Friday, November 28, 2014

Leominster, Herefordshire

Toujours la politesse

As I left Leominster Priory after looking at the ducking stool that formed the subject of my previous post, the sun came out, warming the mid-18th century red brick of this lovely house on the approach road to the church. I'd admired this house before, and its polite architecture, but I'd not seen it without cars or vans parked in front. The lack of these, and the sun, seemed to demand a photograph.

I'm often taken by the quiet impressiveness of Georgian house fronts like this. None of the heavy effects of the earlier period, none of the filigree decoration or bow windows of the later Regency. Just good honest brickwork and the usual adornments – quoins, keystones, a doorcase with its own curved pediment, a larger, triangular pediment (with nice oil de boeuf window) at the top. As is so often the case, the window frames were renewed, with large panes, in the 19th century, but at least these changes don't destroy the overall proportions.

I don’t know who built this house or originally lived in it – someone of substance, clearly, commissioned the town's best Georgian house. For part of the 20th century it was, I believe, divided into flats, and I read in one place that during World War II troops were billeted there. It is now a care home. Its polite architecture has clearly proved both adaptable and resilient.


Stephen Barker said...

very pleasing in an understated manner.

Anonymous said...

This appears to be a building known as The Forbury in Church Street, named after the little 13th century chapel next door.

Here is the English Heritage listing details:

And here is a great image from about 100 years ago: See also the next three pages too for other views.

Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

Much of the quality no doubt comes from the texture of the bricks and the fact that they are not laid uniformly (as too often nowadays) in stretchers. "Understatement" may not be the only virtue you could squeeze out of these materials - there seems to be a universal philosophy that bricklaying always has to be as plain as plain and that decorations and mouldings are evil. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

It is now a nursing home, but back in the 70's it was flats, where my grandmother lived and which I often stayed during the holidays. Unfortunately, by the 70's it had long ago been stripped of its integrity, linoleum flooring on the stairs, the original fireplaces removed ect. Still it was a lovely place to visit and I have happy memories of the place.