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© Mr Ben White

IoE Number: 253837
Photographer: Mr Ben White
Date Photographed: 21 April 2003
Date listed: 12 September 1955
Date of last amendment: 12 September 1955
Grade I

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KELMSCOTTSU29NE5/85Kelmscott Manor12.9.55GVI

KELMSCOTT SU29NE 5/85 Kelmscott Manor 12.9.55 GV I Shown on O.S. map as Manor House. Manor house. Circa 1570 for Richard Turner, extended c.1670 probably for Thomas Turner; late C18 and C19 additions and alterations; between 1871 and 1896 it was the home of William Morris. Uncoursed limestone rubble with alternating angle quoins; stone slate roofs with moulded coped verges, parapet and ball finials to gables. Original house a U-plan with main range of 3-unit through-passage type and gabled ranges projecting to rear; extended at right-angles to east on north in late C17. 2 storeys and attics. East (entrance) front. 3 bays; mullion windows with dripstones, of 4 lights to ground floor, 3 lights to first floor except centre of 2 lights and of 2 lights to prominent gabled full dormers to left and right. Central entrance (through passage) has stable door under C19 slate-hung gabled trellised porch. Lead water spouts to eaves. Prominent external end stack to left has 2 detached diagonal shafts with moulded capping and rectangular windows to left; similar ridge stack to right with 3 detached shafts. Projecting T-shaped range to north-east has classical symmetry and apparently intentional entasis, twin-gabled to east and south sides. These have a 4-light mullioned and transomed window to ground floor, a 3-light window to first floor, both with dripstones and rectangular windows with eared architraves and pediments to prominent gabled half-dormers. Projecting gable to north has narrow rectangular window to ground floor, a 3-light mullioned and transomed window with dripstone to first floor and a 2-light mullion window to top, latter 2 with dripstones. Valley stack with 2 detached diagonal shafts. To right is north gable end of c16 house with mullioned window to each floor and outline with mullioned window to each floor and outline of original east wall visible to left; C17 pedimented window to left on first floor. Attached to right corner of gable end or C16 house is gabled porch dated "1966" with contemporary lean-to to right and reused moulded wood door surround. Immediately above lean-to is 3-light mullion window with right label-stop cut by full-height C17 gabled addition; 2-light mullion windows to ground and second floors and one of 3 lights to first floor, all with dripstones. Prominent external lateral stack to right has 2 attached diagonal shafts with dripstone and moulded capping. West front: has projecting gables to left and right, left longer and flush gable to centre. All have 2-, 3- and 4-light mullion windows with dripstones to attic, first floor and ground floor respectively, except for right gable which has half-glazed stable door in earlier surround with rectangular chamfered window to right on ground floor. Further mullioned windows to returns of projecting gables, that on first floor of right gable infilled. 2-light mullion window directly below eaves to right of centre gable has chamfered doorway (through passage) beneath with moulded surround and stable door. Bracketed wooden gutters to eaves to this and north side. As on other sides the mullion windows have a mixture of leaded and cast-iron casements. Late C18 or early C19 service range attached at oblique angle to south-west corner of south projecting wing has open-lean to to north supported on wood posts with pad-stones, continued round to west side of projecting wing. Service range itself has, from left to right, a half-glazed stable door, a boarded door, 2-light wooden mullion window, boarded door, a rectangular chamfered window with leaded casement and a boarded door (latter to right of lean-to which stops before end of range). Ashlar ridge stack with moulded dripstone and capping to left and red brick ridge stack to right. Interior. Screens-passage has plank and muntin partition with cross rail to either side and 4-panel doors opening into rooms to left and right. Right is the 'old hall'. Chamfered spine beam with stepped ogee stops and stone fireplace with moulded Tudor arch. C18 corner cupboard to right with carved moulded shelves, panelled doors to bottom and dentilled cornice. Room to right of this ("north or garden hall") has a chamfered spine beam on same line as that in previous room and a reassembled C17 oak partition (formerly glazed) with another spine beam above. Blocked window to former front wall. Circa 1670 addition ("panelled room") has C18 white-painted raised and fielded panelling with moulded cornice and pilastered overmantel to c.1670 moulded stone fireplace with festooned garlands and Turner family coat-of-arms to centre. Blue and white ceramic tiles to splays of fireplace are probably by Charles Marks of London. Wood-block floor, continued to closet to north, which has display-shelving with fluted colonettes designed by Philip Webb. To left of screens-passage is "the old kitchen": chamfered spine beam with stepped ogee stops and inglenook fireplace with damaged lintel; oak winder staircase behind door to right. Chamfered spine beam to south gabled range ("new kitchen"). North gabled range ("green room") has stone fireplace with eared architrave, moulded decoration and Turner family coat-of-arms to centre; blue and white ceramic tiles inside are by Morris and Webb. Chamfered spine beam with stepped stops. Panelled shutters to rear window. Panelled window shutters also to several other ground- and first floor rooms. Apart from the "panelled room" and the "green room" (floor boards) all ground-floor rooms have stone-flag floors installed by Morris. Dog-leg staircase (c.1570) to right of "green room" is approached through round-headed wooden arch with dentilled band and carved pendant like those on staircase; crudely turned balusters to closed string with square newels, carved finials and pendants; moulded ramped wall string. At head of staircase is a massive plank door with fleur-de-lys pointed strap hinges. Over "green room" is "firs. Morris's bedroom", approached through plank and muntin door. Chamfered cross beam ceiling with main bean running along axis of gable; stone fireplace with Tudor arch. Wide floor boards in this and all first-floor and attic rooms renewed or inserted c.1964. "Morris's bedroom" to right of staircase to attic "see below) has Tudor-arched stone fireplace with inserted C19 Gothic-style cast-iron grate. Chamfered spine bean with stops and massive door, panelled to one side and of plant-construction to other. Straight flight of 4 wooden steps leads up to "tapestry room" in c.1670 addition. This has fireplace, including tiles by Marks, similar to one in "panelled room" below but narrower without festooned garlands, although it has the same floral motifs to sides. Turner family armorial crest (1663), different to one in room below, to centre. Has fluted pilasters to overmantel and wood cornice like room below but has battens only for wall panelling. Suggesting that this was never completed and that the room has always been tapestry-hung. C18 panelled door. Room over "old hall" has art nouveau cast-iron fireplace of c.1890 said to be designed by Crosswaites of Thornaby-on-Tees and chamfered cross-beam ceiling with inserted cross wall, separating it from present bathroom. Room over "old kitchen" has another art nouveau fireplace and a chamfered cross-beam ceiling with straight-cut stops; similar ceiling to room over "new kitchen". Attic, reached from steep straight-flight staircase (1964) to right of main staircase, has double-purl in collar truss roof with carved decoration to collars in 4 bays to main range and similar roofs to rear projecting gables; original rafters. C17 addition to north-east has contemporary short straight-flight staircase up to each gable with turned balusters to open string, moulded handrail and square chamfered newels with later finials. Several C17 plank doors and plain window shutters. Infilled Tudor-arched fireplace to south end of main range has oak winder staircase down to first floor to right. Service range has brewhouse in second room from west. This has large open fireplace with bread oven to left and integral semi-circular chimney above (curved back visible in room to west). Circular copper sinks with furnaces below to either side. Room also has a stone sink and a lead water-pump. Stone-flag floor and double-purl in collar and tie beam roof, extending in 5 bays to whole range. The house was the rented home of William Morris, the celebrated writer, socialist and manufacturer, from 1871 until his death in 1896. It contains furniture and textiles, much of it designed by Morris and his associates but mostly brought in from elsewhere during C20. (Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, p666; A.R. Dufty,pers.comm. and Kelmscott, An Illustrated Guide (London, The Society of Antiquaries, 1984)) [2380]

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