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The Stable Block about 30 Metres North West of Compton Castle

A Grade II Listed Building in Compton Pauncefoot, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.0297 / 51°1'46"N

Longitude: -2.505 / 2°30'17"W

OS Eastings: 364683

OS Northings: 125712

OS Grid: ST646257

Mapcode National: GBR MV.HH5N

Mapcode Global: FRA 56MD.CXG

Entry Name: The Stable Block about 30 Metres North West of Compton Castle

Listing Date: 24 March 1961

Last Amended: 17 February 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1248645

English Heritage Legacy ID: 263368

Location: Compton Pauncefoot, South Somerset, Somerset, BA22

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset

Civil Parish: Compton Pauncefoot

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Summary

Stable block, built during the 1820s as part of the castle complex by John Finden for John Hunt, with later alterations and additions. The attached late-C20 garage to the north-west, and the metal-framed shelter attached to the west side, are excluded from the listing.

Description

Stable block, built during the 1820s as part of the castle complex by John Finden for John Hunt, with later alterations and additions.

MATERIALS: Ham stone ashlar to the principal, south elevation with stone coping to the gables; roughly coursed Ham stone rubble to the rear elevations. Welsh slate roofs. There is a brick stack to the north central projection.

PLAN: essentially U-plan, with carriage house projections to either end of the south elevation, and a central projection at the centre of the north elevation housing the estate office and boiler house. There is a pre-1887 store added to the north-east, accessed only from the outside.

EXTERIOR: at the centre of the south elevation is a tower containing the entrance which is Tudor-arched, with hollow spandrels beneath a hoodmould; the opening retains its original timber door, with nailed vertical fillets. Above, the original clock is set beneath a hoodmould. The parapet of the tower is castellated. Above the parapet the third stage rises within a reduced plan, with chamfered corners, the parapet to this stage also castellated; this stage has a two-light window with hoodmould to the front and side elevations. The whole is surmounted by a lead pyramidal roof with a weathervane. To either side of the central entrance, a mullioned window with a hoodmould. The carriage houses project to either end of the elevation, having angle buttresses with offsets to the corners, and cross finials to the gables – the eastern finial is broken. The eastern carriage house has two arched openings, with late-C20 doors; in the western carriage house the central pier between the arches has been removed for conversion to a garage. There are two plain windows to the central north projection.

INTERIOR: the central entrance opens to a lobby leading to the rear of the building, dividing the passages giving access to the stables to west and east. There are three stalls to the western range, and four to the east. The stables retain their uniform barred wooden stalling with tongue and groove panels, the gates fitted with decorative strap hinges; to the rear of the stalls are arched niches for hay, fitted with wooden rails. The floor to the passageways is of brick, laid in herringbone pattern; stalls are tiled. The estate office, to the rear, has small-square panelling with a columned doorway. A plasterboard ceiling has been inserted throughout the ground floor of the stable block. Stone steps lead up the tower, which contains the clock mechanism.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the south-east corner of the building is connected to the reading room block of the main house by a rubblestone wall with a lean-to stone-slate roof resting on timber posts. It is thought that this structure has been rebuilt since 1903.

The attached late-C20 garage to the north-west and the metal-framed shelter attached to the west side, are excluded from the Listing.

History

Compton Castle was constructed for John Hubert Hunt c 1820-5. The Hunt family appears to have had an estate centred on Compton Pauncefoot since the mid-C17; John Hubert Hunt inherited the estate from his father in 1807. He never married and it was not until his later years that he created the new house and park. The suggestion in the current list description that the house incorporates part of a C17 house is refuted by the map evidence of an 1800 survey of the estate, which shows the site of the castle as open farmland. Following Hunt's death in 1830, the house was rented to a succession of tenants; the 1831 advertisement notes that the house 'although of modern creation is in strict accordance with the ancient style of Architecture' and that the surrounding gardens and parkland, complete with cascades and waterfalls, are 'so beautiful as really to be an Elysium', whilst William Phelps, in his 1836 History of Somerset described 'a castellated mansion delightfully situated in a small amphitheatre of wood'. The complex was also provided with a number of subsidiary buildings, including the stable block.

Hunt's architect is generally thought to have been John Finden, who exhibited drawings for the ‘Elevation of a House now building for J. H. Hunt Esq, at Compton Pauncefoot’ at the Royal Academy in 1821. Finden, who worked in both London and Somerset, was not prolific; Compton Castle is his only known extant building, and was probably his most significant commission, others including municipal buildings and more modest private houses. The similarities between Compton Castle and the work of Robert Smirke – particularly at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire – have been noted (Colvin, 2008, 375), and it is likely that Finden was aware of Smirke's designs; there were professional connections between the Finden and Smirke families. Finden is not known to have worked on landscape commissions, and it must be supposed that Hunt was closely involved in the creation of the landscape, or possibly that another designer was employed.

The house appears to have remained largely unaltered during the course of the C19; tenants generally had the building, furnished, on leases of three or five years, and presumably would not have been in a position to undertake works in their own right. However, certain garden features mentioned in 1831 but now no longer in evidence may have disappeared during that time. The Husey-Hunt family eventually sold the house in 1911; the next owner, William Peake Mason, later Lord Blackford, had substantial alterations and additions made under the direction of architect Charles Biddulph-Pinchard. Further alterations were made to the interior of the house, and to the grounds, by subsequent owners, from the 1960s onwards. The stable block was partially converted to a garage shortly after 1960.

Reasons for Listing

The stable block at Compton Castle is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historical interest: as a significant feature in the development of the Compton Castle estate, constructed in the 1820s;
* Design: for its Gothick detailing, complementing the style of the principal house;
* Group value: with Compton Castle, listed at Grade II*, and the adjacent garden buildings, as well as the east curtain wall, lodges, grotto and cascade, all listed at Grade II, and the registered landscape.

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