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Grove House

A Grade II Listed Building in Stalbridge, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.9602 / 50°57'36"N

Longitude: -2.3836 / 2°23'0"W

OS Eastings: 373157

OS Northings: 117928

OS Grid: ST731179

Mapcode National: GBR 0WH.Q69

Mapcode Global: FRA 56WK.Z2X

Entry Name: Grove House

Listing Date: 18 April 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1446119

Location: Stalbridge, North Dorset, Dorset, DT10

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset

Civil Parish: Stalbridge

Built-Up Area: Stalbridge

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Stalbridge St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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A house of c1872, built probably for the agent of Lord Richard Grosvenor. Extended prior to 1887 and updated in the first decade of the C20; later minor alterations including the addition of a C20 conservatory.


A house of c1872, built probably for the agent of Lord Richard Grosvenor. Extended prior to 1887 and updated in the first decade of the C20; later minor alterations including the addition of a C20 conservatory.

MATERIALS: constructed of Forest marble limestone and sandstone, with stone dressings and hipped slate roofs. There are two stone ridge stacks with decorated tops; the rest have moulded tops and are down the slope of the roof. The outbuildings, situated to the west and south-west of the house, are built of red brick, local stone rubble and timber, under pitched roofs variously of slates, plain tiles and corrugated sheeting. The garden walls are stone rubble.

PLAN: an asymmetrical plan. The principal range has two stories and cellars, and is roughly square. The principal rooms are arranged in an L-shaped plan around the main staircase in the roughly square main range. This has two stories and cellars. To the rear is an attached two-storey service wing and at right angles to this is a late-C19 ancillary wing orientated west-east; together they form an L-shaped plan.

EXTERIOR: there are string courses at the levels of the ground-floor window heads and the first-floor sills which run along the principal fronts, and at first-floor level to the rear service wing. Across the building are deep, bracketed eaves. The windows are tripartite, paired and single two-pane sashes; those to the late-C19 wing are horned, most have shoulder-arched or plain lintels. There are also small single lights grouped in threes and fours. The north entrance front has two bays, the left-hand bay breaking forwards. A doorway (infilled) at ground-floor level served as a separate entrance to the office/study at the north-east corner of the building so that callers on estate business would not disturb the family home. At first floor is a tripartite window. To the right is a projecting single-storey porch, dating from the Edwardian alterations. It has a moulded cornice and three arched openings for a central principal entrance with diagonal plank door and semi-circular fanlight, and a window to either side; the glazing has leaded, coloured glass. Above the porch there is a first-floor tripartite window with Carnarvon arches. The east, garden elevation has three regularly-spaced arched windows and an arched window of three arched with colonnettes and carved capitals under a semi-circular arch set with three roundels at ground-floor level, and three single and tripartite first-floor windows, all with shoulder-arched lintels. The south elevation, also facing the garden, has an arched ground-floor opening with paired doors and a fanlight, paired doors and a small, stone balcony with pierced decoration that is supported on stepped stone brackets, and full-height canted bay windows to the left end. The left return has paired windows to the ground floor and a tripartite one above. The north elevation of the two-storey service wing has at ground-floor level, from left to right, a tripartite window with relieving arch, a doorway with half-glazed door and light over, a large flat-arched opening of three bi-fold doors under a flat-arched lintel, a further doorway to the corner. To the first floor are two paired windows. At the junction between the two wings is a first-floor timber and glazed oriel. At right angles is the late-C19 wing. All its first-floor windows are paired sashes. On the east elevation the ground floor has a tall, blocked doorway with a tripartite window under a relieving arch to each side, and to the rear (west) the left-hand bays contain two former carriage openings with C20 timber garage doors under timber lintels, and to the right are tripartite and paired windows. The south elevation of the service range has a doorway to the left end, four small single lights, and a single window; the first floor has tripartite and paired windows. A modern conservatory has been added to this elevation.

