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Latitude: 51.1995 / 51°11'58"N
Longitude: -3.4923 / 3°29'32"W
OS Eastings: 295833
OS Northings: 145529
OS Grid: SS958455
Mapcode National: GBR LH.4R3Z
Mapcode Global: VH5K4.F34T
Entry Name: Periton Mead, with courtyard walls, piers and cobbled surface, raised terrace and steps
Listing Date: 7 May 2015
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1425388
Location: Minehead, West Somerset, Somerset, TA24
District: West Somerset
Civil Parish: Minehead
Built-Up Area: Minehead
Traditional County: Somerset
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset
A small country house, built circa 1915-22, by Percy Morley Horder for C S Orwin; with courtyard walls, piers and cobbled surface, raised terrace and steps.
Small country house, circa 1915-22, with the majority of the south-west range added circa 1925. Percy Morley Horder for C S Orwin, with courtyard walls, piers and cobbled surface, raised terrace and steps.
MATERIALS: built of random-coursed Cleeve stone, with heavy quoins, windows, and other ashlar dressings, of Doulting stone from Norton-sub-Hamdon. The roof is of slate from Treborough. The chimney stacks are stone. There are ventilation holes formed of slate laid horizontally to the gables and above some door and window openings. The iron-framed casement windows have been replaced. The majority of the range projecting from the south-west corner is rendered.
PLAN: the main building is a loose C-plan (or E-plan, taking into account the projecting entrance bay) ranged around a courtyard to the west, with the principal entrance in the central range opening on to the courtyard. There is an additional block at the south-west corner. To the south and west of this is a slightly later range. A later extension attached to the south wall of this range, containing a ground-floor workshop is not of special interest.*
EXTERIOR: the west front of the two-storey building has an imposing appearance in a Tudor style, consisting of the projecting central entrance bay, with the wings stepped outwards in blocks enclosing the east side of the courtyard. The walls on this elevation are topped by a capped parapet, behind which are the hipped slate roofs. The ashlar mullioned window frames of between two and four lights, protected by dripstones, are arranged symmetrically. The principal entrance, at the centre of the west front, is in a full-height projecting porch with a gable surmounted by a ball-finial. The Tudor-arched doorcase has a stopped convex moulding and a moulded cornice. The oak door also has a Tudor-arched head, the fillets studded with iron nails, and long iron strap hinges together with a decorative wrought-iron latch. Above the door is a two-light window, and above that a two-light gable window with eared hoodmould. The bays flanking the entrance have pairs of two-light windows to the ground floor, lighting the hall, and four-light windows above, lighting the corridor. The western ends of the side ranges are canted towards the west gable ends, each of which has a gable window. The southern canted wall has a mounting block set against it. The additional block extending from the south-west wing of the house contains a subsidiary entrance with an oak door. The east front of the house is more vernacular in style: the four flanking gabled bays are stepped out gradually from the central entrance bay, and the stacks rise tall from this side of the roofs. The entrance is sheltered by a low overhanging roof slope, with a large dormer window above. The doorcase, with a complex moulded frame, is flanked by two-light windows, the three elements being linked by a hoodmould. The bays to either side have five-light windows divided horizontally, with smaller five-light windows, undivided, above. In the outer bays there are divided four-light windows, that to the south incorporate a door to the former Drawing Room. Above, five-light windows. All the windows on this elevation have hoodmoulds. The south-facing garden front has projecting gabled end bays, whilst the central section is of three bays. A roll-moulding runs above the ground floor of this elevation, stepped over the central doorway, and forming hoodmoulds over the windows. Above this, over the door, is a recessed panel, with the two-light first-floor window above. The outer bays of this set-back middle section hold three-light windows. The projecting bays have four-light windows, the lower windows being divided. The west side of the garden is enclosed by the east walls of the additional block and the south-west range, with an oriel window in the additional block.
The rendered, gabled, south-west range largely dates from between 1923 and 1929, and originally included stabling and garaging, though no wide openings remain. This section is differentiated from the rest of the house by the current render, which is probably a later addition. However the corbelled gables with slated ventilation holes, the stone-mullioned windows to the north and westernmost elevations, and the form of the stacks link it stylistically with the main building. A flat corbelled arch with timber bressumer leads to a yard to the south. The windows in the southern part of this section are metal-framed replacements.
