Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: I

List Entry Number: 1129053

Date first listed: 24-Apr-1973



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

District: North Somerset (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wraxall and Failand

National Grid Reference: ST 50646 71505


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.





Large country house. Built 1813 for John Seymour. Extensively remodelled 1863-66 by John Norton for William Gibbs; altered 1885-89 by Henry Woodyer; chapel, 1873-75 by Arthur Blomfield, further alterations c. 1890. Ashlar; Cotswold stone slate, plain tiled and lead roofs; ashlar octagonal stacks on tall bases. Irregular and asymmetrical in the High Victorian Gothic Revival style. The south elevation is an asymmetrical but balanced composition with the core of the older house as a 3 bay central section of 3 storeys. The centre is advanced and has a 3 storey canted bay of 1:4:1 light cross windows with cusped heads, bands of quatrefoils above; thin octagonal corner turrets; panelled parapet with a tall, central 2-light attic window; steeply pitched, pyramidal lead roof with ornamental cresting; flanking clustered stacks. The outer bays of the centre terminate in gables with finials: 4-light cross windows under square hoodmoulds; to the right is a tourelle supported on a buttress and terminating in a conical lead roof; the left bay has a thin octagonal turret and one bay of a veranda of c.1885. The veranda extends, for 3 large 4-centred arches and 2 small pointed arches, in front of the single storey drawing room wing. This wing has an arcaded parapet, 3-light windows with cusped ogee heads and buttresses terminating in pinnacle. The arches of the veranda are supported on clustered granite columns; open arcading in the spandrels; double row of quatrefoils to the parapet. At the right [east] end the single storey library wing is of 3 bays with 3-light Perpendicular style windows under hoodmoulds; pierced quatrefoil parapet. The east elevation begins with the gable end of the library: canted bay of 2:4:2 lights, cusped tracery, and a pierced quatrefoil parapet with pinnacles. Central part is 3-storeys and attics in 4 gables with cusped lancet windows: three 2 storey bay windows of 1:3:1 light cross windows with cusped ogee heads and a pierced quatrefoil parapet (1885). At the left, adjoining the library wing, a corridor projects, ending in gabled porch with a moulded arch, under a dripmould and resting on squat granite columns on ashlar plinths; the tympanum bears a carved panel of arms and an inscription. To the north a double pitched servants' wing projects: 4 bays of 3-light Gothic style windows with an oriel to the second bay and a projecting square tower corbelled o,ut at the end. An archway from the rear of the servants' wing carries an enclosed bridge to the Chapel: ashlar on a coursed rubble base; plain tiled roof with a crested ridge and behind an open arcaded parapet with pinnacles. The details are in a Geommetrical style: three 2-light windows to the nave with trefoil heads; buttresses with off-sets between; gable transepts or side chapels project slightly and have smaller 2-light windows; 5 sided apse with a blank arcading on the lower part and 2-light windows with deeply cusped circles to the upper part; rose window to west gable; octagonal tower with a spire on an arcaded base to the south-west corner. INTERIOR retains a remarkable number of its original fixtures and fittings by Crace, Norton, Blomfield and Woodyer. The porch and entrance corridor have stone vaulted roofs, panelled doors and Minton tiled floors. The Library (1860's) has an arch-braced collar beam roof with windbraces; panelled walls and inscribed frieze; coloured marble Gothic fireplace with twisted columns and an ogee head. Dining Room (1880's): stone carved pointed-arched outer doorway (dated 1889); panelled ceiling and dado; parquet floor; pink polished granite fireplace in the 'muscular' Gothic style with a segmental head and carved wooden overmantel with inset mirror; 'lincrusta' wallpaper by Morris and Co; 4 octagonal granite piers. The Staircase Hall (1860's, remodelled 1880's): large open well stone staircase and galleries with decoration of fleurons and paterae; decorative wrought iron balustrading with twisted columns; large ashlar fireplace with quatrefoil parapet and pinnacles and inset statues; large open timber lantern to the roof; stencilled walls. Drawing Room: panelled and stencilled ceiling and elaborate carved frieze now covered in later wall paper, late-nineteenth century Venetian marble fireplace. Billiard Room; panelling including fitted seatsand scoreboard; heated billiard table carved by James Plunket; inglenook fireplace; elaborate timber roof. The smaller rooms also contain many important fittings: parquet floors; stencilled walls; panelling, fireplaces and doors, carved or moulded in a Gothic style. Chapel: Nave has quadripartite rib vaults, all stencilled, and blank arcading to the walls; the glass is very fine (designed by H.E. Wooldridge in the Nave) and made by Powell's; mosaic floors and walls of apse, by Salviati (designed by Wooldridge); fine decorative ironwork by Hart, Son, Pearce and Co. The bedrooms, service rooms and servants rooms all retain most of their original features including doors, doorcases, shutters, skirting boards and plaster ceilings. Many of the bedrooms retain their original early-nineteenth century 'Tudor' Gothic style decoration, especially their doorcases, doors and marble fireplaces. Most of the service rooms retain all their original fittings and cupboards; some with tiling. Service court to rear has various outbuildings including a dog or hound cage with iron bars. This important High Victorian country house survives remarkably well with almost all its original Victorian fittings. It also still retains much of its original hot-air heating and ventilation system. SOURCES. The Builder, 10.II.1866. Country Life, 17.V.1902. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England : North Somerset and Bristol, 1958. M. Girouard, The Victorian Country House, 1979).


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

Legacy System number: 33585

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Girouard, M, The Victorian Country House, (1971)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (1958)
'Country Life' in 17 May, (1902)
'The Builder' in 10 February, (1866)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic interest in England, Part 1 Avon,

End of official listing