Do you know about Woodchester Mansion?
Woodchester Mansion is a house like no other, and offers lots of interest for everyone who enjoys historical buildings. It is an incomplete Gothic Revival house hidden in a secluded Cotswold valley, a few miles S of Stroud. It will never be finished. You can walk through the shell of the building and see the bare bones of the construction, a quite different and unique experience to viewing a finished property with fine furniture and paintings.
The quality of the craftsmanship in the local limestone is outstanding. Visitors can admire the splendid gargoyles and the roof bosses in the chapel, inspired by the plants in the surrounding valley. Children can spot the many carved animals.
The Mansion was built for the wealthy Catholic convert William Leigh (1802-73), and we are very lucky in having a collection of family letters and photographs. These are in Gloucestershire Archives for safekeeping, and form the basis of the many displays in the Mansion (catalogue number D12584). One of these answers the million dollar question – why was the Mansion never finished?
Gloucestershire Archives also house a collection of the architects’ drawings for the Mansion, which tell us about the development of the building (catalogue number D1011/P15/2 and D1011/P16). They range from rough sketches to completed presentations for the client, and some can be seen in the house.
Over the last two years nearly £1m worth of work has been done on restoration of the Mansion roof, but the bill for the remaining work, including the focus of the building, the wonderful Neo-gothic chapel, approaches £5m.
The Mansion (The Woodchester Mansion Trust) is situated in the beautiful Woodchester Park (National Trust) with its eighteenth century landscape and chain of lakes. Visitors can enjoy a walk in the park as part of their visit to this unique house.
Mansion open: Fri/Sat/Sun 11am – 5pm (last admission to house 4pm) until Sunday 30th October. Adult admission £8.50, under 16s free.
Café at Mansion (snacks, real coffee, light lunches, tea and cake) on open days 11am – 4pm.
For more information visit www.woodchestermansion.org.uk – please view for directions, we are not easy to find!
The Woodchester Mansion Trust
Registered Charity No 900315