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If you have any queries regarding this record please contact us at archaeology@worcestershire.gov.uk for County records (WSM) and archaeology@worcester.gov.uk for City records (WCM)

Name:Madresfield Court, Madresfield
HER Reference:WSM07766
Type of record:Building
Grid Reference:SO 808 475
Map Sheet:SO84NW
Parish:Madresfield, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire

Monument Types

  • MANOR HOUSE (MEDIEVAL - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIVATE CHAPEL (MODERN - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Full description

Chapel, 1902-3, Arts and Crafts piece by Birmingham craftsmen for Countess Beauchamp as wedding present to 7th Earl Tudor nucleus, built around two courtyards with Great Hall between. Access by moat bridge. Much work of 1863 by Philip Hardwicke. [1][8]

Very full description of history. Probably erected or rebuilt in the 15th century when Lygons came into the manor, portions remain in the cellar and lower portions of the walling on south-west and north-west sides. Built around two courtyards with Great Hall between. 1593 date stone reflect completion of major rebuilding (on old plans and foundations). 1863 repaired (and partly rebuilt) [2]

A paper read in 1881 describes the history of the building including details of the interior and refernces to the garden [3]

Country house. 16th century, on earlier moated site with later additions. Extensively restored, rebuilt and extended 1866-88 by P C Hardwick. Brick with stone dressings and tile roof. Entrance front is approached by 16th century or 17th century brick bridge. Four gabled bays were raised by one storey to four storeys in 1885. The two central bays project. Windows are mullioned, with transoms on the ground and first floor. At the left is a fifth gabled bay, canted back to follow the course of the moat and of two storeys with attic. The west side of the house contains servants' rooms and includes glazing bar sashes. On the north side a service court including a game larder and brew house was added in 1870 and connected to the main house by a covered bridge over the moat. To the right of the entrance front is the two-storey canted bay window of the library, with the south wall of the chapel to its right. The east side of the house has a variety of bay windows and gables. Parallel with the projecting chapel, at the north end of the east front, is the north-east wing containing the drawing room and music room, on the site of 18th century extensions. Near the junction with the main house is a timber bellcote with fleche added in 1875. A retaining wall follows the line of the moat to connect the chapel with the north-east wing.
In the centre of the house is a courtyard. On the south side is a wall of stone tracery with double doors opening into the dining room. The other elevations are elaborately timber-framed, with jetties on the west and north sides and an east gallery. The paving has inlaid pattern and a date "1888". Interior: the staircase hall of 1913 has three glass domes. The stair, and galleries on two sides, have carved newels and irontwist glass balusters. The dining room, on the site of the great hall, has a false hammerbeam roof and a chimney piece with re-used 17th century woodwork. On the first floor the long gallery on the east side of the house is on the site of the Elizabethan gallery and contains re-set panelling of the period and a chimneypiece of 1610 removed from a farmhouse. The first floor room over the entrance has an original plaster frieze and a ceiling in three panels, and another bedroom has a ceiling of shallow pitch, with vine, rose and acorn ornament in an ogival pattern. The Japanese Bedroom and an adjoining bedroom have Deuxieme Empire panelling added in 1874. The
library contains woodwork by C R Ashbee and the Guild of Handicraft, including two doors, and bookstack ends carved with the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. The Chapel has a complete scheme of Arts and Crafts decoration, carried out from 1902 until 1923. Murals in tempera by Henry Payne show Lord and Lady Beauchamp and their family. The reredos is by W H Bidlake, the panels and altar frontal by G M Gere, and glass quarries by M Lamplugh. (Country Life, October 16, 1980; October 23, 1980 and October 30, 1980) [4][6]

Madresfield Court (listed grade I) stands within a moat, which is crossed by a bridge over its south arm. The house was rebuilt or altered at various times, especially extensive being the programmes by William Lygon of 1593 and of his namesake (later first Earl Beauchamp) in 1799. The most extensive alterations were possibly those of 1863 88 when P C Hardwick, architect of the Euston arch, was brought in to remodel and modernise the house, using brick, stone, and timber framing in a variety of late medieval and early modern styles heavily influenced by Germanic models. A timber bellcote rises above the centre of the house. An outer moat encloses a further area south of Madresfield Court. Some 50m west of the west arm of the outer moat a cross marks the site of the medieval church of St Mary (demolished 1852) and the grave of the sixth Earl Beauchamp (d 1891). Next to the cross are the graves of the eight Earl Beauchamp (d 1979) and Else, Countess Beauchamp (d 1989). A brick stables block (listed grade II) of about 1800 with 19th century additions lies 50m south of the outer moat. Until the formal gardens were laid out east of the moat in the later 19th century the area was enclosed within another outer moat [5]

Short description but no image. [7]

Newspaper article re: research on the archive at Madresfield. [9]

Description of house and garden [10]

Description and images in Nash, 1799, and 1781 [11][12]

See also photographs.[13]

Undated guide book.[14]

Sources and further reading

<1>Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1968. The Buildings of England: Worcestershire. The Buildings of England. Dewy- 720.94244. p218.
<2*>Bibliographic reference: Page, W. 1924. A History of the County of Worcestershire; Volume IV. Victoria County History. vol IV, p118.
<3>Bibliographic reference: Beauchamp the Earl. 1881. Architectural Societies Reports: Madresfield Court. Architectural Societies Reports. XVI.
<4>Digital archive: English Heritage. Reg updates. THE NATIONAL HERITAGE LIST FOR ENGLAND. English Heritage.
<5*>List: English Heritage. 2004. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest; Worcestershire. English Heritage, National Monuments Record.
<6>Digital archive: English Heritage. 2000. Images of England. English Heritage website of Listed buildings. English Heritage. www.imagesofengland.org.u.
<7>Bibliographic reference: Niven, W. 1873. Illustrations of Old Worcestershire Houses. p39.
<8>Bibliographic reference: Brooks, A, and Pevsner, N . 2007. The Buildings of England: Worcestershire. Yale University Press. p439-45, plate 110.
<9*>Newspaper cutting: Unknown. 1988. Family history in the making. Worcester Evening News. 18.01.88.
<10*>Bibliographic reference: Sidwell, R.. Unknown. Extract: Madresfield Court. Unknown. p64-69.
<11>Bibliographic reference: Nash, T.. 1799. History of Worcestershire - Volume 2. 2. p56-57.
<12>Bibliographic reference: Nash, T.. 1781. History of Worcestershire - Volume I. . 1. p116a-120.
<13*>Photograph: Russell, O.K.. 2010. Colour Photographs of Madresfield Court. WHEAS.
<14*>Unpublished document: Greenway, Richard. Unknown. The Story of Madresfield Court, Malvern. Unknown.