Norman Chapel and boundary wall
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Norman Chapel, Broad Campden, Chipping Campden, GL55 6UR
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- Statutory Address:
- Norman Chapel, Broad Campden, Chipping Campden, GL55 6UR
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cotswold (District Authority)
- Chipping Campden
- National Grid Reference:
A house, incorporating a C11-C12 chapel and C14-C15 house, altered and extended circa 1905 by C R Ashbee for Sinhalese scholar Ananda Coomaraswamy; further extensions circa 1929.
Reasons for Designation
The Norman Chapel, a C12 chapel and C14-15 house converted and extended by C R Ashbee in 1905-7, and its boundary walls, are listed at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: the house incorporates the nave and north and south doorways of a C12 chapel, together with a house of circa 1400 and alterations of the same date to convert the chapel to a dwelling; * Architectural interest: the medieval house was sensitively extended and altered in his distinctive Arts and Crafts style by C R Ashbee, a nationally-important architect, designer and socialist thinker who brought the Arts and Crafts movement to Chipping Campden in the early years of the C20; * Design interest: for the remaining work of the Guild of Handicraft, largely designed by Ashbee, and the incorporation of fittings and decoration imported from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); * Historical association: with C R Ashbee, who lived in the house with his family from 1911 to 1919, and with Ananda Coomaraswamy, the Sinhalese historian and philosopher of Indian art, particularly art history and symbolism, and an early interpreter of Indian culture to the West, for whom Ashbee had created the house in 1905-7, and who lived there from 1906 to 1911; * Intactness: despite the addition of a new range in circa 1929, Ashbee's alterations and extension remain largely unaltered since 1919.
The history of the house known as the Norman Chapel goes back to circa 1130, when a chapel, a property of Tewkesbury Abbey, was erected on the site. There are some small indications in the doorways and quoins which indicate that some of the stonework might remain from the Saxon period. By the C14, only the nave, with chancel arch, and the north and south doors remained, and the building was extended by the addition at the west end of an L-shaped house, interpreted as a priest's house; at the same time, two windows with Perpendicular tracery were inserted in the first floor of the former chapel, which had been divided horizontally by the insertion of a timber ceiling. Samuel Rudder, in his New History of Gloucestershire (1779) records that by his time, the former chapel was in use as a barn; the messuage of land which had been owned by Tewkesbury Abbey was granted to a James Gunter and William Lewis after the Dissolution. The building remained in agricultural use, gradually decaying into a state of partial dereliction, until the early C20.
In 1902, the ground lease for the former chapel and medieval house was purchased by the architect, designer, craftsman, printer and writer, C R Ashbee, who had moved to nearby Chipping Campden. Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) was a prime mover of the Arts and Crafts movement on the principles of John Ruskin and William Morris. An early interest in Ruskin's work, driven in part by social concerns, together with an interest in art and real capability as a draughtsman, lead Ashbee, following his study of history at King's College, Cambridge, to train as an architect; by this time, he also possessed a determination to achieve some good in the world. In 1886, he became an articled pupil of Bodley and Garner, who were perhaps the leading firm of church architects of this period. He moved to Toynbee House, a recently-established settlement in Whitechapel, east London, where graduates of Oxford and Cambridge universities carried on their professional work whilst living among the poor and carrying out some social work for the benefit of their neighbours. Initially running a Ruskin reading class, Ashbee's experience sowed the seed of an idea for a workshop making furniture, metalwork and painted decorations, which could provide tuition in craft skills in the evenings. As a result, the Guild and School of Handicraft was opened in premises adjacent to Toynbee Hall in 1888. Ashbee was as much concerned with improving the lot of the urban poor and empowering them to take control of their own future as he was with the output of the Guild, but he was strongly motivated by an idealised sense of the value of craft work which derived from the work of Ruskin and William Morris, and chimed with the emerging arts and crafts movement.
The guild was successful, producing work largely designed by Ashbee but with strong creative input from the workers, and was run as a co-operative. In 1891, Ashbee moved the enterprise to Essex House, an early-C18 mansion in Mile End Road, where it continued to prosper. He continued his architectural work on his own account, most significantly building idiosyncratic houses in Cheyne Walk, the surviving two examples of which are listed at Grade II; the houses included one he designed as a home for himself, his mother and two unmarried sisters (now demolished). In 1894, scandalised by the demolition of an early C17 manor house in London, he set up the Committee for the Survey of the Memorials of Greater London, to guard against similar losses of historic buildings in the city. From the late 1890s, the survey worked with the then London County Council, and its work continues to the present in the research and publication of the Survey of London volumes. This interest in the conservation of historic buildings would lead to Ashbee's involvement in the early work of the National Trust, and the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings. In 1898, the Guild of Handicraft, which had grown prosperous, and expanded its range to include a wider range of metalworking and the creation of jewellery, took over the staff and presses of William Morris's Kelmscott Press, which had wound up the previous year, forming a new publishing company, the Essex House Press.
