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RAF Brampton Former Coach House and Stables at Number 1 Officers Mess

A Grade II Listed Building in Brampton, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3169 / 52°19'0"N

Longitude: -0.2296 / 0°13'46"W

OS Eastings: 520774

OS Northings: 270234

OS Grid: TL207702

Mapcode National: GBR J2T.NRS

Mapcode Global: VHGM1.Y1Z5

Entry Name: RAF Brampton Former Coach House and Stables at Number 1 Officers Mess

Listing Date: 19 May 1975

Last Amended: 10 July 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1317555

English Heritage Legacy ID: 54531

Location: Brampton, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, PE28

County: Cambridgeshire

District: Huntingdonshire

Civil Parish: Brampton

Built-Up Area: Brampton

Traditional County: Huntingdonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Brampton St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Ely

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A coach house and stable block circa 1825, built for Lady Olivia Bernard Sparrow probably by John Buonarotti Papworth, and altered in the C20.


MATERIALS: yellow brick laid in Flemish bond with a tile covering to the roofs.

PLAN: 'L'-shaped. The Coach House and Stables form the west side of the courtyard to the house.

EXTERIOR: the coach house is of two-storeys, with an adjoining single-storey stable block and has a hipped roof. The coach house has a brick, saw-tooth eaves cornice and a crenellated parapet with small corner polygonal turrets as finials. The south, east and west elevations have a central pediment surmounted by a finial turret; the north facade has twin pediments. There are angled buttresses to each corner. The west elevation faces the service wing of the house; there are two outer double doors and in the centre there are three, six-panel doors and two narrow casement windows and a casement window at the first floor. The south elevation has a taking-in door at the first floor with an inserted window above. The door and window openings generally have flat, gauged-brick heads.

Attached to the south-west is the stable block. There is a saw-tooth brick cornice to the gable roof which has small, gabled ventilation dormers and ogee-arched bargeboards. The doors and window openings have shallow-arched, segmented brick heads. The sash windows have glazing bars. Three windows and two doors face south, one window and two doors face east. The west elevation has two outer fanlights with radiating glazing bars. At the south end is a low-level hatch for feed or hay.

INTERIOR: the coach house retains the original floor coverings at the ground floor, while on the first floor there are some C19 fireplaces indicating that this space was used for service accommodation. The stable block retains original floor coverings and at the west end, a groom's room with timber wainscotting and a C19 fireplace.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached to the north-east corner of the coach house is a single-storey building of yellow, stock brick with a shallow, slated, hipped roof and one set of double doors. Its rear wall is formed by a section of the C17 red-brick, former kitchen garden wall. Internally, it has a king-post roof and original brick floor.


Brampton Park has C12 origins, when it was held in direct fealty to the King by William the Sokeman. It is likely that a Royal hunting lodge existed on the estate, but its exact location is unknown; the house was described as ruinous by 1328. During the C16, the Throckmorton family built ‘a fair brick house’ here. The house was extensively remodelled between 1805 and 1825 by Lady Olivia Bernard Sparrow, who ran the estate after the death of her husband in 1805. Elements of the C17 house may have been incorporated into Brampton Park House which is currently used as the Officers’ Mess and listed at Grade II. Lady Olivia commissioned Thomas Steadman Whitwell to rebuild the house in 1821-22. John Buonarotti Papworth undertook further alterations in 1825 and probably designed the Coach House and entrance lodge, both listed at Grade II. Historic map extracts included in the desk-based assessment demonstrate the evolution of the house’s footprint in the first half of the C19, and historic illustrations and photographs attest to its grandeur and rich architectural detailing.

Most of the other buildings and structures built as part of the estate no longer remain. One arm of the wall garden survives and incorporates C17 brickwork. It forms the back wall of a small outbuilding attached to the Coach House. During World War I the camp housed German prisoners of war. At the end of hostilities, the house was restored to Lord Mandeville, who let it for domestic use. During World War II the house was known as Sun Babies Nursery caring for about 100 babies evacuated from London. It continued in this role until spring 1942 when the estate was taken over by the United States Army Air Corps, being officially activated as the First Bomb Wing Headquarters. In September 1945 the First Air Division HQ, as Brampton was now known, moved to nearby Alconbury. In 1955 RAF Brampton became a permanent establishment and from 1957 accommodated the Central Reconnaissance Establishment (CRE), and Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC); JARIC remains to this day. Today, RAF Brampton is an operational site under Air Command, providing accommodation and support facilities for a range of lodger units.

The Coach House and Stables are little altered externally. Inside, an inserted water tank and inspection pit indicate a conversion to a garage in the late C19 or early C20. The ground floor is currently used for storage but the first floor is vacant; some partitions were inserted in the C20. Internally, the Stables retain few contemporary fixtures and fittings except in the groom's room. It, too, is used for storage.

Reasons for Listing

The early-C19 Coach House and Stable block at RAF Brampton is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons.

* Architectural Interest: the building is well-constructed and echoes many of the distinctive features and motifs of the main house (formerly Brampton Park House, now the Officers' Mess) such as the turreted pediments and crenellated parapet, affording a strong stylistic association between the two buildings;
* Alteration: the building is little altered and retains its exterior form;
* Interior: the plan-form remains largely intact and the grooms' room retains its original fixtures and fittings;
* Group Value: the Coach House and Stable block has strong group value with the former main house and the former lodge to the estate (known as the Gatehouse), both listed at Grade II.

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