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©  John Boothroyd ARPS

IoE Number: 483588
Location: THE CEDARS, 15 THE LIBERTY (north side)
Photographer: John Boothroyd ARPS
Date Photographed: 23 April 2001
Date listed: 12 November 1953
Date of last amendment: 12 November 1953
Grade II*

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

WELLS ST5446 THE LIBERTY 662-1/6/305 (North side) 12/11/53 No.15 The Cedars GV II* Former house, now part of Wells Cathedral School. c1758, for Charles Tudway; extensions at each end, and c1860 a conservatory to the left; a deep wing to the rear of late C20. Doulting ashlar stonework, Welsh slate roof between coped gables, behind parapet, ashlar chimney stacks. PLAN: a symmetrical deep double-depth plan, formerly entered from the Liberty, now from the rear (N side). The wide central salon or entrance hall backed by the lateral top-lit staircase with an entrance lobby offset to the W is flanked by secondary rooms with a further large salon to the W of the staircase; later wings, slightly set back, are attached at each end, with a connection from the left-hand room to the former orangery. The long C20 rear wing is a dining room and kitchen. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, with basement and attics, 7 bays, of which the 3 centre bays are recessed slightly, and single-bay set-back extensions each end in simplified detail, but containing C18 plasterwork. Plinth, cornice, balustraded parapet. Large sash windows with thick glazing bars in moulded stone architraves, 12-pane to ground floor and 9-pane above. Central entrance, on 4 steps, with a pair of part-glazed doors in a stone surround having unfluted Ionic attached columns, full entablature and pediment. Segmental-arched basement windows in plinth, attic windows have hipped-roofed dormers with sash windows, being largely hidden by parapets. Side extensions rendered, with plain parapets, and hipped lean-to roofs, 9-pane sash windows in plain architraves. On the west side, an 1866 single-storey extension linked by a high wall crowned with balustrading, possibly intended as an orangery; ashlar, sheet metal roof between copings, behind parapets, four bays, with C20 glazing, frieze and cornice over, and with richly carved stone urns in centre and on front corners. The return to College Road includes a first floor canted oriel above a 12-pane sash, a glazed door on 2 stone steps, with a Gibbs surround including a prominent triple keystone, and further sashes; to the right, the lower wing has 2 wide-spaced segmental-headed sashes above 2 oculi with radial bars, all in plain stone architraves. Beyond this the late C20 extension in rubble with sheet metal low-pitched roof. The rear of the main range is in 5 bays, with hipped dormers behind the balustrade, and 9-pane above 12-pane sashes below, with central doorway. Slightly set back to the left are 2 bays with 12-pane sashes above an extension, and to the right, set back, with balustrade, one bay with a 9-pane sash over a wide arched opening with idiosyncratic voussoirs, to a glazed door on stone steps, with side lights under a 2-stage fanlight with radial bars; to its right a single storey bay, with balustrade above a similar wide arched opening, but with 6-pane light contained in a series of small circular panes. To these 2 bays is a moulded string at the arch springing level. INTERIOR: the suite of rooms to the ground floor has very fine rococo plasterwork by Thomas Stocking. The former entrance hall has a lofty central white marble fireplace with eared architrave and central apron panel with swags and mantelshelf on consoles. Above is a circular panel with raised plaster figures of Aeneas and Anchises, flanked by slender dropped swags with further figures, and a series of panels with delicate raised mouldings, plus oval panels with musical instruments and other devices. There are four panelled doors in architraves and panelled linings and the windows, with panelled shutters, have eared architraves swept at the feet. The large rear room, the headmaster's study, is a double-square with a plastered ceiling with central sunburst, good wall panels, and a C19 white marble fireplace. The room to the right of the central hall has a modillion cornice, and large panels, including window shutters and linings, with ovolo-mould framing, a moulded dado rail, and a C19 white marble fireplace with Jacobean overmantel with coat of arms and the motto 'Thinke and Thanke'. The door to the central salon has a pulvinated frieze. The room to the left is square, with a rococo ceiling with 4 goddesses and intertwined decoration, an enriched modillion cornice, and two 6-panel doors with enriched fielded panels, eared architraves, and modillion cornices; a further door in a very deep lining opens to the added conservatory. The long lateral stair with winders at the foot has a moulded and swept handrail with 2 turned-on- square balusters per tread, under an octagonal rooflight set to a deep cove with rich plaster embellishment, and a modillion cornice with rosettes. The walls have large panels with cable-mould surrounds. The lobby and ante-room includes arched openings on fluted pilasters, and with keystones; a quadripartite plaster groin vault has decorative corner brackets. There is a deep plain niche to the W, and a Minton tile floor. To the E of the main stair is a large secondary staircase, a dog-leg with solid string, turned-on-square balusters, Doric newels, and a moulded handrail, all painted. The main first-floor landing has arched openings in 3 directions on Doric pilasters. This floor has many original panelled doors; the front centre room includes a rococo frieze to the fireplace, and the end room to the E has an C18 fireplace in eared architrave. One door at the W end of the corridor has diagonal panels, and an open pediment. The attic is plain, but all doors are original fielded 8-panel. There is an extensive basement with a series of groined vaults on square piers with impost, on a slate floor; a spiral stone staircase in the NW corner was removed c1980. HISTORICAL NOTE: a paved forecourt fronts The Liberty, with an enclosing kerb, formerly with railings and gates; the paving is in setts, with stone flag surround and central path. The house stands on the site of the former College of Montroy, a house of Chantry Priests, 1430, abandoned in the C16. Charles Tudway bought the land with the remains of the Chantry in 1761, although building was already under way, and subsequently extended the site with other purchases, including land to the S where the cedar trees were planted. The building is entirely of the C18 or later, and the finest of its period in the city. (Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 328; Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-: 53-; Town and Country Planning Working Papers: Scrase AJ: Wells: A Study of Town Origins: Bristol: 1982-: 30).

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