What to see in the Mansion

Woodchester Mansion is unique because it is unfinished. Visitors can see how the house was constructed. This page gives you an idea of what you can see; we have a guide book and display boards to help visitors to find out more.

The house was built 1857-67 in the Neo-gothic style, with very high quality craftsmanship. Local limestone was used. Because it is incomplete visitors will not see fine furniture and paintings, but there is a wealth of other features to explore.

In the main rooms you can look up from the ground floor to the roof; the floors have yet to be put in. Wide stone arches hold up the roof.

In the dining room the original centering for the arch is still in place (picture above). It would have been taken down and reused elsewhere when the lime mortar had set. One of the original scaffolding poles, a larch tree trunk stripped of branches, is visible (top left in the picture above).

The main rooms would all have had stone vaulted ceilings and the springer stones, critical for supporting the stone ribs of the vault, are in place ready. Some have wooden shuttering above them – a Victorian ‘hard hat’ for the building. It protects the fine stonework from damage if workers dropped tools from above. You can see the springers and shuttering in the images above. You can also see that the walls are rough rubble-stone, waiting to be plastered.

In the library copper conduits for the bell pull wires can be seen; they have not yet been plastered over. The end of the long scaffolding pole in the dining room can be seen protruding through the wall.

The lierne vault in the drawing room.

The drawing room was completed and the ornate lierne vaulted ceiling can be seen, though it has not been painted.

The tierceron vault in the chapel.

The high chapel has a very fine tierceron vault with deeply undercut roof bosses. Most are plants found in the valley but one shows four carved dogs’ heads and there are two green men. They are shown in the two images below. When you visit, see if you can spot them. The carving here is of very high quality.

Beyond the chapel, moving into the servants’ part of the house, you will find the intriguing game larder. It has a built-in ventilation system, so smells didn’t get into the chapel.

Further on, you may find our resident stone masons at work in the laundry room. There are many examples of their work on display.

Examples of the stonemasonry students’ work.

The bathroom is on the first floor, by the stairs in the clock tower, and is well worth seeing. It has a solid stone bath with carved stone faucets, and a Victorian shower cubicle – cold water only. The fireplace is beautifully carved and symbolises the Garden of Eden – can you spot the serpent in the image above?

If you walk up to the top floor to see the graceful wishbone shaped arches in the south corridor you get a good view of the carved stone owls in the courtyard. Here you can also see how the roof was tiled with stone slates.

There is information from the Mansion archives on the history of the house on display in the first and second floor south corridors. At the end of the tour of the Mansion we have a shop and tearoom.

Enjoy your visit!

The Mansion is of serious architectural significance – learn more here

See more in the galleries:

Unfinished Masterpiece

The Gargoyles

For Children – our animals

The Chapel Bosses

 Find out what other visitors thought about us…

2024 Open Day Season

We are open 11am - 5pm every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays from Friday 29th March to Sunday 3rd November.

Telephone 01453 861541

Woodchester Mansion,

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