Gayhurst

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English Heritage

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1913

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116-117

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'Gayhurst', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2: North (1913), pp. 116-117. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=121233 Date accessed: 29 November 2014.


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135. GAYHURST.

(O.S. 6 in. (a)iv. S.E. (b)v. S.W.)

Ecclesiastical

b(1). Parish Church of St. Peter, 100 yards E. of Gayhurst House, was re-built in 1728. It contains two of the fittings from the former church.

Fittings—Bell: by Anthony Chandler, 1670. Chair: of carved oak with plain arms and rail, probably 17th-century.

Condition—Good.

Secular

b(2). Gayhurst House, with fish-ponds, stands in a park, immediately W. of the church. The House is a large building, partly of three storeys and partly of two storeys and a cellar; the walls are of yellow limestone; the roofs are covered with slate and with lead. The greater part of the house was built late in the 16th century, apparently incorporating a building of earlier date, as two doorways of c. 1520 remain in the cellar below the middle of the N.W. half of the house. The late 16th-century plan is E-shaped, the wings extending towards the S.E.; on the S.W. side, at the S. end, is a small staircase wing, and beyond it are three smaller projections; in the middle of the N.E. side is a second porch. The N.W. half of the main block was re-built in the 18th century, the whole of the N.W. elevation being re-modelled, and the middle part made flush with the ends of the 16th-century wings; modern additions of one storey have been made on the S.W. side of the house. The internal arrangement was considerably altered in the 19th century, but the principal hall in the main block, entered from the S.E. porch, and the staircase in the S.W. wing are probably in their original positions.

The house is the finest example of domestic architecture of late 16th-century date in North Buckinghamshire.

S.E. Elevation:—The porch in the middle is gabled and of three storeys; the inner doorway has a semi-circular head with moulded imposts and architrave; the entrance archway is semi-circular, and has a keystone with pyramidal face and soffit, a moulded architrave and panelled soffit; on each side are fluted columns of the Doric order, with moulded capitals carved with egg-andtongue ornament; the bases are moulded, set on square pedestals which have a moulded capping and plinth, and are carved in front with an anchor; at the first floor level is a moulded string-course with triglyphs and circular flowers breaking forward over the columns; over the string-course is a niche with a crest, a dragon's head collared, and an 18th-century shield with the arms of Wrighte quartering Oneby, over all a scutcheon of the arms of Bedford; the achievement is that of George Wrighte, the purchaser of Gayhurst, who died 1724/5, and Mary Bedford, his wife; on the first floor is a window of four lights with a transom; the jambs, mullions and lintel are moulded; on each side are two Ionic columns on square moulded bases, of which the upper and lower members continue as string-courses between the columns: the second floor projects to the face of the entablature, which is supported by the columns and by a shaped bracket on the middle mullion of the window on the first floor; the soffit of the entablature is panelled in squares and circles; the moulded cornice is carried along the side walls as a string-course: the window on the second floor is of four lights and above it is an ogee-shaped gable, with a pinnacle on the coping on each side, and at the apex. The main block has moulded string-courses dividing the storeys, and two gables similar to that of the porch; at each end of the block, next to the wing, is a projecting square bay, gabled, and of three storeys, with windows, each of six transomed lights in front and two in the return wall, on the ground and first floors, and a similar window without a transom on the second floor; between each bay and the porch, on each floor, is a window of four lights, the four lower windows having transoms. The wings have plain parapets; the return walls have windows of four lights and the S.E. walls have windows of six lights on each floor, all with transoms. The S.E. side of the staircase wing has three windows.

The N.E. Elevation has moulded string-courses dividing the storeys, and a plain parapet; in the middle is a projecting porch of three storeys with a plain parapet; on the three outer sides of the ground floor are semi-circular arches similar to the entrance arch of the S.E. porch, but with plain soffits; the inner doorway is also round-headed; on the upper floors are windows of four transomed lights. At each end of the elevation is a bay window of three diminishing storeys, with windows, formerly of six lights, on each floor; between each bay and the porch, on each floor, is a window formerly of four lights; all the windows have transoms, except the windows on the ground floor N. of the porch, from which the intermediate mullions are also missing.

The N.W. Elevation is entirely of 18th-century design, and all on one plane; straight joints show the junction of the ends of the N.E. and S.W. wings with the main block. The third storey of the S.E. part of the house is visible above the flat roof of the N.W. part, and has, in the middle, a half-hipped gable, with a doorway of moulded stone, opening on to the flat roof.

S.W. Elevation:—The staircase wing has three windows; two narrower projections have each a window of two lights and a gable; between them, over the main wall, is a gabled dormer window of four lights, and at the N. end of the elevation the third small projection is apparently of the 18th century and has a window of three lights on the second floor; the lower storeys of the elevation are covered by modern domestic offices built against the wall. Many of the 16th-century windows in each elevation have been restored. The chimney stacks are of stone with moulded cornices, but are apparently almost all modern.

Interior:—The principal hall has, at the N.E. end, opening into the smaller hall, a semi-circular arch of c. 1590, with a carved soffit and imposts, flanked by fluted Corinthian pilasters; the N.E. wall is 3½ ft. thick. In the room at the N.W. end of the N.E. wing is some early 17th-century panelling, probably brought from elsewhere; the fireplace is also made up of early 17th-century carving. In a passage at the S.W. end of the house is a dado of late 16th or early 17th-century panelling, now painted. The staircase wing contains an old central-newel staircase. In the 16th-century attic are some oak door-frames, and one plain door with strap-hinges. In the cellar, under the 18th-century part of the house, are two stone doorways of c. 1520, with flat, four-centred openings in square heads; the jambs are moulded, and have moulded stops, now much perished.

A long range of outhouses and stables, S.W. of the house, is of stone, and built apparently in the 18th century; S. of the stables is a garden enclosed in 16th-century walls, of stone; in the N. wall is a doorway with moulded jambs and depressed four-centred head, under a square outer order. Further N. is a second small enclosed garden with a S. doorway which has a moulded stone label. In the gardens N. and N.E. of the house are 16th-century stone pillars with pierced finials, separated by box hedges (see Plate, p. 74): in the N.E. garden, set on a pillar of stone, is a bronze sundial with Roman numerals and an ornamental pointer; it is dated 1670, and bears the inscription 'Walter Hayes at the Cross Daggers in Moorefields London fecit.'

The two Fish-ponds are S.E. of the house.

Condition—Of house, good; but with ivy and other creepers on the walls.

a, b(3). Bunsty Farm, about 2/3 mile N.W. of the church, is a house of two storeys and an attic, built probably late in the 17th century, of stone, with a small modern extension of brick. The roofs are tiled. The original plan is almost rectangular, facing E., with a wing, containing the dairy, at the back; the N.W. angle is now filled by the modern addition. All the windows are modern, under old wooden lintels. On the S. side is a large projecting chimney stack of stone, with a square shaft of brick. The other chimney stacks are of thin bricks.

Condition—Good.

b(4). Mill Farm, 2/3 mile S.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys, built in the 17th century, and subsequently altered and enlarged. The walls are of stone, except those of the modern additions, which are of brick. The roofs are tiled. The original plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the N. and W. Two of the chimney stacks are of thin bricks.

Condition—Good.



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