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Pump House at Norris Castle

A Grade II Listed Building in East Cowes, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.7617 / 50°45'42"N

Longitude: -1.2708 / 1°16'14"W

OS Eastings: 451525

OS Northings: 96041

OS Grid: SZ515960

Mapcode National: GBR 89S.3J8

Mapcode Global: FRA 8772.DR4

Plus Code: 9C2WQP6H+MM

Entry Name: Pump House at Norris Castle

Listing Date: 16 November 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1438954

Location: East Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO32

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: East Cowes

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: East Cowest St James

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Pump house, early C19, for Lord Henry Seymour.


Pump house, early C19, for Lord Henry Seymour.

MATERIALS: constructed of coursed rubble with a red-brick water tank and slate roof coverings.

PLAN: a rectangular single-storey building with a single bay extension at the east end.

EXTERIOR: the Pump House is a single-storey building with a hipped slate roof. It is six bays long and a single bay wide, orientated north-west to south-east. The main façade faces south-west and comprises, from west to east; two bays of eight-over-eight sashes, a square-headed carriage entrance containing timber-boarded double doors with strap hinges, and two further sashes. An extension, added prior to 1845, is attached at the south-east end. It is formed of a single bay, recessed back from the main elevation, containing a timber-boarded door. A red-brick water tank, set on a squared-stone plinth, is situated to the rear. The north-west, north-east and south-east elevations are blind, without any openings.

INTERIOR: the main part of the building, at the west, has latterly served as a coach house. It is covered by a king-post roof with wrought-iron straps and dragon ties, and contains a well set into a flagstone floor. There is a blocked doorway in the south-east wall. The single bay extension contains two hand pumps; a mid-C19 cast-iron hand pump inscribed ‘J. TYLOR & SONS LONDON’ mounted on a wooden plank attached to the north-west wall, and a late C19 double cylinder hand pump inscribed ‘CLEMENTS JEAKES & CO. 51 GT. RUSSELL ST. LONDON’.


The Pump House, as it is now known, is situated within a copse on the south side of the pleasure grounds of Norris Castle estate. In 1795 Lord Henry Seymour (1746-1830) purchased a small farm called ‘Norris’ and subsequently constructed a marine villa estate. It included Norris Castle, a Gothic Revival house built in the form of a castle, and a castellated model farm (Norris Castle Farm) constructed to the designs of the architect James Wyatt (1746-1813) from c1799 (both Grade I listed). A landscaped park with an oval loop of carriage drive was created from former fields covering 124 acres and is shown on the 1810 OS map (Grade I registered). The inclusion of a watercolour view of Norris by the landscape designer Humphry Repton (1752-1818) in the 1805 edition of Peacock's Polite Repository suggests his likely involvement in the design (Carter et al 1982). Lord Seymour held an interest in agricultural improvement, which was integrated into the new estate. The extensive model farm housed cattle and horses with manure being utilised on an attached kitchen garden. Engravings indicate that the park served as pasture for cattle, sheep, and a muster of peacocks.

The Pump House was built in the early C19. A 1795 plan of the Norris estate shows a field called ‘Well Close’ immediately to the east of the farm buildings. It is likely that the Pump House was built over an existing well in this location. It is not shown on the small scale (one inch to one mile) 1810 OS map but is first recorded in a set of 1830 sale particulars as: ‘An Engine House, to supply the Castle and Premises with Water’ (Phibbs 2016: 15). A small, single bay, extension was subsequently added to the east and is shown on the 1845 Tithe map. It contains two hand-pumps; a cast-iron hand pump by J. Tylor and Sons, London, of a type that appears in an advertisement of 1859, and a double cylinder pump by Clements Jeakes and Co, London. The building is shown on the 1864 and 1898 OS maps, with the surrounding copse marked as a ‘Rookery’. It is labelled as a ‘well house’ on a 1916 estate plan.

Reasons for Listing

The Pump House, built in the early C19 for Lord Henry Seymour, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: as a relatively rare surviving example of an early C19 pump house on a villa estate;
* Historic interest: as an important component to the working of the Norris Castle estate, providing a water supply to the house, farm and ancillary buildings within the landscaped park;
* Fixtures and fittings: for the notable survival of a mid-C19 cast-iron hand pump and late-C19 double cylinder pump;
* Group value; as part of a marine villa estate of outstanding architectural and historic interest, including a Grade I listed house and model farm, Grade II listed lodges, Bathing House and attached sea wall, two cattle shelters and four stone-lined watering ponds, within a Grade I registered landscape, adjacent to a Grade II* registered park and Grade I listed house at Osborne.

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