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Downside School

A Grade II* Listed Building in Stratton on the Fosse, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2546 / 51°15'16"N

Longitude: -2.4953 / 2°29'43"W

OS Eastings: 365531

OS Northings: 150716

OS Grid: ST655507

Mapcode National: GBR MV.1CLT

Mapcode Global: VH89N.PQPM

Entry Name: Downside School

Listing Date: 2 June 1961

Last Amended: 23 August 1989

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1295086

English Heritage Legacy ID: 268001

Location: Stratton on the Fosse, Mendip, Somerset, BA3

County: Somerset

District: Mendip

Civil Parish: Stratton on the Fosse

Built-Up Area: Stratton-on-the-Fosse

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Stratton on the Fosse

Listing Text

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 10/10/2012

ST 65 SE

(west side)
Downside School

(Formerly listed as Mount Pleasant and chapel with flanking wings, Downside Abbey and School (previously only Mount Pleasant listed))


School. Including the Old house, the Old Chapel and School, the main Refectory and associated buildings and the houses on the west side of the guadrangle, but excluding the Gasquet Hall, the Science wing, the Allan Swimming Bath and all post World War II buildings. c.1700 (Old House) 1820-3 (Old Chapel and School) 1853-4 (School) 1873-6 (Main Refectory) 1884 (Gasquet Passage), 1910-14 (South and West ranges) 1939 (South-east Wing ). Architects in same order. Unknown, H E Goodridge, Charles Hansom, A M Dunn and E J Hansom, A M Dunn and E J Hansom, L A Stokes, Sir G G Scott. Mendip and Bath limestone, part rubble and part ashlar, with Welsh slate and tile roofs. The buildings form three sides of the quadrangle which is open to the east, and a north wing stretching through the Gasquet Passage and the Main Refectory towards the Monastery and Church (qv).

Description: Old House. Original Manor House on site. Semi ashlar. Central entrance double depth house of Queen Anne type. Three storeys and attic, 5 windows wide. 2-light stone mullioned windows with sashes. Continuous hood-moulds. Ashlar porch. Eaves on brackets. Big hipped slate roof with three gabled dormers. Return hidden by early C20 2 x 3 window three storey block which is not of special interest. Interior not inspected, but known to have original wooden staircase.

Old Chapel and School: designed to give the appearance of an Early English Church with transepts, nave aisles and grand west front, but in fact contains chapel on first floor of transept, and the usual school rooms elsewhere. Transept with tall buttresses (finials gone), large triple window to chapel. 6-bay nave including south porch, lancets with continuous drip, clerestorey with lancets. Octagonal tower at west end (passage round west end added 1867). An unusually refined piece of Gothic revival for the date. Interior not inspected, the chapel has plaster vaulting.

School: L-shaped block with stair turret in angle. 2 storeys and attics but only east wing has dormers. 2-light mullion and transomed windows, 6 bays to south wing, 2:2:2 divided by buttresses, 5 bays to east wing. Central bay of east wing projects with stepped gable. 4=light window to ground floor, single lights flank statue (St Gregory) on first floor. South range with two chimney stacks and 2 vents to ridge. West elevation reveals a parallel secondary range with lower ridge line. 6 bays, left hand one gabled with canted 2-storey bay, rest as on quadrangle elevation, but with central external stack and right hand bay gabled with 3-light window to ground floor and stack above. Interior partly inspected and largely in original condition.

South and West Range: A section of a very much larger scheme by Leonard Stokes. Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings and tiled roofs. Quadrangular elevation adjoins school with 5-storey tower, the rest three storeys and attics with classrooms below, studies above and dormitories in attics. 4 bays to west range and 5 bays to south range. 4-light mullion and transomed windows with iron glazing to 1st and 2nd floors with ashlar apron between. Some of the iron glazing has been replaced by aluminium. Range of 2-light windows to 2nd floor. Long ranges of attic windows with large gabled dormers. West and south elevations are broadly similar but with 5-light windows. Interior largely unaltered with original plann-ing and joinery (see Architectural Review, October 1912 p.228).

South East wing is an extension of the above with Scott's design similar in intention to Stokes' but differing in detail. 5-bay east elevation with 2:4:2:4:2 light windows, third floor 2-light windows and continuous attic window. Some of the iron glazing has been replaced by aluminium. Interior not inspected. Gasquet Passage (partly obscured by temporary buildings) is a plain single storey range, connecting School with Main Refectory. Large window with 5-lights and 2 mullions. Interior not inspected.

Main Refectory is a large ashlar block with slate roof in a collegiate style. Three storeys with large steeply pitched roof with stair turret on west gable and prominent stairtower on south side. South side has two large gables, each with two paired windows with trefoil heads and two small gables with paired window with quatrefoil. First floor window are 2-light mullion and transom with hoodmould. Ground floor obscured by other buildings. Tall, twin-shafted stack. North side has large windows to first floor and range of small gables to attic storey. Interior not inspected, but contains carved stone chimneypiece and panelling. The Old Kitchens block and the Poldings House by Dunn and Hansom, although largely obscured by other buildings are also included. Two storeys with red tile roofs and of a domestic character. Interiors not inspected. Taylors Row is also included and may be related to Pugin's unbuilt second scheme of 1841.

History: Built for a community of Benedictine monks, founded at St Gregory's Monastery at Douai in Flanders in 1607. House re-established in England in 1795, present estate purchased in 1813. The Old House, the existing house on the site, was the monastery and school until extended in 1820-3 and continued until the present monastery was built in 1872-6. The School was greatly enlarged in the early C20 when it vied to become a major English Public School. Many notable English Catholics have been educated here.
References: Pevsner, Buildings of England, North Somerset and Bristol.
Architectural Review, October 1912, p.228. Peter Howell, The Raven, 1971 (Vol
LXII No 252).

Listing NGR: ST6553850643

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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