INTERIOR: the interior of the building has received considerable alteration as a result of its long use as a school, but the overall plan is still legible and a number of high-quality historic features remain. The ground-floor plan of the house was published by Country Life in 1923, so it is possible to refer to the ground-floor rooms by their original names. The entrance porch leads into the Hall, with the principal rooms arranged along the east side of the house accessed from the Hall. The original oak doors to these rooms have been lost. The Hall is floored with Treborough slate slabs; the window-sills here, as elsewhere, are also of slate. The Hall contains modern partitions and a large enclosed reception desk, together with a false ceiling; the principal ground-floor rooms have also received some reconfiguration. The Inner Hall is situated to the south-east of the Hall; the arched embrasure in the north-west corner of the room replaces a former doorway into the Hall. The Inner Hall formerly contained the main doorway to the eastern terrace, but the westernmost section of the room now forms a passageway between the Hall and the rear door. The Inner Hall retains its large stone fireplace in a Tudor style, with the shelf supported on brackets in the form of inverted obelisks, and a moulded Tudor-arched opening with Tudor roses to the stops and slates laid in herringbone to the cheeks; this room has oak floorboards and a coved cornice. The form of the Dining Room, in the north-east corner of the central range, has been considerably increased by the removal of the passage which formerly ran to the west of the Dining Room providing access to the Dining Room and Hall from the kitchen quarters, and the incorporation of the pantry which was formerly to the west of the passage. In the north-west corner of the Dining Room is a large stone fireplace, the Tudor-arched opening being similar to that in the Inner Hall, but the frieze above having Tudor roses between fluted panels beneath a moulded cornice. The interior of the fireplace is in a characteristic Arts and Crafts manner, with a curved hood and cheeks in herringbone slate and a lozenge to the centre of the hood of red brick. This fireplace formerly formed the focus of a sitting or dining area, but the removal of a store-room to the west has opened out this area. The enlarged Dining Room now has a false ceiling, so the cornice and beam visible in a Country Life photograph cannot be seen. The Drawing Room, in the south-east corner of the central range, has a fireplace in a Georgian style, and a coved cornice. The former Boudoir, to the east of the Hall, has lost its fireplace, but retains its moulded cornice. The Library, to the south, has a suite of built-in bookcases and panelling with an integrated fire-surround in a Georgian manner; the room has a moulded cornice. The former Playroom to the south-west has been divided but retains a simple fireplace, the interior having curved hood and cheeks in herringbone slate. The northern part of the main house contains the kitchens: the main kitchen, to the north of the dining room, does not retain historic features, but the smaller kitchen offices, to the north-west, have original tiling and slate floors. The former Servants’ Hall has a plain fireplace of layered slate. The main stair is to the south, the entrance to the stair well having a simple wooden frame of pilasters and lintel. The open-well stair, constructed of oak, has a closed string, and strong plain newel posts with geometric pendentives. The balusters have been boxed in, but a pair of turned balusters between the starter-newels suggest that the remaining balusters are turned. The first-floor landing has been enclosed. The upper corridor, extending along the west side of the house, retains its original form, lit by windows with slate sills, but the bedrooms and living areas to the east, north and south have been reconfigured and do not retain historic features.
The eastern part of the slightly later south-west range is built on higher ground, and the two-storey building is accessed by a stair from the south-west end of the main house. The stair itself is plain and the rooms in this part of the building, which do not have historic features, are of lesser interest. The westernmost section of this range was not inspected internally.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the courtyard to the west of the entrance front is enclosed on the west and north sides by a stone wall with square piers at the opening to the west. The surface of the courtyard is cobbled, laid in a geometric design.
On the north side of the wall enclosing the courtyard is a machinery garage, which is not of special interest.
The east front of the house opens on to a raised paved terrace surrounded by a buttressed rubble wall coped with slate and accessed by steps.
A number of late-C20 buildings have been erected on the site, connected with Periton Mead’s phase as a school. These are: the head teacher’s house to the south-west of the main house, a large single-storey C-plan teaching block further to the south, two temporary structures located on the tarmacked area to the east of the main house and three small sheds to the north of the house. None of these buildings are of special interest.*
* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.
The land on which Periton Mead was built was still open fields in the late C19, but by the time of the survey made for the Ordnance Survey map published in 1904 a small red-brick villa had appeared on the site. This building was inherited in 1913 by Mr C S Orwin (an authority on agricultural economics, and first Director of the Institute for Research into Agricultural Economics, Oxford, 1913-46) who decided to develop the site to provide a seaside house for his family. The architect chosen was Percy Morley Horder, known largely for his small country houses in an Arts and Crafts style, and for alterations to historic buildings; Horder had designed the Oxford Institute’s building in 1913. Work at Periton Mead appears to have commenced during the First World War, but the main building was only recently completed in 1923 when the house was featured in Country Life; the south-west range was probably completed between 1923 and 1929. The south-west range, which is on the site of the original villa, may incorporate the remains of that building but no evidence of this has been found in the fabric of the building. The map evidence suggests that it must have been at least partially demolished, as the site occupied by the villa in the 1904 map is partly vacant on the plan published in 1923.
Following the Second World War the site became an open-air boarding school, and was run as such by Bristol City Council between 1945 and 1988. Thereafter, Periton Mead was an independent school for children with special needs. A number of new buildings appeared as a result of the site’s use as a school, and the existing buildings received extensive alterations.
The 1923 Country Life article noted that a very complete plan for the gardens had been prepared by Horder but that the realisation of this awaited completion. The garden today (2015) has been subject to neglect, and some areas have been covered by building and hard surfacing. However, a number of built garden features do remain, including the terrace to the east and the ‘sunk garden’ to the south of the house, both of which appear in the Country Life photographs.
The site is currently unoccupied (2015).
Periton Mead, a house of circa 1915-22 by Percy Morley Horder, and its courtyard walls, piers and cobbled surface, raised terrace and steps, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the house is a significant example of Horder’s Arts and Crafts interpretation of Tudor building, employing convincing variation within a symmetrical plan-form and elevations, applying sparing but considered external detailing and making use of traditional materials and craftsmanship;
* External survival: the south-west corner of the house received an addition shortly after it was completed, which, although it affects the symmetry of the house, is sufficiently distinct, and is in a complementary style; a later addition to this is not of special interest. Otherwise, the main house remains remarkably intact, with the treatment of each elevation distinct, the only alteration being the replacement of the casement windows;
* Internal features: the house retains a number of good features expressive of the original style of the interior, notably fireplaces and the main stair.
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