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Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of MELBURY HOUSE
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Dorset (District Authority)
Melbury Sampford
National Grid Reference:
ST 57647 05989


MELBURY SAMPFORD ST 50 NE MELBURY HOUSE 2/119 Melbury House 4.12.51 GV I Country House in parkland. c.1530 quadrangular house with Prospect Tower built for Giles Strangways, by Ham Hill school of masons. c.1692 rebuilding of east facade of house, and remodelling of north and south facades between the C16 gable-ends, building of inner corridors in courtyard by Mr Watson for Sir Thomas Strangways. Large rectangular courtyard to north of house has only its west range surviving. 1872, orangery removed on south side; Library and connecting link to mansion built by Salvin for 5th Earl of Ilchester. 1884-5 great enlargement of house to west, with extensive service range servants' courtyard and visitor accommodation in south-west tower by G Devey. Late C20 restoration under Bertram and Fell. Rubble-stone walls with Ham Hill ashlar facing, C16. Late C17 walls are of brick, faced with Ham Hill ashlar, cramped to it, and with Portland stone dressings. Later extensions: Ham stone ashlar walls. Roofs are mainly of Welsh slate, with lead sheeting across flat tops. Stacks: C16 hexagonal stone stack with zig-zag banding and moulded cornice, reduced, immediately north-east of prospect tower. Late C17 tall stacks, regularly positioned on N.E. and S. roofs; square of Ham stone with a fielded panel to each face and rusticated Portland stone quoins, and framing; dentil cornice and a chamfered top stone. Plan: C16 courtyard house, with hexagonal outlook tower over centre of west range, and short C16 range, projecting to west. Extensively altered and enlarged in C17, C18 and C19. C16 entrance front debateable. C17 entrance on east front. Late C19 entrance hall, a rebuild by Devey W. of the mansion; present entrance on main north front. North elevation of mansion: 2 1/2 storeys, 9 bays, the outer 2 at each end under the C16 gables with half-octagonal buttressing and barley-sugar finials, cornices and bell-tops. 5 central bays, rusticated Ham stone, with Portland stone pedestals, strings, Ionic pilasters, and Corinthian pilasters over. Segmental pediment to centre bay with dentil cornice and stone cartouches. Balustraded stone parapet: Sash-windows with thick glazing-bars to 5 centre bays and with thin glazing-bars in the end gables. 5 pedimented dormers at centre with sash-windows. Central entrance has an oval window with foliate stone surround, 2-leaf panelled-and-glazed door. East elevation: 2 1/2 storeys, 11 bays. Rusticated Portland quoins. Central 5 bays rusticated, and 3 bays divided by Portland half-columns. Roman Doric and Corinthian over. Pediment over with stone cartouche. Parapet as above. Sashes have Portland stone cills and keystones. 2-leaf door, flush-panelled and glazed with stone cartouche over. South elevation: similar detailing to that of north elevation. Early C16 west range: with gabling and buttressing details of C16, stack position on S. face with coupled hexagonal stacks. 2 1/2 storeys. Continuous string, returned round buttress and over window. 4-light stone mullions, transomed and without transoms. Prospect Tower, square foundation, becoming hexagonal in top stage via stone squinches, octagonal buttressing and finials, castellated parapet and higher hexagonal stair-turret castellated on north-west, 6-light stone mullions with depressed-arch heads in a square framing, transomed and with bowtell-moulds. Restored C20. Link-passage to library at south-west corner, 1872, by Salvin. Single storey. Two windows, each of four 3-centred lights, string and flat stone parapet. Pointed-arch entrance at left ground, plank door, C19. Library, by Salvin, one large storey and gabled roof. 3 windows, canted bays at left and right ground, with 4-light mullion-and- transom windows with elliptical arches, and 4-light window at centre. Parapet has openwork trefoils and castellated parapet over. Service-accommodation and visitor accommodation by Devey. Tower at south-west corner of house: 4 storeys, windows with canted bays and straight bays, windows with 4 mullioned-and- transomed lights, iron casements without lead lights. Half-octagonal stair- turret at N.E. angle, with 2-light elliptical-headed windows, with labels. Joining range to right of this, one storey, three windows with transomed mullions and separate returned labels over, castellated parapet gabled at centre. Service range returns to north. Servants' coach yard, immediately north-west of mansion, by Devey, using'Tudor' motifs. Kitchen in the south range with a big canted bay, armorial and shield-of-arms with motto, Faire Sans Dire. Accommodation in west range: 2 1/2 storeys, 7 windows, same design of transomed elliptical-arched stone mullions, with separate labels over. One storey on north side abutting the stables, 2 storeys on the east side (now Butler's flat). Entrance with depressed- arch head at left ground. Carriage-entrance with wide 4-centred archways, and fleurons in the hollows. Rib-vaulted roof, carried on stone corbels and bossed. C19 entrance to house, has a depressed-arch doorway with carved spandrels. Label stopped over. 2-leaf door, panelled in C17 style, C19. Interior of the mansion: for a summary of internal features, see RCHM, Dorset I, pp.166-7. Interior of C19 extensions: Salvin's library has an arch-braced hammer-beam roof, carried on stone corbels with painted shields, bays, irregularly spaced. Two fireplaces in 16 style on back wall. Devey's Entrance Hall, converted from C17 kitchen, and subsequently converted to Billiard Room, fully-panelled with square recess panelling. Cambered wood roof, a pastiche of C17 style with hammer-trusses and independent finials, carried on heraldic stone corbels. C19 (Devey) kitchens and stores features survive. (RCHM. Dorset I, p.164 ff.(2))

Listing NGR: ST5763405986


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Inventory of Dorset, (1952), 164


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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