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List Entry Summary

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


List entry Number: 1135967



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


District: Wokingham

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Arborfield and Newland

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 14-Oct-1986

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Apr-1987

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 41413

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

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

Reasons for Designation

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


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


SU 76 NE ARBORFIELD AND NEWLAND BEARWOOD ROAD (south west side) 9/10 Bearwood College (Royal Navy Merchant School) 14.10.16 and terraces to south

G.V. II*

Large country house in parkland with lakes, now Bearwood College, the Royal Merchant Navy School. 1865-74 by Robert Kerr in the Jacobean style with an admixture of French motifs, for John Walter owner of The Times newspaper. Red brick with Mansfield stone dressings, tiled roofs with coped and cross gables of varying heights, with towers and turrets on north and south fronts: The principal part of the building is rectangular with inner atrium on first and second floors over and lighting a former picture gallery; L-shape service wing to east of .this with large kitchen court on north. Part 2 storeys with attics, part 3 storeys with attics and cellars. Stone plinths, moulded stone strings at all floor levels, moulded cornice and open balustraded parapet over bay windows and part of north front at roof level. Many gable ended dormers mostly irregularly spaced. Some large chimneys remain but many originals have gone. Irregular fenestration of mullion and transome windows and sashes, all without glazing bars. Entrance front: right hand end is symmetrical with a central tower and a gable on either side. Projecting in front of the tower is a deep port -coch~e with banded pillars, moulded cornice and open balustrade. The left hand gable is cut into by a second and much larger staircase tower topped by a palisade of pinnacles; the window arrangement expresses the rising staircase. The right gable has a square projecting 4-light bay over 2 floors with an open balustrade similar to that over the port-cochere and other projecting parts of this section. To the left all is irregular but for a one bay projecting gable with a 3-light window on 3 floors and a 2-1ight window in attic gable; to the left of this and in the angle between the main facade and the service wing projecting on the north is a round turret 2 floors high with a conical lead roof, the window arrangement again expressing the rising stairs. West front of north win~: much plainer with, on the left, a 3-stage tower with ogee lead roof and finial, 2 and 3-light window. To the right of this 7 bays recessed up to stair turret, and 3 dormers in roof. South front: Similar style with the left half symmetrical with 3 shaped gables with decorated relief terra-cotta between 2 turrets with ogee roof. 2 two- storey segmental bays either side of central garden porch with ornate stone tracery and 2 carved angels. To the right of this section, all irregular with one bay recessed with ornate iron balcony at first floor and open balustrade at second floor. Further to the right is a 3 bay projecting stair tower; beyond this an 8 bay recessed portion with large bay on ground floor, a central gable with 2 dormers on either side, then a small hexagonal tower adjoining a large tall water tower in 5 stages with the top stage formed in diaper brickwork with stone banded pilasters, 3 in each corner, a heavily denti1led and moulded cornice with open balustrade and 3 grouped pinnacles in each corner. Beyond this front is a gravelled terrace with a swept flight of stone steps leading to a lower similar terrace with solid ~tone balustrades with a carved rose motif, plain stone handrails and dies. Red brick retaining wall between terraces with darker brick banding, brick buttresses and stone b~uatrade matching that to steps. Interior: vestibule with decorative inlaid ceramic floor, panelled dado and benches, wood denti11ed cornice with rosettes to coffered wood ceiling; heavily moulded door architraves. Entrance lobby:- similar dado, on left a panelled wood screen with 4 semi-circular arched openings and a pair of panelled doors with stained glass opening on to hall. Hall: -similar dado, cornice and ceiling, carved pilasters each side of window reveals and similar design for window mullions. Wood floor with inlaid contrasting wood borders in interwoven semi-circular pattern. 2 walls covered with Spanish leather with interwoven floral motifs above dado height. 3 semi-circular arched recesses and similar arched opening on right on far side with pair of half glazed panelled doors open to staircase hall. Staircase hall: with panelled", dado and floor as previously. Large and elaborate open well staircase rising ~ through 4 flights to first floor, 3 flights to second floor with semi-circular - arched screens with small-pane glazed doors either side of semi-circular niche on each landing. Grand staircase with carved strings, tapered and panelled balusters, heavy moulded handrail with broomstick rail over on turned brass supports; large mgulded and panelled newels with pineapple tops. Over top of staircase an"elaborate cornice coved at top to support a gallery with decorative wrought iron balustrade, deeply coffered painting ceiling and stained glass slit windows in groups of 5 on each side with single lights at corners. All windows have raised panelling in reveals and stained glass on first 2 flights. Library: large rectangular room divided by a pair of large sliding doors, moulded and panelled with very fine inlaid marquet~1 that on the side of the former music room depicting musical instruments. Panelled dado and wood floor as before. Moulded panelling and pilasters with Corinthian heads to return faces of large bay windows. Large fireplaces in both parts of room with heavily carved and moulded tapered columns in pairs supporting an ornately carved overmantel; panelled and gilded chimney piece with large mirror in centre, but mirror missing in music room. Elaborate moulded cornice to ornate coffered ceiling with small rosettes at intersections. Picture gallery: similar wood floor and panelled dado, and moulded architraves to panelled doors. Heavily moulded and dentilled frieze with ribbed coved ceiling with moulded cornice supporting a large opaque glazed skylight with painted motifs in glass rectangles at intersections. Carved marble fireplaces at each end. The clay for the bricks was dug on the estate and the joinery was made in workshops on the estate. The plans of the house appeared in Robert Kerr' s book entitled The Ehglish Gentlemans House, published in 1864. B.O.E. (Berks) p.79 with floor plans of the house.

Listing NGR: SU7770569052

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Kerr, R, The English Gentleman's House, (1864)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Berkshire, (1966), 79
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 3 Berkshire,

National Grid Reference: SU 77705 69052


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End of official listing