Friday, May 21, 2010

Badby, Northamptonshire

Roadside eyecatcher

We’re so used to rectangular and square buildings that different shapes stand out. This house, on the A361 in Northamptonshire, is built on an octagonal plan, and immediately catches the eye. By why an octagonal house on its own on a main road? When I see something like this two things come to mind. First, a turnpike house where a toll-collector was based; such buildings are often polygonal, so that the occupant can see traffic approaching both ways along the road. Second, a gate lodge, a building type that’s often ornamental and frequently designed to stand out from the crowd.

This example began life as a gate lodge: it stands at what was an entrance to the grounds of a house called Fawsley Park and was probably built in the late-18th or early-19th century, possibly by James Wyatt. Its builders used the local ironstone, gave the windows leaded lights, and put buttresses at some of the corners, probably as much for ornament as for strength. There was originally a stone chimney at the centre of the roof.

By the 1970s the house was derelict, but it was restored in the early 1980s, when the leaded flue was added – perhaps the extension is of a similar date. It certainly seems to have made the lodge into a viable house once more, so that it remains as an attractive feature, next to some bluebell woods on the busy road not far outside Daventry on the way to Banbury.


Wartime Housewife said...


bazza said...

Hello Philip, your blog is right up my street so to speak.
I have read a lot of it and I really enjoy the historical reserach that gives terrific added value to your posts. I am especially interested in architecture in an amateur way.
Have you done any writing about Marlborough? I love the variety of brick-work one can see there.
Thanks for a great blog!

Philip Wilkinson said...

Bazza: Many, many thanks for your comments. I've not written anything about Marlborough yet, but it's certainly a place I like and that I hope to include in the blog soon.

Anonymous said...

Here are some things about octagonal houses in the USA. It was not unique to England.

Jim of Olym

Peter Ashley said...

Lodge, gate and toll houses are right up my turnpike. One in this same Northamptonshire ironstone at Gayhurst near Newport Pagnell became a tiny pub until turning back again.