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Dorset Buildings

As well its stately homes and impressive churches Dorset has a number of smaller buildings of note too.

Court House, Cowgrove

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: ST 990 000

Last Visited: 1993

Court House Cowgrove Vandalised

Court House Cowgrove Vandalised

There are two schools of thought in the world of restoration: One states that you should put buildings back to how you think they were at some period in the past, the other that you should simply repair what is there, and let the building move on. Neither argument gives enough weight to aesthetic criteria or to the emotional impact buildings in my opinion.

Clearly when it came to the Court House in Cowgrove, Wimborne someone in the National Trust did the research and decided that originally it would have been lime washed all over.

Apparently, the original owners would have wanted to give the impression that it was stone-built, and would have been ashamed of the timber-framing. No doubt, if pebble-dashing had been available at the time they would have used that instead.

Well Iʼm sorry, but just because the original owners were pretentious it does not excuse "stone cladding" an ancient building like this. Exterior oak looks best untreated, and black and white cottages, rank alongside old ladies cycling to church, warm beer and cricket on the village green in the English psyche.

However it is possible to see what Court House might look like had it not been vandalised, through the magic of Photoshop.

Comments

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Strolling Guide

You are quite right, I am but a humble photographer and no expert on timber-framed buildings. Cleary the 'breathable' nature of lime wash (provided it hasn't been mixed with Casein, Tallow or Raw Linseed Oil to help it stick), could help control dampness, the chief cause of death-watch beetle. But, on the other hand, what lets water out must also let it in, so the difference between lime washing and leaving the timbers untreated must be fairly marginal. Clearly black bitumen would be inappropriate, however. If overall lime washing is the only practical solution, then so be it. But for me, as a photographer, it is still an aesthetic disaster, and should be avoided if at all possible.

Mrs. A. Cross

Obviously your writer had made no particular study into the Court House, otherwise he would have found that the beams have been lime-washed in order to try to limit incursions by Deathwatch beetle. It would have been nice to have had the timbers exposed, if they had been new,but because of except for the parlous state of them, most are like sponge, they need the lime to keep the ravages of weather at bay. If they had been painted in bitumenous black, this would have sealed in the damp, and allowed rotting from inside out, at least the lime allows the wood to breathe. Mrs. A. Cross, Court House, cowgrove, Wimborne.

Creech Grange

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SY 911 821

Last Visited: 2014

Creech Grange

Creech Grange

As you drive up Creech Hill, laid out in the valley below is the impressive Creech Grange.

The original house was built by Sir Oliver Lawrence (an ancestor of Americaʼs first president George Washington), on land acquired from Bindon Abbey near Wool after Henry VIII abolished the monastery in 1539.

Creech Grange

Creech Grange

It was bought by Nathaniel Bond in 1691, whose descendants still own land locally, and was largely rebuilt in 1846.

It changed hands again in 1979 when it was bought bought by Norman Hayward, who has spent the last 30 years restoring the house and gardens.

The house is not open to the public

During the 18th century, Denis Bond erected the folly known as Grange Arch on the highest point on Ridgeway Hill.

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Gaunts House

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SU 016 043

Last Visited: 2010

The Tower

The Tower

The lintel above the window next to the front door, gives a pretty good summary of the history of the present building.

It was built by Sir Richard C Glyn in 1809 (around an earlier 1752 Portland stone mansion) and later altered in 1887 by Sir Richard G Glyn.

These days its appearance is largely that of a large Victorian villa.

The Garden Front Gaunts House

The Garden Front
Gaunts House

The house takes its name from John of Gaunt (third son of Edward III), who may have had a hunting lodge in the area.

These days it is home to the Richard Glyn Foundation, an educational charity with a particular emphasis on profound learning. It runs various residential and day courses and retreats, but the house and grounds are occasionally open as part of other events such as Dorset Arts Week.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Gaunts House
      A bit on the history of the house, but mainly dedicated to its current activities.
      http://www.gauntshouse.com/

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Sandsfoot Castle

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SY 674 773

Last Visited: 2014

Sandsfoot Castle

Sandsfoot Castle

Sandsfoot Castle was built in about 1539 by Henry VIII as one of the Device Forts. In conjunction with Portland Castle it provided sweeping fire across the entrance to the safe anchorage of Portland Roads.

Sandsfoot Castle

Sandsfoot Castle

It was a two storey rectangular building with a basement, a taller gate-tower on the landward side and a single-storey octagonal gun platform. However, it was undermined by the sea and, although patched up from time to time, was eventually abandoned in 1645.

The ruins were purchased by Weymouth Corporation in 1902 for £150, and Tudor style gardens were laid out in front of the castle in 1931. It was renovated in 2009 and 2010 and a internal walkway with floodlighting was installed.

The gardens and café are popular with local people (or at least they are presumably local as there is no car park nearby). It is open at all times and there is no admission charge.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Sandsfoot Castle
      English Heritage PastScape Archive database listing
      http://www.pastscape.org/hob.aspx?hob_id=451558
    • History of Sandsfoot or Weymouth Castle
      A history of the castle from the Sandsfoot Castle & The Rodwell Trail site.
      http://www.sandsfootcastle.org.uk/sample-page/
    • Sandsfoot Castle
      Wikipedia Article
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandsfoot_Castle

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Woolbridge Manor

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SY 844 871

Last Visited: 2014

Woolbridge Manor from the Bridge

Woolbridge Manor from the Bridge

The fine old manor house of Woolbridge Manor is situated on the north side of the old Wool Bridge, a historic crossing point over the River Frome. The road over the bridge is now closed to all traffic except pedestrians and cyclists.

The house dates back to the early C17, with a south-west wing added around 1660.

Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the manor was owned by Bindon Abbey. At one time belonged to the Turberville family, Thomas Turberville having acquired the manor of Woolbridge early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

It features in Thomas Hardyʼs Tess of the Durbervilles as Wellbridge House where Tess and Angel Clare had their unfortunate honeymoon.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Woolbridge Manor, East Stoke
      The entry on the British Listed Buildings site.
      http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-108362-woolbridge-manor-east-stoke-dorset

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