In 1902, he moved the Guild and School, together with the Essex House Press, to Chipping Campden, whose beauty and calm attracted him, in particular its wealth of traditional Cotswold buildings. Here he intended to create the sort of workshop paradise envisaged in the pastoral writing of William Morris and held as an ideal by the romantic socialists of whom Ashbee was an important proponent. Ashbee had married in 1898, and moved with his wife to the Cotswold town which would soon attract other proponents of Arts and Crafts work, including Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs. He soon discovered the ruined Norman chapel and its attached house in nearby Broad Campden, and, inspired by its potential, bought the ground lease; but lack of funds meant that he was unable to restore it as a home for his own family, instead living at Woolstaplers' Hall in Chipping Campden, the new home of the guild. In 1906, Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, a Sinhalese scholar who had been educated in Gloucestershire and London, retired from his post as Director of the Mineraological Survey of Ceylon, and decided to move with his wife Ethel (nee Partridge) to Campden. Although qualified as a mineralogist, Ananda Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) was a philosopher and metaphysician, an historian and philosopher of Indian art, particularly its history and symbolism, and was an early interpreter of Indian culture to the West. He was attracted to Chipping Campden due to its reputation as a centre for Arts and Crafts thinking: he viewed Ceylonese craft and culture in the light of William Morris’ principles, and introduced it to England. Ananda and his wife Ethel, who became a prominent and influential Guild of Handicraft weaver, asked Ashbee to restore and extend the Norman Chapel as a house for them, and as a focus for craft and art activity; the principal rooms in the former chapel were given over to entertaining and craftworking with other members of the artistic community which grew up in Campden.
Ashbee was a proponent of the sensitive and honest approach to architectural conservation advocated by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and therefore made changes respectful of retaining the maximum level of historic fabric and character. In the former chapel, he first raised the roof to create a full first floor, re-using the eaves string, and inserted a long horizontal window in the south wall; glazed the former chancel arch; and created a raised ceiling over the end of the nave, making a study on a dais in the first-floor room above. To the former domestic range, he added a two-storey bay window to the former house and created a new dining room within the ground floor. Ashbee constructed a new two-storey range to the west end, housing service rooms and additional bedrooms. He also worked with the Guild of Handicraft to create interior fixtures and fittings; and incorporated inlay and metalwork brought to England by Coomaraswamy. The house became a hub for like-minded artists and thinkers, and a centre for creativity; Ashbee moved the Essex House press here from Chipping Campden in 1907. After Ananda and Ethel’s marriage ended, Ashbee and his wife moved into the house themselves, renting it from Coomaraswamy, and stayed from 1911 to 1919. Their four daughters were all born in the house during this period. The First World War marked change in the Ashbees' lives, and in 1918 Ashbee was asked to mastermind the planning and repair of the city of Jerusalem, and explore the revival of traditional crafts and industries. The family moved to Palestine in 1919 and on their return to England, settled in Kent at Ethel's family home.
The ground lease Ashbee held from Lord Gainsborough was not due to expire until 2002, but estate correspondence shows that the possibility of buying him out of the lease began in April 1919, and in November of that year, the house was for sale by auction. In 1929 further extensions were made during the tenure of artist Miss Dawkins, who added a further service range, and extended Ashbee's range to create new family room and studio extending westwards from Ashbee's block. The house has remained almost unaltered since this time.
MATERIALS: local Cotswold limestone rubble, with Cotswold stone slate roofs and ashlar stacks; Ashbee's early-C20 range is partly roughcast rendered.
PLAN: the building is orientated roughly east-west. The former Norman chapel forms the eastern range, and attached to its west end is the L-shaped C14-15 house, with its longer arm projecting towards the south. Attached to the west end of this range, in line with the chapel range, is Ashbee's rectangular block, and running westwards from this in two parallel ranges are the 1929 additions. There are two projecting porch extensions to the north, adjoining the northern elevation of the C14-15 range.