INTERIOR: substantially intact plan-form, with early-C20 entrance lobby leading to a hall which has an archway through to the inner hall containing the main open-well staircase that is lit by a lantern (replaced early C21). The reception rooms are arranged around the staircase, as are the principal bedrooms on the first floor. There is no access between the two wings at ground-floor level, and two service staircases provide access to the secondary and the servants' bedrooms. The fittings and materials used are of a good quality and mostly chosen from manufacturers’ catalogues. The fireplaces date from the second half of the C19 and the early C20 refurbishment, with a variety of different designs, including timber, cast-iron and marble surrounds, marble and tile insets, and retain their grates. The windows of the ground-floor principal rooms have vertical sliding shutters, except for the French doors in the dining room which have folding shutters, and both the drawing room and the dining room have moulded oak-framed panels to the walls. The Lincrusta paper below the dado to the inner hall, staircase and first-floor landing and the electric light fittings in some rooms date probably from the early-C20 refurbishment. The four-panel doors are a mix of mahogany and pine, and the skirting boards remain throughout. There are polychromatic floor tiles to the hallways and the service corridors and some service rooms, and wooden floors to the ground-floor principal rooms and bedrooms. Many of the service rooms retain shelves and cupboards; the servants’ hall has a cast-iron range; and the early-C20 wall-mounted electricity switchgear and an internal water pump also survive.


Grove House is a detached villa on the north-west edge of Stalbridge, adjacent to Stalbridge Park. The Stalbridge estate was sold in 1854 by the Earl of Uxbridge to the Marquess of Westminster, owner of the neighbouring Motcombe estate. The two estates were to descend in stages to Lord Richard de Aquila Grosvenor (1837-1912), 1st Baron Stalbridge, who was the fourth son of the second Marquess. He was a conscientious landlord who spent enormous sums of money rebuilding most of the farmhouses and farm buildings on his extensive estate. George Aitchison (1825-1910) who had established himself, principally through his work for wealthy and artistically-inclined clients, as a prominent and respected architect during the second half of the C19, is known to have designed a house for Lord Richard Grosvenor at Stalbridge Park, Dorset and that it was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1872. Grove House was constructed around this time, probably for Lord Grosvenor’s agent, but it cannot be established with any certainty that Aitchison was the architect responsible.

When built in the 1870s, Grove House comprised a double-plan principal range of two storeys with cellars and an attached two-storey service wing to the rear. Prior to 1887 (First Edition Ordnance Survey map) a detached coach house which is shown on an historic photograph to the north-west of the house was demolished and an additional two-storey ancillary wing was built at right angles to the existing service wing. In the first decade of the C20 an entrance porch was added to the north front and the interior underwent some remodelling and the installation of electric lighting. Sales particulars from 1918, when outlying parts of the Motcombe Estate were sold, describe the house as having a smoke room and WC, library, drawing room, dining room, 4 principal bedrooms, dressing room, linen closet, bathroom and a suite of secondary bedrooms. The service quarters were described as well-arranged, and included a butler’s pantry, kitchen, larder, scullery, 2 pantries, servants’ hall and four servants’ bedroom. There was also a double coach house, harness room, saddle room, cleaning room and 12 hunting boxes; a tool and potting shed, a privy, and a range of glasshouses. The grounds were, and remain, partially enclosed by stone walls. The house was sold to the Prideaux family in 1918.

Reasons for Listing

Grove House, an Italianate villa built c1872 probably for the agent of Lord Richard Grosvenor, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as a carefully-detailed and massed composition, exhibiting careful attention to external and internal detail and precise planning;
* Extent of survival: for the remarkable survival of a wide range of fixtures and fittings expressive of the mid-C19 style of the interior, both within the principal rooms and in the service quarters;
* Extent of alteration: the later C19 and Edwardian additions and fittings compliment rather than detract from the original building;
* Plan form: the distinctions between the principal rooms and the service quarters are clearly legible readable and give a strong impression of the functioning of this mid-C19 house.

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