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The Apple Room about 20 metres South West of Compton Castle

A Grade II Listed Building in Compton Pauncefoot, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.029 / 51°1'44"N

Longitude: -2.5048 / 2°30'17"W

OS Eastings: 364692

OS Northings: 125634

OS Grid: ST646256

Mapcode National: GBR MV.HH5X

Mapcode Global: FRA 56MD.KYW

Entry Name: The Apple Room about 20 metres South West of Compton Castle

Listing Date: 6 March 1986

Last Amended: 17 February 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1346139

English Heritage Legacy ID: 263367

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

Small garden building, built c 1820-5 as part of the castle complex by John Finden for John Hunt. The raised coping of the gables suggests that the building was originally thatched, contributing to its rustic character.

Description


MATERIALS: Ham stone, roughly cut and squared, with ashlar dressings; the current roof covering is of stone slate. The windows, with leaded lights, are later replacements.

PLAN: the building is rectangular on plan, standing on a north-west/south-east alignment, with the entrance to the north-east.

EXTERIOR: the single-storey building is of three bays, having a central entrance, unadorned but for a hoodmould, with a Tudor-arched door with vertical filets. To either side, an ovolo-moulded two-light mullioned window under a hoodmould. There is a similar window, at a higher level, in the south-west wall. The moulded, coped gables rest on corbels.

INTERIOR: the interior is partially lined with breeze-blocks, and does not retain original features.

We have considered whether powers of exclusion under s.1 (5A) of the 1990 Act are appropriate, and consider that they are not.

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 and illustrated 'a castellated mansion delightfully situated in a small amphitheatre of wood'. The complex was also provided with a number of subsidiary buildings, including the small garden building now known as 'The Apple Room'; it is not known when this name came into use.

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. The formal sunken garden to the south of the house was also created during this phase of work, interrupting the driveway which formerly ran between the house and 'The Apple Room'. Further alterations were made to the interior of the house, and to the grounds, by subsequent owners, from the 1960s onwards.

Reasons for Listing

The Apple Room at Compton Castle is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a significant feature in the development of the Compton Castle estate, constructed in the 1820s;
* Design: for its simple vernacular design with restrained detailing, creating a foil for the more elaborate Gothick style of the principal house;
* Group value: with Compton Castle, listed at Grade II*, the east curtain wall, and the summerhouse, as well as the stable building, lodges, grotto and cascade, all listed at Grade II, and the registered landscape.

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