Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. 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 - 1307766.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 04-Dec-2021 at 20:06:55.


Statutory Address:

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

North Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 18213 24826



9/110 Princess Helena College, Temple 9.6.52 Dinsley, with terraces, steps, walls, railings, gates, pergolas, and garden buildings (formerly listed as Temple Dinsley)


Manor house, now Princess Helena College for girls, with terraces, steps, walls, railings, gates, pergolas, and garden buildings. '1714' on front rainwater heads, for Benedict Ithell of Chelsea who bought manor 1712, altered and enlarged 1908-9 for H.G. Fenwick ('1909' on rainwater heads) by E.L. Lutyens, and further extended to E by him for Fenwick 1911 (the Arches). Alterations internally and roofs of cross-wings jacked-up 4ft for headroom for dormitories in 1935 by Felix J. Lander for Princess Helena College. Subsequent alterations and extensions for college. Lutyens incorporated the C18 tall 2-storeys stable block to E of main house as a raquets court, subsequently altered to domestic accommodation. Gardens by Gertrude Jekyll 1909-12. Red brick with lighter red dressings, some stone dressings. Older house in Flemish-bond, Lutyens work in English-bond. Steep pitched old red tile roofs, 2 parallel half-hipped roofs over older parts, hipped roofs to Lutyens work. Wrought iron railings and gates to forecourt. York stone paving to terraces and steps and landings of garden staircases and pergolas. The early C18 central part is a double-pile, 2-storeys cellar and attics house facing S, with central-entrance, end-chimneys plan. Symmetrical, 7 windows wide, S front, with corner pilasters in header-bond with stone cap and urn above parapet level. Similar pilasters flank central door bay. 3 flat-topped dormers. Flush-box sash windows with 6/6 panes (sashes renewed by Lutyens replacing 2/2 panes Victorian sashes), with segmental heads below deep segmental light red gauged arches with stepped Portland stone keystones, the taller central stone fluted. Rainwater head near each end has an heraldic badge in the form of a rising bird with date '1714'. Stone moulded doorcase with entablature and segmental pediment renewed by Lutyens to former pattern (original similar doorcase on N front). Old 8-panelled door. N front similar with urns on corner pilaster, pilaster flanking 8-panel central door with segmental pedimented doorcase, and 7 upper windows. Those to right of centre have 2 very deep stair windows. Large red brick mid C18 canted bay to left of door with flat gauged arches to sash windows, and reserved canted sides. Lutyens added a long 2-storeys wing symmetrically on each side linked by a recessed 2-storeys and attic link with prominent dutch gable to N and S. The form of the gables is a reference to similar gables to the crosswings of the C17 brick house formerly on this site shown in Drapentier's engraving of c.1700. The link has a large semi-circular window with keystone and triple-sash above 2 segmental tall sash windows, with 3 windows to ground floor on E link but 2 on W link. The height of the wing parapets range with that of the main house and they each have corner pilasters with stone caps and urns to S and N fronts, with 2 storeys and 2 windows wide. Steeper Lutyens hipped roofs have chamfered angles and have been jacked above parapet level, the new elevation tilehung, and dormers inserted over windows below c.1935. The site slopes steeply down to E and Lutyens built a kitchen wing at lower level there with 5 flat topped sash dormer windows. In 1911 he built a nursery extension to E of this with stone arcaded ground floor, Tuscan stone columns within and 3 bays pilastered S elevation with very steep tile roof. This links to the tall 2-storeys C18 former stable block with plinth, plat-band and steep hipped roof adapted by Lutyens and altered to 3-storeys domestic accommodation since. Elaborate W elevation of W wing, 11 windows long, introduces a moulded stone cornice at eaves level, recesses in parapet over windows, and pilasters with stone bases and caps marking where a 2-windows section breaks forward one bay in from the corners. Recess with segmental base and head in place of 1st floor window in end bay. Stone central frontispiece with wrought iron balcony to pilastered and segmental French doors over moulded hood to glazed doors with bolection moulded stone surround. Narrow window on each side of door and above. Windows flush-box Sashes with 6/6 panes, segmental heads and segmental arches with fluted keystones, plain on 1st floor, stepped on ground floor. Wall extending to W links to twin garden houses linked by a Tuscan loggia, facing S. Wooden entablature has guttae to corona to emphasise the 2 rusticated pilasters to each hip-roofed single-storey garden house. 