Thursday, August 20, 2015

Brockhampton, Herefordshire

Noisy Parker

Tucked away down a narrow lane amid lush evergreens and folded into a bend in the River Wye north of Ross is Brockhampton, home of a beautiful Arts and Crafts church that has repaid several visits and yielded a post on this blog some years ago. Opposite the church is the drive to the big house, Brockhampton Court, rebuilt in 1893 by George F Armitage in Tudoresque style. The big house can’t be seen from the road, but the North Lodge at the gate is a small landmark, a dazzling bit of Tudoresque timber work.

With its array of black wooden quatrefoils, lancets, struts, braces, and jetties, this lodge looks more Cheshire than Herefordshire and the overhanging roofs and porch look as if they derive as much from the cottage orné tradition (deliberately picturesque cottages dating mostly the from the early-19th century) as from any close imitation of Tudor building. What a dazzler, though: a noisy little building metaphorically sounding its trumpet at the distant gate.
And what a gate, all curly ironwork going this way and that. It’s a piece of work more in keeping with the Arts and Crafts church opposite and maybe is by one of the craftsmen who worked there. I don’t know who designed the gate but the lodge is by Barry Parker, who worked as Armitage’s clerk of works and stayed on to do this extra job. Parker was one of the team (Parker and Unwin) who planned the first garden city (Letchworth) and the exemplary garden suburb (Hampstead Garden Suburb). The year of the Brockhampton lodge, 1902, was the year before Parker and Unwin submitted their plan for Letchworth. The tree-lined roads and vernacular-inspired architecture of the garden cities have many antecedents; perhaps the leafy lanes of this remote spot of rural Herefordshire contributed its share of influence. 


David Gouldstone said...

I've been to Brockhampton, some years ago, but didn't have the sense to turn around and look at the lodge. A good reason to return.

I've lived in Letchworth for nine years (alas, in an ugly 1970s house, not one of the original garden city ones), and worked here for 30, in a building the core of which is by C M Crickmer. Next door is the extraordinary Cloisters, now a Masonic Lodge, but originally built for the Theosophical Society.
Surely worth an article in your blog if you're ever in North Herts!

Philip Wilkinson said...

David: Thank you for this. I certainly intend to get to that neck of the woods in the future.