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The Mansion

A Grade II* Listed Building in Tring, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7917 / 51°47'30"N

Longitude: -0.6576 / 0°39'27"W

OS Eastings: 492679

OS Northings: 211189

OS Grid: SP926111

Mapcode National: GBR F4N.NJP

Mapcode Global: VHFRW.K76B

Plus Code: 9C3XQ8RR+MX

Entry Name: The Mansion

Listing Date: 29 May 1981

Last Amended: 29 May 1986

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1342226

English Heritage Legacy ID: 355726

Location: Tring, Dacorum, Hertfordshire, HP23

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Tring

Built-Up Area: Tring

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Tring

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 28/09/2020

SP 9211

MANSION DRIVE (east side)
Tring Park School for the Performing Arts
The Mansion
(Formerly listed as (The Arts Educational Schools) The Mansion, Tring Park, MANSION DRIVE, previously listed as The Mansion)


Country house, now a school. Circa 1682-83 by Sir Christopher Wren for Henry Guy, Secretary of the Treasury to Charles II. Altered around 1786 for Sir Drummond Smith, a London banker. Purchased in 1872 by Baron Lionel de Rothschild, the first practicing Jew to sit as a Member of Parliament, as a wedding present for his son Sir Nathaniel (later Lord) de Rothschild. Greatly altered externally after 1872 for the Rothschild family, partly rebuilt but retaining Wren's plan and conception. Interior extensively refitted in Wren manner. Red brick with lavish stone dressings and slated Mansard roofs.

Now in French Renaissance dress the house is of basement, two storeys and Mansarded attics, with near symmetrical entrance front on north and similar garden front on south. Remarkable plan with smaller rooms concentrated in parallel north and south ranges and space between occupied entirely by double height great hall and double height staircase on a common east-west axis and separated only by an open colonnade on ground floor carrying a gallery over, which fronts the landing to the staircase and extends through the wings at each end on the same axis as the entrance from the north. The staircase is inset from the west end to allow the original kitchens to project at low level here without any obstruction to the three windows lighting the stair. Hall lit only from east, at two levels. Entrance front 2-2-3-2-2 bays, divided by chanelled pilasters and with cornice between storeys and modillioned cornice and balustrade above. Windows with architrave surrounds and cornices, cills with consoles, aprons and cill bands. Triple keystones and plate glass sashes. Centre has large stone round arched porte cochère with balustrade over, segmental pedimented stone framed dormer windows rise through the parapet, within the centre a three part one with elaborate top. Wide Mansard roof to centre, and similar pavilion roof to right and left. Garden front: similar, no porte cochere.

Interior: very elaborate with huge central hall of two storeys with vaulted ceiling and with great staircase at one end. Decoration all in late C17 style. Good plasterwork and other features elsewhere. The interior is much of it in late C17 style and some of it, on close inspection might be original work of the Wren period. The conception of the great hall and staircase is original and extremely remarkable for the late C17 and is similar to the rather later arrangements at Easton Neston. Roger North who was acquainted with Wren, in his treatise Of Building (eds H.M.Colvin and J.Newman, Oxford (1981) 73-74) confirms the house is by Wren, describes the spatial arrangement of hall, stair and gallery and also a variation of the design as built, from that first intended, with the entrance steps being within the north range rather than in front of it. Two drawings in RIBA Collection show the original design. Sir Drummond Smith's work in the 1780s remains in the refurbished rooms on the ground floor of the south range, with elaborate plaster ceilings. The Rothschilds after 1872 provided further bedrooms in French style pavilion roofs, enriched the exterior, added a large saloon in pavilion to south west, rebuilt east end of hall as a canted two storeys bay but renewed the cantilevered gallery across this end at first floor level, put in a hydraulic lift, and provided kitchen and bakery etc. in grand style in glazed brick basements. Marble reliefs in saloon by W.S Rome 1889 and chimneypiece links marble prow of a ship and lifesize female figures.

(RCHM Typescript)

Listing NGR: SP9267911189

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