WOODCHESTER MANSION TRUST Ltd
Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales
The Woodchester Mansion Trust was founded in 1989 when the Mansion had been derelict and neglected for a number of years. With support from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grant-giving trusts, Woodchester Mansion Trust has set about rescuing the Mansion from potentially catastrophic decay, repairing it to the condition in which building work was abandoned in the late 1870s and opening the house to the public.
The Trust is the pioneer of the Living Classroom model of heritage skills training, becoming the first heritage site in the UK to provide hands-on training to student stonemasons and running courses for the lay public in a variety of traditional building skills. The Trust played a key role in the revival of the Lime Method of repair and maintenance which is vital to the survival of our heritage of limestone buildings.
As a masterpiece of the Victorian Gothic Revival and perhaps the highest expression of a purism not matched by any other British domestic architecture of the period, abandoned in mid-construction but with much of its spectacular detail complete, the Mansion is unique in the heritage world as a window on construction methods that link directly to our medieval Gothic heritage.
Woodchester Mansion represents a moment suspended in history, offering visitors a time-travel experience in three dimensions expressing the vision of a precociously talented and ambitious young Victorian architect, Benjamin Bucknall, and an idiosyncratic and devout client, William Leigh, whose wealth was to prove in the end unequal to his ambition of combining the spiritual and material dimensions of daily life in one unique building.