsching, and C18 classical chimneypieces. The murals in Lady Windsor's dressing room were painted by her mother, Lady Paget, showing the Pastoral Symphony with Beethoven's score inscribed below. In 1914, Detmar Blow and Fernand Billerey provided the chapel ceiling.

The house was fitted with electricity and had hydraulic lifts powered from the new water tower in the park, also by Bodley and Garner. Lord Windsor, then the Earl of Plymouth, died in 1923 and was succeeded by his son Ivor, the 2nd Earl. He died in 1943, following shortly by his mother in 1944 and in 1946 the house and much of the park was sold to HM Prison Service for use as a borstal. Hewell Grange remains prison property to this day, and has seen some alterations over time to accommodate the use. Despite these, the house and its interior remain substantially intact.

Reasons for Listing

Hewell Grange, built 1884-1891 by Thomas Garner of Bodley and Garner for Lord and Lady Windsor, is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the house is an outstanding example of a late-Victorian country house, in which the architect Thomas Garner skilfully blends a number of historic architectural styles;
* Interior: the house has an interior of remarkable quality, with bespoke decorative schemes throughout many of the rooms;
* Degree of survival: the building survives substantially intact;
* Group value: the house has very strong group value with the Grade II* Registered Historic Park and Garden in which it stands, and with the large number of other listed buildings in its vicinity.

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