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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: 1348442



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

County: Hertfordshire

District: Dacorum

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Little Gaddesden

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: I

Date first listed: 14-May-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Dec-1986

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 157703

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.


SP 91 SE, 1/172

LITTLE GADDESDEN, ASHRIDGE PARK (East side), Ashridge Management College

(formerly listed as Ashridge)




Country house, now a management college. 1808-1814 by James Wyatt (d.1813) completed by his nephew Jeffry Wyatt (Sir Jeffry Wyattville after 1824) for 7th Earl of Bridgewater, sold 1921 and became The Bonar Law Memorial College, and after 1954 Ashridge Management College. The house incorporates remains of a College of Bonhommes founded 1283 which became a royal residence after its dissolution in 1539 until sold by Elizabeth in 1575 and acquired by Egerton family in 1604. Largely demolished 1800 by 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (d.1803) and house erected for 7th Earl in park reputedly improved by 'Capability' Brown c.1777 with immediate surrounding gardens designed by Humphry Repton c.1813. The oldest part is 1285-1350, a twin-aisled 7 bays rib-vaulted undercroft to the great hall of the monastic refectory incorporated as a beer cellar by James Wyatt now below the dining room and drawing room.

Of Totternhoe stone with low-pitched slate roofs, the present house is one of the finest examples of an early Gothic revival mansion. It is built of ashlar with a castellated parapet and casement windows with stone dripstones over and in most cases windows of 2 lights with obtusely pointed heads (those on S front altered by Jeffry Wyatt 1818 and 1839). The entrance front faces north and consists of a central block containing the state apartments and 2 office courtyards to the west, which was the extent of James Wyatt's work, and 2 stable courtyards beyond these on the west and on the east a block of private apartments at an angle to the main building and an orangery beyond ending in a turret, which were all added by Jeffry Wyatt 1815-17. The main block has a central tower, to which enrichments and a projecting porte cochere were added by Jeffry Wyatt c.1814, and on each side of it a block of 3s. and 4 w. with taller octagonal turrets at the angles. The first office courtyard to the right is slightly recessed and comprises 2s. and 9 ws. all flanked by buttresses. The second office courtyard has rectangular towers of 3s. and 1 w. each at its angles and between these a retaining wall with pointed lights flanked by buttresses and with a four-centred carriage archway in the centre. The first workshop and stable courtyard comprises 1s. with a stepped gable in the centre. Finally a tall carriage archway surmounted by a gable with a cross at its apex and flanked but buttresses gives entrance to the second stable courtyard. The Brownlow Hall here of brick and stone with slate roof has preserved in it a giant frieze of Venus and putti with armorial centrepiece and 3 early C20 murals. The N stables are grandly appointed and now house a museum. The private apartments to the left of the centre block comprise 2s. and 1Ows. 2 bays on both floors and 2 square turrets with octagonal buttresses at all 4 of their angles. Beyond is a blind wall of the orangery ending in an octagonal turret. On the garden side the conservatory to the left of the main block was altered by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1919 to form the dining room of the modern College. The Chapel (1817) makes a right-angled projection beyond this. A pair of fine C14 carved doors re-used in lobby. Spire replaced in fibreglass 1969 after being cut off as a safety measure by Lord Brownlow in 1922. Large medieval well in vaulted wellhouse below chapel. Flint-lined and 224ft deep with C19 large cast-iron horizontally geared wheel to drive pumps in 3 lifts formerly powered by donkeys circling the wellhead and stabled at rear. Now the Coult Museum with pumps etc. displayed after excavation 1970-71.

Sheltering the N side of the Monk's Garden is the late C14 Monks' Barn, timber-framed on brick and stone sill with old red tile roof. Jowled posts, large curved braces, queen-post roof with wind braces to 2 butt purlins. Close-studding and red brick infilling exposed on the north side. Extended and S side remodelled by Jeffry Wyatt in 1816 when it was converted into a covered walk facing the Monks' Garden. The north side has the date 1816 on the rain water head and 2-four- centre headed blocked wagon entrances. The south side has 19 four-centred arches with wooden columns, and a recessed brick wall inserted behind these. 7 gabled dormers, front ones altered 1972, the centre one larger, and wooden octagonal lantern of Gothic design in the centre of the roof with pointed leaded spire, all added in 1821. The barn was altered to a dormitory with inserted floor in 1972. A wall of knapped flints with 11 buttresses and an arched alcove with seat joins the Monks' Barn to Mathew Digby Wyatt's 1884 red brick Fern House to the south. Of the interior, only the hall, the staircase tower with its statues by Sir Richard Westmacott, and the chapel are Gothic in design. All these were designed by James Wyatt, though the latter was completed by Jeffry after James's death, and the stalls were designed by Jeffry. The C16 stained glass windows from Stainfeld in Germany have been removed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The classical re-decoration of the sumptious interiors including the drawing-room and the billiard room was by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt 1855-63 for Lady Marion Alford.

(VCH (1908), 209-11; RCHM (1911), 143, no 2; Pevsner (1977), 237-40; RCHM Typescript; Linstrum (1972), 228-9; Douglas Coult, Ashridge (1979) Ashridge Management College)

Listing NGR: SP9939012181

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Coult, D, Ashridge, (1979)
Doubleday, AH, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1908), 209-11
Lindstrum, D, Sir Jeffry Wyatville Architect to the King, (1972), 228-9
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 237-40
Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Hertfordshire, (1910)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 21 Hertfordshire,

National Grid Reference: SP 99390 12181


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End of official listing