EXTERIOR: the buildings are generally of two-storeys, of varying heights, with an additional attic storey to Ashbee's range. The windows to the earlier buildings are timber casements under timber or stone lintels, and those to Ashbee's range have stone mullions and surrounds, those to the south with hood moulds. All have small rectangular leaded glazing. The main elevation of the building is the garden elevation, to the south. The Norman chapel range is now of two storeys; the ground floor has a central doorway with a round arch of a single order, which retains plain cushion capitals; the shafts have been lost. The tympanum is plain. The pegged door of multiple small panels dates from Ashbee's restoration, and has a large circular handle set on a raised circular metal boss with Sinhalese inlay work. This doorway is flanked by buttresses of tumbled stonework, one set diagonally to the plane of the wall. The fenestration is irregular, with a stone mullioned and transomed window to one side of the doorway, and a three-light timber window to the other. Above the doorway is a smaller but similar three-light window, set into a section of squared stonework which leans outwards from the plane of the wall and is tied back with iron ties. Above is a moulded eaves string. To the right, there are a number of slit windows, and above, set high under the eaves, a wide horizontal window with timber surrounds and ten lights, above a moulded cill course. There are tall ashlar stacks set to either end of the range, with another rising from the eaves towards the left. The C14-15 house adjoins this range to its left, and is also of two-storeys, though much lower in height. There is a single bay in line with the Norman range, with a window to each floor. The cross wing presents a gable to the south with a single window to the ground floor and a tall, square gable end stack. The cross wing has a two-storey canted bay to its inner face, added by Ashbee, with timber windows and roughcast render between, and a gable above. Ashbee's block adjoins this section to its left, with a gabled section facing south and continuing beyond. This block has stone mullioned windows to both storeys and an attic, and a doorway in the right hand side of the gabled section, with a bay window to the left. Attached to its western end is the single-storey 1929 extension with a large double doorway.
The eastern end has the exposed chancel arch of the Norman chapel, now glazed as a window with a semi-circular arched top. The walls have long quoins. Above is a smaller single light. The rear elevation is less regular than the main elevation. To the left, the former Norman Chapel has a Norman doorway similar to that in the southern elevation, and set opposite it; the opening is blocked in matching rubble stonework. The first floor has two C14 or C15 windows, each of two lights with cusped cinquefoil heads, under hood moulds. There is a moulded string course under the eaves. Adjacent to this range, to its right, a porch, added in 1929, is set against the C14-15 house. The two-storey porch is gabled, with a four-centred arched doorway with hood mould, and a two-light stone mullioned window with hood mould above. The doorway and window appear re-used, and may have come from the demolished Old Campden House, built in 1613 and destroyed by fire in the C20. To the right of the porch is an additional lean-to with a hipped roof. Beyond this, a small section of the C14-15 elevation is visible, with timber windows under timer lintels similar to those in the south elevation. Attached to this range at the right is Ashbee's extension, which projects northwards as a cross wing. The building is rendered above a high, dressed-stone plinth; the inner face has multipaned timber windows, painted white, with stone cills and plain hoods carried on moulded timber brackets. There is a part-glazed entrance door tucked neatly into the re-entrant angle. To the gable end, the windows are multipaned timber casements, painted white, with similar hoods on brackets. Extending to the west from the ground floor is the single-storey 1929 service range, which has similar fenestration. The eastern end of Ashbee's extension has an M-shaped roof with twin gables. The ground-floor windows are painted timber to match those to the rest of the range. The first-floor and attic windows have stone mullions and hood moulds.
INTERIOR: the principal rooms are contained within the medieval buildings, with the kitchens and additional bedrooms in Ashbee's range, and further service rooms in the 1929 extensions. There are Arts and Crafts fittings dating from Ashbee's restoration throughout the majority of the house. Several of the bell-shaped copper pendant light fittings made by the Guild of Handicraft survive, together with damascened door furniture brought by Coomaraswamy from Ceylon, and beaten metal fire hoods in the fireplaces, apparently also the work of the Guild of Handicraft; there are panelled hardwood doors to the ground floor, and hardwood doors in traditional Cotswold style to the upper floors. Individually-designed window catches also appear to be the work of the Guild.
