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Highstones

A Grade II Listed Building in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7115 / 51°42'41"N

Longitude: -2.2194 / 2°13'10"W

OS Eastings: 384933

OS Northings: 201441

OS Grid: SO849014

Mapcode National: GBR 1MY.PP7

Mapcode Global: VH954.H70T

Entry Name: Highstones

Listing Date: 12 September 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420448

Location: Minchinhampton, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5

County: Gloucestershire

District: Stroud

Civil Parish: Minchinhampton

Built-Up Area: Nailsworth

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Amberley Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Find accommodation in
Woodchester

Summary

Highstones, an Arts and Crafts house of 1913, built to a butterfly plan, by Thomas Falconer.

Description

House, built in 1913 to a design by Thomas Falconer for J. Miles.

MATERIALS: the building is of brick, covered with roughcast. The roofs are tiled, with tall stacks, the main shafts being rendered with brick above – one is placed centrally and there is another at each end of the house. All the original metal-framed windows with leaded lights and decorative wrought-iron catches, set within stone mullioned openings, survive.

PLAN: built to a butterfly plan, on a north-west/south-east axis, the central entrance faces south-west, enclosed by angled wings to either side, the southern range extending eastwards providing additional south-facing rooms. There is an extension to the north face of the north wing. The house is built over two storeys.

EXTERIOR: the entrance is set within a projecting gabled stone porch with a tiled roof; the upper part of the doorway is framed by a stopped ogee moulding, and there is a corbelled hoodmould above the door. The door itself is constructed of nailed boards, with decorative forged iron hinges, letter-box, and handle; beside the door is a decorative iron boot-scraper, and above it is a lantern. The porch is flanked by small windows, and there is a three-light window above. The wings to either side are symmetrical, the inner faces having each a two-light window to ground and first floors, and the further, gabled, faces, having each a canted bay window to the ground floor, with a three-light window above. There are ventilation shafts to the gables. The south face extends into a further bay to the east, creating a complex juxtaposition of roof slopes; this bay has a three-light window to the ground floor with a two-light window above. In the rear parts of the house, the window treatment matches that at the front, with ventilation shafts to the gables, but the fenestration is less regular. To the east, a door leads to the kitchen, with a late-C20 window lighting the kitchen to the left; this area is sheltered by a late-C20 glass lean-to extension, which meets the stone retaining wall behind. Towards the north-west, a triple opening, with two window lights to the left, and a chamfered door-opening to the right; this contains a replacement door. To the north side of the northern wing, a late-C20 two-storey extension, built in a similar style and using similar materials to the original building.

INTERIOR: the front door opens into the porch, which is arched within; this leads into the entrance hall, lit by small windows to either side of the door. The entrance hall forms the centre of the radiating plan: straight ahead is an arched opening set within a wider arched screen, leading to the stair, with the kitchen area to the right. The dining room is accessed directly from the entrance hall to the south, with a passage leading to the drawing room to the north. The dining room has a canted bay window facing south, and a large stone fire-surround of a simple but considered design characteristic of Thomas Falconer, with a deep frieze carved with a lozenge, and a corbelled shelf. The drawing room has a canted bay window facing west, and a stone fireplace with a bolection moulded frame and concave surround with integral low stands. In the northern corner, a fitted cupboard with shelving above. Double doors lead into a adjacent room, with the triple opening giving light to the room and access to the rear. Within this room, which has a cast-iron fire-surround, the underside of the stair is visible, with moulded pendentives making a feature of this necessity. The ground floor of the extension is accessed from this room. To the right of the stair, a door opens to a passage leading to the kitchen; this passage forms a servery or pantry, with built-in storage – a dresser beneath the windows to the rear, and china cupboard with glazed door opposite – and a hatch giving access to the dining room. There has been some reconfiguration in the kitchen, with the area of the former larder incorporated into the room, and the insertion of a new window; the lobby to the rear, with small WC, remains in place, as do the boarded doors with Bakelite handles. The stair rises straight from the rear section of the hall, with a quarter turn to continue against the back wall, lit by an arched window. The stair is contained by a screen of rectangular moulded balusters, continuing up from a closed string to the level of the landing; the balusters then form a balustrade to the back of the landing. The geometrical design of the stair is continued in the newel post, which is decorated with a recessed rectangular panel, and has a stepped top. Upstairs, the bedrooms have a variety of cast-iron fire-surrounds in late-C19/early-C20 designs, and some original built-in cupboards. The principal bedroom, in the north-west wing, is entered through a doorway with shouldered surrounds. The house retains the majority of its original simple joinery, including three-panelled doors, doorframes, skirting, and a picture rail joining hoods over window openings, as well as cupboards. There are a number of original copper handles to the doors.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the house is built into the side of a hill, and the back of the building is enclosed by a stone retaining wall, with the rear part of the garden above. The plot is surrounded by a dry stone wall. Opposite the front door is a gateway holding the original timber gate, with delicate wrought ironwork to the crest and overthrow.

History

The house now known as Highstones was built in 1913 by Thomas Falconer for J. Miles. The building may originally have been named Colaba, as it was in the 1920s; the name was changed to Highstones in 1969. During 1913 Falconer was also working on Camp Field (now Bowman's Green) in nearby Minchinhampton which, like Highstones, is built to a 'butterfly' plan. Set into a hillside, Highstones is designed to provide views of the valley to the south-west from all the principal rooms.

The Stroud area has a rich heritage of Arts and Crafts buildings, with a number of distinguished architects and designers having moved to the area between the 1890s and the 1930s; these included Ernest Gimson, Sidney and Ernest Barnsley, Norman Jewson, Percy Morley Horder, and Thomas Falconer. Thomas Falconer (1879-1934) worked for Ernest George before setting up his own practice; his principal office was in Amberley, where he lived, and although he had with a further office in London for some years, his work was principally in Gloucestershire, including a number of private houses as well as restorations and additions to historic buildings. Falconer was joined in partnership by Harold Baker from 1917 to 1928, from 1922 by John Campbell, and from 1919 to 1924 by Bligh Bond.

Reasons for Listing

Highstones, an Arts and Crafts house of 1913 by Thomas Falconer, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: Falconer employs the butterfly plan to good effect, making imaginative use of the sloping site with its open view, with limited but effective external detailing;
* Interior: the interior demonstrates quality in its spare but neatly-detailed architectural style, and retains its Arts and Crafts windows, stone fireplaces, original joinery and distinctive copper door-handles;
* Intactness: despite the loss of some fireplaces, and alteration to the plan of the kitchen, the house remains largely unaltered, and the essential harmony of interior and exterior remains as intended.

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