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The Dower House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Sarsden, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9171 / 51°55'1"N

Longitude: -1.5571 / 1°33'25"W

OS Eastings: 430559

OS Northings: 224376

OS Grid: SP305243

Mapcode National: GBR 5RM.P5G

Mapcode Global: VHBZF.Y2PP

Plus Code: 9C3WWC8V+R5

Entry Name: The Dower House

Listing Date: 1 May 1985

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1200341

English Heritage Legacy ID: 254097

Location: Sarsden, West Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX7

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Sarsden

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Churchill

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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8/199 The Dower House

House, latterly divided into 5 cottages now one house. Circa 1825 by G.S. Repton
for the spinster sisters of James Haughton Langston of Sarsden House (q.v.);
altered mid-C20 and again in process of restoration at time of resurvey (August
1987). Coursed and squared limestone rubble; stone slate roofs with stone
chimneys (some replaced in blue engineering brick in later C19 but now being
rebuilt in stone). Picturesque cottage orne style with complex plan and
elevations. Main rooms grouped in compact 2-storey block with gabled projections
to north-east (hall), south-east (dining room, now study) and south-west
(drawing room); principal bedrooms over. From this a 1 1/2-storey L-plan block
steps down slope to north-west, then extends north-east into comparatively large
service block terminating in one-storey annexes and walled yard. All elevations
have casement windows with leaded lights or glazing bars; the roof overhangs
substantially at gables and verges. North-east side. Gabled projection to right
of centre with 3-light window to ground floor, 2-light window to first floor and
cusped bargeboards. To right, main entrance (boarded door) with 2-light window
over to left. Projecting chimney stack terminating in 2 diagonal brick shafts,
partly obscrued by loggia with lean-to roof, hipped to left, supported on
primitive order: 5 irregularly-spaced timber columns with square abaci carrying
bark-covered lintel. Main roof hipped to right with ridge stack of 3 enriched
round shafts. South-east side. Gabled projection to right with 2-storey 5-light
canted bay window; cusped bargeboards over. Above lower lights is stone-tiled
canopy carried on thin curved brackets. To left, single-storey projection in
angle with roof, half-hipped to left, extended as canopy on brackets (as bay);
casement doors with overlight beneath. Above gabled half-dormer with 2-light
window and scalloped bargeboards. South-west side. To right gabled projection
with cusped bargeboards. On ground floor circular bay window in 5 bays defined
by rustic 'fluted' columns carrying square abaci and bark-covered lintel, each
bay with 2-light casement window. Conical roof truncated with lead platform
forming balcony (originally with iron railing) reached by 3-light casement with
stone slated canopy on brackets above. To left building steps down slope in 3
stages, roofs hipped to left, the final stage of 1 1/2 storeys with hipped
half-dormer. Interior. Drawing Room has shallow elliptical groined vault with
elliptical arched recesses on all sides. Until mid-C20 these had chiaroscuro
murals of the muses painted on paper. Main bedrooms and passages also have
plaster vaults. Some neo-classical chimney pieces and other details introduced
mid-C20 when new dining room created on ground floor of service range. Staircase
has stick balusters to carved open string, circular newels and ramped handrail.
Originally known as Sarsgrove Cottage, the house was divided into 5 estate
workers cottages in later C19 and was returned to one house in mid-C20. Much of
the interior decoration is similar to that at nearby Sarsden Glebe (q.v.) also
designed by Repton. Repton's drawings are in the RIBA drawings a collection (K2/14.1-3)
The ground plan is shaded to show 2, 1½ and 1 storeys, leading to the misconception
that he enlarged an earlier building. (Buildings of England: Oxfordshire p753; Colvin
(1978), p679; Connoisseur, Vol 138 (1956), pp.222-5; Nigel Temple: 'Sarsden, Oxford-
shire': Journal of Garden History: Vol 6, No 2 (1986), pp89-lll (esp pp. 108-109)).

Listing NGR: SP3055924376

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