2 pairs of Portland stone Tuscan columns and engaged square stone pier at nearer corner of each house. Jekyll rose garden on W front and garden walls and revetment walls with flights of steps extend westward defining terraced gardens and an upper pool to SW of W wing. Flight of steps and landings alternately convex and concave on plan descends northwards into hedged garden at'NIl. Upper terrace links wings on N front with pierced balustrade of brick rusticated dies and curved tile infill. Steps descend to right and left to second terrace level at which a circular stone pool with lead statue is half recessed in a hemicycle tiled vault central under the upper terrace, revetted terraces run northward at a higher level, from the upper terrace to a grand terrace along the N front which has 3 flights of steps descending to a sunken garden, the middle flight on axis of old house, the others on axes of wings having divided lower flights to W and superimposed pergolas of oak cambered beams and circular and square special brick piers. E pergola continues across E side of sunk garden and over the steps in the revetted terrace on the N side of the garden with another flight of steps further W on axis of old house. N terrace extends to E and has a gazebo corbelled out from its battered SE corner. This is a formal square single-storey pyramid roofed building with entrance by 3-panels fielded door on W flanked by narrow windows, flush box sash windows central on S and E with 6/6 panes. 3 stone steps to door. Panelled interior with fielded panelling all in plaster. Chequered brick and tile floor. Brick-walled forecourt to C18 house retained with its moulded brick capping to side-walls, corner piers, outswept iron railings on top of dwarf wall with scrolled standards at intervals, and double gates with scrolled standards, overthrow and cresting with repouse ornament. Lutyens linked side walls to ends of 2 new wings by dwarf walls, square piers with moulded stone cap and railings interrupted by a wrought iron gate with scrolled standards on top of dwarf wall and elaborate scrolled overthrow with repous6 ornament similar to C18 original. Set in wall of kitchen court is sandstone plaque brought from former premises of Princess Helena College in Ealing dated 1881. Pine panelled interior to older house with wide cut string stair with carved tread ends and 3 balusters to each step, one fluted and 2 barley-sugar twisted. Heavy stock-lock to front door. Case-locks and 6-panel fielded doors. Lutyens interiors in W wing with central octagonal Garden Hall with C18 corner cupboard at NE with hemicycle top, shaped shelves and painted cove and keystone. Copy at SE. Former birdcages in outer angles. Fluted pilasters and dentilled entablature to panelled Smoking Room at N. Panelled Drawing Room at S with red marble bolection moulded fireplace and china cupboards between windows. The 1714 house replaced the house of the Sadleir family, owners since the Dissolution. Before this the manor was the property of the Knights Templars C13-C14 and then of the Knights Hospitallers with a small religious community here. Benedict Ithell, Deputy Treasurer to Chelsea Hospital is said to have paid for the manor in 1712. The contractors for Lutyens work in 1908-9 were Norman and Burt of Burgess Hill, Sussex. (RCHM (1911)165: VCH (1912)10: Laurence Weaver Houses and Gardens by E L Lutyens Country Life, 1913, chapter 16: Pevsner (1977)359: Lutyens Exhib Cat (1981)123, 194).

Listing NGR: TL1821324826


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 359
Weaver, L, Houses and Gardens by EL Lutyens, (1981)
'Arts Council of Great Britain Catalogue' in The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 1889-1944, (1981), 123, 194
'Country Life' in Country Life, (1913)
Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Hertfordshire, (1910)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 21 Hertfordshire,


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: 31 May 2007
Reference: IOE01/16598/26
Rights: © Mr A. Gude. 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].