Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of REMAINS OF OLD FONTHILL ABBEY
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1146090 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 16-Oct-2019 at 13:17:03.


Statutory Address:

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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Fonthill Gifford
National Grid Reference:
ST 91822 30997



1/86 Remains of Old Fonthill Abbey 6.1.66


Remains of Gothic country house fantasy. 1796-c1818 by James Wyatt for William Beckford, altered in 1840s. Limestone ashlar, Welsh slate roof. All that remains of the vast cruciform building is a fragment of the north wing; the tower fell 1825 and the three other wings were demolished c1845 during building works for the Marquess of Westminster's Fonthill Abbey by Burn. Now consists of the Lancaster tower with short 2-storey wing attached to the north, 4-storey tower has angle buttresses, west side has two lancets to ground floor, 3-light Perpendicular-style window with hoodmould to first floor, oriel window with heraldic shields below and casements to second floor, third floor has blocked mullioned window with hoodmould, battlemented parapet to pitched roof. Two-storey range to left has three small lancets to ground floor and three large pointed lancets with hoodmoulds to first floor, battlemented parapet with corner pinnacles. Left return has angular 2-storey bay with Tudor-arched window and lancets with tracery, some blind, buttresses with offsets and battlemented parapet, rear of this range has lancets and Tudor-arched doorway. Right return of tower has 2-light Perpendicular window with wooden tracery inserted in wall blocked off following demolition of formerly attached range. To rear of tower is square stair turret with chamfered loopholes, rear of tower has two Tudor-arched windows with casements and blind lancet with hoodmould over. Attached to rear of 2-storey range is single-storey cloister range rebuilt in this position. after demolition of rest of Abbey; 5 bays of chamfered Tudor-arched openings with flat roof to right of range with 3-light and 2-light mullioned casements, planked door with hoodmoulds, and double- gabled roof with parapet and crocketed pinnacles, right part ends with octagonal turret with open cupola on shafts with octagonal pointed roof with finial. Interior partly inaccessible at time of survey (December 1985) but ground floor retains Tudor-arched openings and fireplace, possibly reset. The first floor of the tower and short range to north was occupied by the Vaulted Corridor, the Oratory and the Sanctuary with bedrooms in the two floors above, including the state bedroom; no original fittings survive. Service quarters on ground floor. Fonthill Abbey approached from the west via a wooded avenue, half a mile long and set in woodland, partly planted by Beckford, and enclosed by a wall in 1793. Important as only tangible remnant of an extraordinary house. (J. Lees-Milne, William Beckford, 1976; B. Alexander in Country Life 1st December 1966)

Listing NGR: ST9182230997


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 46 Wiltshire,


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 01 Feb 2003
Reference: IOE01/09437/26
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Anne Thomas. Source Historic England Archive
Archive image, may not represent current condition of site.
To view this image please use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge.

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].