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Garden wall with stone talbots at Dorothy House Hospice (formerly Winsley House)

A Grade II Listed Building in Winsley, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3462 / 51°20'46"N

Longitude: -2.2913 / 2°17'28"W

OS Eastings: 379805

OS Northings: 160832

OS Grid: ST798608

Mapcode National: GBR 0QZ.HJ6

Mapcode Global: VH96V.7FJB

Entry Name: Garden wall with stone talbots at Dorothy House Hospice (formerly Winsley House)

Listing Date: 3 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424264

Location: Winsley, Wiltshire, BA15

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Winsley

Built-Up Area: Winsley

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Winsley St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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A stone wall dated 1637/1657 built for Winsley House with three stone Talbots, with C20 alterations and repairs.


A stone wall dated 1637/1657 built for Winsley House with three limestone talbot statues, altered and repaired in the C20.

Description: the section of wall is approximately 120m long and c2m high. It is built in random stone rubble with dressed stone to the later curved sections at the main entrance along Bradford Road, and with flat stone copings throughout. The entrance is marked by two stone talbot statues set on a flat stone base on top of the coping. Another talbot statue is set above a flat-arched, stone ashlar doorway further north along Bradford Road, which has a planked timber doorway with decorative cast-iron strap hinges. Above the doorway is a small date stone, inscribed with '1637' or '1657' (the third number only partly legible). The statues, despite the stone being slightly weathered, are clearly defined and depict the talbots with curly fur and tails resting on their backs. They sit in an upright position and have a studded collar around the neck with a chain attached. During the recent restoration of the statues, historic red paint traces were found in the mouth of one of the talbots.


The section of wall with the three stone talbots runs along the south side of Bradford Road in Winsley, and has a date stone of 1637 or 1657 (the third number is only partly legible). The talbot was a white hunting dog which became extinct by the end of the C18. It is believed to be the ancestor to the modern beagle and bloodhound. During the C17 talbot dogs were extensively used in heraldry to refer to trustworthy and well-mannered dogs, and were symbolically used in coat of arms and crests, or in the form of statues situated in gardens and / or at entrance gates.

The wall in Winsley was constructed as part of the boundary walls to Winsley House, marked on the 1st edition OS map 1:2500 published in 1886 (this gives the date for the house as 1657). The map shows Winsley House with the walls to its north and west following the line of the road. They enclose the house with a formal garden, a small park to its south, and two walled gardens to the east, approached from the south-west.

By 1924 (as indicated by the OS map published that year), Winsley House was approached from the north via Bradford Road, where an entrance had been inserted, corresponding with the location of the current entrance. By then parts of the house had been demolished. By 1932 a private dwelling had been built in the walled garden to the far east of Winsley House.

In 1953 Winsley House was bought by Sutcliffe School for Boys, who converted and extended the remains of the house and erected a number of school buildings in the former grounds, and by 1970 another dwelling had been built in the remaining walled garden. Sutcliffe School closed in 1992 when it was bought by the charity Dorothy House who converted it into a hospice for cancer patients. The boundary wall was repaired and rebuilt in places. Two of the three stone talbots on the wall have recently been cleaned and restored, and paint traces found in the mouth of one of the dogs suggests they were once painted in bright colours.

Reasons for Listing

The C17 garden wall with three heraldic Talbot statues at Dorothy House Hospice (formerly Winsley House) in Winsley, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Date and rarity: it is an early and rare example of a C17 garden wall with heraldic statuary;

Architectural interest: it displays artistic quality and good craftsmanship and architectural detailing;

Historic interest: it is important in the wider understanding of the use of heraldic statuary in the historic gardens;

Context: its historic context survives relatively well and it makes an important and interesting contribution to the local historic street scene.

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