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© Mr Robert Walkley

IoE Number: 157729
Location: LITTLE GADDESDEN, 55 (east side)
Photographer: Mr Robert Walkley
Date Photographed: 19 August 2004
Date listed: 14 May 1952
Date of last amendment: 02 December 1986
Grade II*

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LITTLE GADDESDENLITTLE GADDESDENSP 91 SE (East side)1/198The Manor House and No 5530.11.66(Formerly listed as

LITTLE GADDESDEN LITTLE GADDESDEN SP 91 SE (East side) 1/198 The Manor House and No 55 30.11.66 (Formerly listed as 14.5.52 No 55 Little Gaddesden) GV II* House, now subdivided. 1576 for Sir Robert Dormer (plaque central on W front 'AD1576/EE/NA.RD', service wing on S and alterations 1684 (RW head on front dated), timber framed SW projecting wing (No. 55) C17 or earlier, antiquarian restoration possibly 1787 (graffiti at: top of NW stair 'WF 1787'), restoration and SE wing c.1880 for Lord Brownlow. Tottenhoe stone ashlar, W front skinned in plaster 1958, E side chequered stone and flint. Red brick S wings and casing to SW wing (No. 55) which has timber framing exposed on SW. Old red tile roofs. A 3 storeys symmetrical building facing W with a 2-storeys half octagonal bay in centre flanked by 3-storey square projecting towers with crowsteps of a half gable to N and S added for symmetry and concealing lean-to roofs. Ovolo-moulded mullioned and transomed windows with iron casements and old lattice leaded glazing. The fronts of the towers have one window to each floor, 2-light with label to 3rd floor, 3-light below a moulded string to 2nd floor, 3-light below a hoodmould on RH but small high set 2-light on LH. Similar wide mullioned windows to central bay, with parapet and small 2-light casement above. Datepanel on bay carved with strapwork in egg-and-dart gadrooned sunk frame. Crow-stepped gables between corner finials top the towers and obscure view of fine N chimney. Sunk panel with label in each small gable, LH with clock hands. Entrance now into side of RH tower but Buckler dwg of 1841 (HRO) shows central doorway in ground floor of bay. RCHM Typescript suggests towers original but crow-stepped gables and possibly top storey of towers added c.1787. N wall has a massive ashlar chimney topped by 4 round shafts treated like columns with bulbous bases, square abaci with stone knots under 4 corners, supporting a deep continuous stone entablature (locally called Jarman's Coffin). Stepped buttresses on N. E wall has mullioned and transomed 3-light windows probably c.1684. The hall occupies the whole ground floor of N block with 2 chamfered crossbeams and no indication of an original partition. Splendid carved stone chimney piece central on N wall with 4-centred opening carved spandrels, strapwork rectangular surround, paired Corinthian columns sharing panelled dies, carrying a moulded entablature with inlaid running scroll in frieze. Overmantle with carved figures inset in projecting end piers under enriched cornice with royal arms and ER painted central between scenes with Elizabethan figures female on RH and male on LH said to depict the arrest of Princess Elizabeth at Ashridge after Wyatt's rebellion 1553/4. Large painted timber panel painted with scene of this arrest hangs framed on wall, said to be a door found in cellar in 1890's. Arched openings as screen at S end of room may have replaced the normal buttery and pantry arrangement c.1684. Wainscotting probably from Old Ashridge. Solar on 1st floor has simpler chimneypiece. Remains of former clasped purlin roof over 1st floor remain above S wall. Timber framed SE 1½ storeys block altered and encased in C19 with N wall chimney of 2 diagonal shafts, and parallel brick extension with small 2-light windows and moulded parapet. Large central chimneys. C19 extension to SE. (VCH(1908)11-13: RCHM(1911)143-4 no.4: Pevsner(1977)237: RCHM Typescript: senar(1983)99-100).

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