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Former St Margaret's Convent School

A Grade II Listed Building in Midhurst, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9861 / 50°59'9"N

Longitude: -0.7406 / 0°44'26"W

OS Eastings: 488494

OS Northings: 121494

OS Grid: SU884214

Mapcode National: GBR DF2.5L4

Mapcode Global: FRA 96BH.WTY

Entry Name: Former St Margaret's Convent School

Listing Date: 17 September 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393969

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508824

Location: Midhurst, Chichester, West Sussex, GU29

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester

Civil Parish: Midhurst

Built-Up Area: Midhurst

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Midhurst St Mary Magdalene and St Denis

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text

MIDHURST

1899/0/10068 PETERSFIELD ROAD
17-SEP-10 Former St Margaret's Convent School

II
House, 1830s, converted to a convent in the late C19. Later alterations include a bridge to the rear connecting it to a 1960s school building; the link and the school lack special interest and are not included in the listing.

EXTERIOR: The oldest part of the building (early C19) is a three-window-bay house constructed of local stone, rendered to the façade, with red brick dressings to the rear windows and a hipped slate roof. The early C20 addition, which extended the frontage by one window bay, is in brick. It is likely that the house was either rendered or re-rendered at this time, for the rendering on each phase matches. The slate roofs of both parts are also the same, suggesting that the house was reroofed at the start of the C20 too. A section of the building to the rear has a tiled roof; this is likely to have been the original roofing material. The shallow-hipped pitch of the roof is typical of the early C19, however, and it might be that the roof timbers are original to the house.

The house has a projecting gabled porch, which appears on the first edition Ordnance Survey map but not on the tithe map and is likely to have been added in the second half of the C19. Stylistically, it would be reasonable to assume that this was at the same time as the timber bargeboard perforated with quatrefoils on the façade's gable pediment. The windows are the original hornless timber sashes in the oldest part of the house; on the ground floor they have twelve-over-twelve panes set under a moulded architrave with consoles; and on the first floor they have six-over-six panes, with original panes of glass surviving in places. The windows in the early C20 extension are the originals and are horned timber sashes. Two original hornless sash windows survive to the rear.

INTERIOR: the original arrangement of rooms is readable and there is a substantial quantity of C19 joinery, some relating to the original phase of construction, some to the house's conversion to a convent at the end of the C19. Most significant in the former category is the principal staircase in the central entrance hall, an open-well stair in mahogany with stick balusters and a moulded handrail terminating in a curtail. Flanking the landing window at the top of the staircase are two original china cupboards with glass doors. Also surviving are shutters to the sash windows on both floors, reeded architraves to doors of the ground floor principal rooms, skirting boards, and a number of panelled doors. The principal room to the right of the hall has an original cornice and a large opening dividing it from a smaller room to the rear, the latter with a decorative timber surround and two square timber columns in antis. The two principal rooms to the left of the hall are separated by double doors set in a reeded surround with paterae, the original arrangement. There are three surviving marble fireplaces in the ground floor reception rooms, each with reeded surrounds with paterae and cast-iron grates. To the rear of the house is a servants' staircase; the small room next to it on the ground floor contains some original cupboards. The timber lockers in the servants' passageway are likely to date to the building's conversion to a convent in the early C20, as are the four lockers in what was a first floor dormitory. In the early C20 extension to the east of the older house there is an original cast-iron fireplace, doors, and a staircase.

HISTORY: The villa was constructed in the first half of the C19, most likely the 1830s, and appears on the 1841 tithe map. Changes to the building have occurred since and can be traced on historic maps. Extensions to the rear, which have since been demolished, appear in the second half of the C19, for example. An extra room was added to the right-hand-side of the front of the house at the beginning of the C20, in a style in keeping with the original building. By this time, the house was occupied by the Sisters of Mercy, a Roman Catholic order of nuns who arrived in Midhurst in 1888. Elements of the interior, such as timber lockers in the servants' corridors on the ground floor, relate to the conversion of the house to a convent at the end of the C19.

In the 1960s, the house was linked by means of a first floor bridge to part of the convent school, which had since developed in the outbuildings to the rear of the house. In the 1980s a new chapel was built for the convent and school, again with a link at the rear of the old house, this time on the ground floor. These building lack special interest and are not included in the list entry.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: This former house on Petersfield Road, Midhurst is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: a large early-C19 detached villa, which is shown on the 1841 tithe map
* Intactness: much of the plan, fabric and appearance of the building is as it was in the 1830s, including the timber sash windows, and a substantial and elegant mahogany staircase

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

This former house on Petersfield Road, Midhurst should be listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: a large early-C19 detached villa, which is shown on the 1841 tithe map
* intactness: much of the plan, fabric and appearance of the building is as it was in the 1830s, including the timber sash windows, and a substantial and elegant mahogany staircase

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