Sunday, October 14, 2012
A glimpse of gables
After a short walk around the restored docks at Lydney when I watched mist lift from the River Severn, I walked back towards the industrial estate under a virtually cloudless sky. Glancing up a potholed road past silent factories (whitewashed brick, shuttered concrete, blanked-out windows, lots of chain-link fencing and barbed wire) I caught sight of an old gable. I followed the chain-link fence until I left it behind and, beyond a field, a view opened up of a gabled sandstone house of the 17th century.
This is Naas House, built for the Jones family (William Jones was founder of the Haberdashers' Company in London) probably in the early-17th century. It's a big house – this is just one end – and the mullioned windows, string courses, and parapeted gables are very much of the period, as are the false windows in the gables. The central turret, though, with its lead-covered cupola, is a sophisticated touch. From here the owners could walk out on to a viewing platform and look towards the River Severn (to the right) or towards Lydney and the Forest of Dean (to the left).
The Jones family upgraded the interior in the early 18th century, installing panelling in a number of rooms, but in 1771 Mary Jones, daughter of the owners, was murdered on her way home from a dinner at the rectory at Lydney. Soon after this the family moved to another house near Newnham on Severn. Although the family kept Naas House (a Rev Edward Jones lived there in 1839) it was no longer their main residence and this was probably why there were few further alterations and the house keeps its Jacobean character in its quiet backwater.