The north porch gives access into the hall, created from the short arm of the L-shaped C14-15 range; this room has a parquet floor, and stone stairs rising against the western wall of the chapel range. To the east, a narrow rectangular-headed doorway with a large stone lintel and an early C20 panelled door leads into the ground floor of the chapel, which is a single open space, with a parquet floor. The east end has the glazed former chancel arch, with a single order to the arch; the shafts are missing from below the simple capitals. To north and south, the doorways are marked by recesses with semi-circular arched heads. There is a stone fireplace set in the north wall, with a moulded four-centred arched opening. There are two transverse ceiling beams with chamfers and run outs, and exposed plain ceiling joists. At the east end, the ceiling is raised to take it above the height of the east window, and coffered to north and south. It rises from a moulded cornice, and is marked with moulded ribs into small squares; some of the junctions of the ribs are marked with square foliate bosses. To the first floor, another single open space, the east end of which forms a study on the raised dais above the elevated section of the ceiling below. The room has narrow floorboards, and the ceiling is formed from the exposed moulded and chamfered cranked tie beams of the roof, between which are joists, and the structure is ceiled with timber boards above these. There is a deeply-moulded shallow four-centred arched fireplace in the south wall, with a tapering metal fire hood dating from Ashbee's restoration set within it. A cosy reading seat is built against the south wall, next to the fireplace; the fitment has bookshelves and a cupboard with a moulded cornice surrounding a window, below which is a timber bench seat with a raking back. Engraved brass plaques record the Lords of the Manor and members of the Guild of Handicraft. The eastern end of the room is set on the dais, which is fronted by a pegged timber balustrade. The study area has a fireplace with a timber surround and overmantel above, which houses three glazed fields for paintings. Around this are built-in bookcases. The northern wall is fitted with cupboards with panelled timber doors, and a narrow winder stair rises to the attic space. The visible roof timbers are simple trusses with king posts, principal rafters and purlins lying on the backs of the principals.
The former house is accessed from the ground-floor hallway, through a moulded, pointed-arched doorway with an oak door inlaid with mahogany and mother of pearl. Beyond this door, the other two ground-floor rooms of the house have been combined to form a large dining room. This room has exposed chamfered ceiling beams and joists. To the south is a large fireplace with massive stone uprights and a timber bressumer, within which is a beaten metal fire hood. To the east is Ashbee's window bay. Further along the east wall, a second large fireplace is concealed by cupboards built within and in front of the fire opening as part of Ashbee's remodelling; they have pegged, panelled doors and are flanked by reeded uprights with foliate carving above. The first floor of this part of the house is set largely within the attic space, and has exposed roof timbers. The trusses are arch-braced, and have curved wind braces. The roof is complicated by the L-shaped structure. The room has a stone fireplace lined with Delft tiles, under a very shallow four-centred arch. The bed niche has Ashbee's bay window to one side and an original window to the other, with two small lights with cusped trefoil heads and quatrefoils above. The timber windows added by Ashbee have large and elaborate iron catches, evidently designed by the architect.
A door from the dining room leads into the stair hall of Ashbee's block. The structure of the building has exposed beams with chamfers and runouts, some carried on stone corbels. The stair is a plain dog-leg stair, with paired stick balusters and a moulded handrail. The stair was designed for a narrow space, and Ashbee made it so that the handrail and some balusters could be removed to allow furniture to be more easily moved in and out. The ground floor has a kitchen, larder and pantry, with a patent range in the kitchen with red tile inserts; part of the former scullery has been incorporated into the kitchen area. The floor is covered in red tile. To the south, the former work room has an ashlar fire surround with moulded mantel; the remainder of the scullery and the former dark room have been incorporated into the space, and it has been extended westwards to create an artist's studio space, with large rooflights. A bay window added to the south has a window seat with timber panelling below. To the first floor, the bedrooms have similar stone fireplaces, and timber window seats. The attic room has a small fireplace with a timber surround and mantel shelf on plain brackets.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Ashbee designed an extensive garden for the house, which is bounded by a WALL, circa 2m high, constructed from rubble limestone with flat stone coping. It incorporates a gateway with a semi-circular tympanum, to the roadside, north-west of the house.
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Books and journals
Brooks, A, Verey, D, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire I: The Cotswolds, (1999), 199
Crawford, A, CR Ashbee Architect Designer and Romantic Socialist, (1985)
Gordon, C, Cotswold Arts and Crafts Architecture, (2009), 135-8
Greensted, M, The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, (2010), 45-6
MacCarthy, F, The Simple Life CR Ashbee in the Cotswolds, (1981)
'The Builder' in The Norman Chapel Buildings, Broad Campden, Glos, (24 August 1907), 223-4
'The Builder' in Garden at Broad Campden, , Vol. 96, (10 April 1919), 441
Crawford, A, 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' in Ashbee, Charles Robert (1863-1942), architect, designer and social reformer, (2004-11)
Seaman, G R, 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' in Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish (1877-1947), (2004)
Gloucestershire Archives record D2299/1891: correspondence concerning valuation of the lease of Norman Chapel, various dates in 1919,
Gloucestershire Archives record D5163/1/7: Particulars and conditions of sale of a small residence constructed from the ruins (with a modern addition) of The Norman Chapel, Broad Campden, Gloucestershire (4 November 1919),
Gloucestershire Historic Environment Record Summary Report for Area 2761: medieval chapel of C11 or C12 date since modified, known as Norman Chapel House, Broad Campden, Chipping Campden,
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