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


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Statutory Address:

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

Newcastle-under-Lyme (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 81969 44769


SJ 84 NW 6/28


Former country house, now part of university. Total re-building by Anthony Salvin in 1856-61 for Ralph Sneyd of an earlier house of c.1580; additions of c.1880 (see inscription to cornice "HAS AEDES A PROAVO SUO RADULPHO SNEYD EXTRUCTAS ANNO DOMINI MDLXXX RESTITUENDAS CURAVIT RADULPHUS SNEYD A.D. MDCCCLX"). Red and yellow sandstone ashlar with chamfered rusticated quoins; plain tile roofs with fish-scale bands and prominent ashlar stacks with moulded capping.

Jacobean style, roughly 'L'-shaped in plan. Three storeys over cellars, attics. Viewed from the front the left-hand wing is the plainest and has the character of a service wing; projecting shaped gable to left with small pediment to top; to the right is the main part of the wing with a corbelled half-dormer to centre and a higher section of two bays to right with two shaped full-dormers and connecting balustrade over moulded cornice; mullioned and transomed windows and in the angle with the left-hand gable a single-storeyed entrance porch of c.1950 with the arms of Keele University above; a smaller round-arched doorway to the right has the motto "THANK GOD FOR ALL" above. The dominating feature of the wing and projecting from it in the angle with the right-hand range is the rectangular staircase tower, lit by tall, mullioned and transomed windows and with an upper storey or lantern (added by Sneyd as an after-thought) surmounted by an openwork balustrade with four heraldic lions to the corners.

The right-hand wing is the original entrance front with two 12-light mullioned and transomed windows (lighting the Great Hall) to the left of the roughly central full-height porch, approached by a short flight of steps, which has a classical doorway with pediment and Doric columns but an upper oriel and shaped gable above; to the right again is a full-height canted bay terminating in a shaped half dormer, piercing the openwork balustrade; mullioned and transomed windows throughout. At the right-hand end of the range is a lower attachment (c.1880), carried round to the back, also with shaped gables and openwork balustrade but to the rear with round-arched windows.

The south (garden) front is symmetrical (except for an upper canted bay window in the left-hand bay) and has polygonal corner turrets capped by lead cupolas; 1:1:3:1:1 windows (mullioned and transomed) with projecting shaped gabled breaks to the left and right and a slightly recessed central portion with a three-bay round-arched open arcade to the ground floor; Renaissance-style decorative motifs.

The east front is also for display, again with polygonal corner turrets (one being shared with south front); irregular fenestration (mainly mullioned and transomed windows) with four half-dormers with shaped gables piercing the openwork balustrade; the most prominent feature is the lavishly ornamented two-storeyed three-window canted bay to the left, terminating in a shaped and pointed gable.

Interior: main rooms all on principal floor, and much of the decoration inspired by Sneyd. Great Hall: late medieval/early Renaissance style, has a three-bay arcade at each end with gallery above; applied Ionic order with carved heads as keystones to round-headed arches; the most striking feature is the magnificent fireplace on the south wall with a lavish heraldic device with 42 quarterings beneath a broken pediment and with twisted marble columns to the sides. Behind the hall to the south is the library with a richly ornamented ceiling, gallery and fireplace, all by Salvin. The other main rooms, however, are all on the east and now form the Senior Common Room. They start on the north with the Dining Room in a Tudor style; tapestries which (according to a C19 inventory) were made by Aubusson "specially for the room" and carvings by Rogers in the style of Grindling Gibbons; also a plaster ceiling and inlaid floor surround by Messrs. Arrowsmith of New Bond Street. This connects with the Breakfast Room, a relatively small link room sharing motifs with both the Dining Room and the Drawing Room. This is in an early C18 style and owes something to the influence of William Kent; a coffered ceiling by Rogers,the painting of which is largely original, pedimented door surrounds and two good fireplaces. An unusual feature is the sliding mirror to the south window, which can be used to deceive one into believing the rooms double their actual extent. The other main item of note is the C17 style staircase (to the north of the Great Hall) with its vase-shaped balusters and newels with pointed finials and fleur-de-lys symbols.

B.O.E., p.158-60, R.S. Hampson, J.M. Kolbert and Dr. Goodway (personal communication) and J.M. Kolbert, The Sneyds and Keele Hall (guide book, 1970 edition).

Listing NGR: SJ8196944769


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Kolbert, JM , The Sneyds and Keele Hall Guide Book, (1970)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire, (1974), 158-60
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 38 Staffordshire,


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

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Date: 31 Dec 2001
Reference: IOE01/04623/09
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Clive Shenton. Source Historic England Archive
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