Sunday, March 7, 2021

Stanton, Gloucestershire

Neighbouring sights

One more post from a trip only a mile or two from home, to remind us all that even the shortest journey can yield up wonders.

Stanton is one of the most picture-postcard beautiful of Cotswold villages. It takes it beauty from an outstanding collection of limestone cottages kept in beautiful condition. They got to be so immaculate in the early-20th century because the village acquired a new lord of the manor, and one rather different from usual. He was Philip Stott, an architect from Oldham, who bought the village in 1906 and devoted most of the rest of his life to restoring its houses, ensuring they were well maintained, and seeing through public works such as the digging of a reservoir to provide a proper water supply.

Stott seems to have been one of those people influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, who cared deeply about keeping buildings maintained using traditional materials and methods, while also realising that people need the basics of modern life like a village hall and clean drinking water. His legacy has lasted many decades since he died in 1937. This house is typical of the region: stone walls, stone slates on the roof, stone mullioned windows, stone chimneys. It has both varieties of dormer windows that are seen hereabouts: two small ones set quite high in the roof and a larger, lower one with a front wall that’s a continuation of the wall below. Both types set a challenge to the roofer when the dormer roof meets the main slope at an angle. This can be managed either with careful slate cutting and installation of leadwork beneath, or with bespoke angle tiles at the join.

The village cross, in shadow but unmistakeable on the left, is a mixture, no doubt put together by Stott. The base and shaft are medieval; the block that tops the shaft and holds a sundial is 17th-century; I’m not sure about the ball finial and cross. Whatever the answer, pains were taken in the 20th century, but the result looks timeless. We were privileged to have this view to ourselves, the day we passed through. The people who live here are likewise lucky, though on sunny summer days when the place fills up with admiring tourists they may reflect that their luck has its price. Such are the drawbacks of paradise.

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