2021 Open Day Season
We hope to reopen on Friday 21st May 2021 at 11am
Woodchester Mansion is unique because it is unfinished. Visitors can see how the house was constructed. The house was built 1857-67 in the Neo-gothic style, with very high quality craftsmanship. Local limestone was used. Wide stone arches hold up the roof. In the dining room the original centering for the arch is still in place. 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. The walls are rough rubble-stone, yet to be plastered.
In the library copper conduits for the bell pull wires can be seen; they have not yet been plastered over.
The drawing room was completed and the ornate lierne vaulted ceiling can be seen, though it has not been painted.
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.
Beyond the chapel, moving into the servants' part of the house, you will find the intriguing game larder.
Our resident stonemasons may be working in the laundry room, and samples of their work are on display.
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.
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
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