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Bushmead, Elham House and Jay Cottage

A Grade II Listed Building in Farnham, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.9308 / 50°55'50"N

Longitude: -2.0617 / 2°3'42"W

OS Eastings: 395759

OS Northings: 114597

OS Grid: ST957145

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZZ.FLK

Mapcode Global: FRA 66KN.4MF

Entry Name: Bushmead, Elham House and Jay Cottage

Listing Date: 22 March 1973

Last Amended: 5 January 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1118520

English Heritage Legacy ID: 103642

Location: Farnham, North Dorset, Dorset, DT11

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset

Civil Parish: Farnham

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Farnham St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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A house, probably early C19, converted to a school in the 1840s, and extended and used as a museum by Pitt Rivers in the late C19. Further alterations occurred in the late C20 when it was sub-divided into three dwellings.


MATERIALS: brick with flint bands and brick dressings, rendered to all but the rear elevation, with moulded brick stacks along the ridge and a roof of fish-scale tiles. Regular fenestration with late-C20 timber casements, except for some to the rear which may be late C19, and moulded barge boards.

PLAN: the building comprises a principal range with a central projecting bay and a porch with cross-wings to either end; the left-hand wing and the porch were added at the end of the C19. All are of one and a half storeys. To the rear are the former late-C19 galleries which were originally attached to the house by a connecting range. The latter was demolished in the late C20 when the former galleries were converted to dwellings.

EXTERIOR: symmetrical front elevation with five window range flanked by gabled outer wings which break forwards. The left (north-west) wing has a large three-light mullioned and transomed window beneath a square head. The central range has a projecting central gabled entrance bay with a tripartite Tuscan porch of ashlar and a moulded entablature. The porch is now glazed and has late-C20 double doors to the middle section. To either side of the entrance are a two-light window and a doorway, formerly a window, under a gabled hood. To the upper floor are four casement windows in gablets. The right-hand cross-wing has a matching mullioned and transomed window to the other cross-wing. The south return has projecting entrance porch to the centre with a recessed late-C19 plank door. There is a two-light casement to either side of the entrance and two dormer windows to the roof. The rear (north-east) elevation has walls of exposed banded flint and brick and is of similar style to the front. There is a central projecting bay or wing with a moulded brick stack and two roof lights, which has a single-storey lean-to to either side. The windows are mostly two-light casements with horizontal glazing bars and leaded lights, under segmental brick heads, with gabled dormers and gablets to the upper floor. There is a blocked window to the ground floor and the left-hand lean-to has a late-C20 window and sliding patio doors. To the right, is an entrance with late-C20 door to the south-east side of the north cross-wing and, to the north-west return are a patio door and a casement window to the ground floor, and three regularly-spaced dormer windows above.

INTERIOR: this has been sub-divided into three separate dwellings and retains little of historic interest. Both cross-wings have C19 roof carpentry, without decorative details. The interior of the central section, now known as Elham House, was not inspected.


Elm House, as it was previously known, was originally a farmhouse that was probably constructed in the early part of the C19. It was converted to a residential school for Romany Gypsy or Traveller children in circa 1845 by the Reverend John West. After approximately eight years the school, however, failed due to falling pupil numbers and the building became vacant.

In 1880 Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox (1827-1900), an Army officer and a pioneering collector of ethnographic and antiquarian objects, inherited an extensive estate in Dorset and Wiltshire from his cousin, Horace Pitt, sixth Baron Rivers, as well as the addition of Pitt Rivers to his name. He retired from the army in 1882. That same year he was appointed the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments under the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882. Pitt Rivers also devoted much of the last twenty years of his life to a series of well-recorded, large-scale archaeological excavations; mainly on his estate on Cranborne Chase, but also elsewhere in the country. All his anthropological and archaeological work was aimed at public education and this was mainly realised through the creation of two museums in the 1880s: the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Farnham Museum at the vacant Elm House on his estate in Dorset. Pitt Rivers has been described as the first person to 'establish an archaeological-cum-ethnographical museum, a museum planned to illustrate the worldwide development of human culture and to do so specifically for educational purposes'. He is also seen by many as one of the central figures in the development of archaeology.

Elm House was initially large enough for his needs but Pitt Rivers soon extended the building with a further cross-wing on the west side and added purpose-built galleries to the rear. He was also responsible for adding the Tuscan porch to the principal elevation. Although it was a museum for many years, the building continued to be known locally as 'The Gypsy School'. Farnham Museum closed in 1966 and a substantial part of the archaeological collection was re-located to the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. In the 1980s the building was sub-divided into three dwellings and the stone bell-cote to the central bay was removed. The galleries to the rear were also converted to residential use.

To the front (south-west) of the building is a pair of banded ashlar gate piers with ball finials which carry the inscriptions 'ARP' for Augustus Pitt Rivers, and the date '1894'. They are listed at Grade II.

Reasons for Listing

Bushmead, Elham House and Jay Cottage is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic association: for its close and significant association with General Pitt Rivers and in the context of the development of educational museums in the late C19;
* Historic interest: as a pre-Board school that was established specifically for the local Gypsy community;
* Architectural interest: as a well-designed building in a Tudor Gothic style which achieves a picturesque effect through its elevations and massing; the architectural interest of the building is concentrated in the exterior;
* Intactness: despite the late-C20 conversion it retains a good proportion of historic fabric; the interior though is not of interest.

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