Building record 0168301000 - DORTON HOUSE (ASHFOLD SCHOOL)


Early seventeenth century mansion, altered in late eighteenth century and now in use as a school

Protected Status/Designation

  • Listed Building (I) 1124266: ASHFOLD SCHOOL


Type and Period (1)

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (Built 1626?, 17th Century to 18th Century - 1600 AD to 1799 AD)


Plan Form - U SHAPED
Grade I. Mansion, now school. Early C17, dated 1626 on staircase soffit, altered 1784. Built for Sir John Dormer. Red brick, moulded ashlar plinth, ashlar quoins and first floor band course, brick parapet with moulded stone string below and stone coping. Tiled roofs, brick chimneys with rows of octagonal shafts. U-plan with central range of 5 bays, gabled side wings of 4 bays and square projections in inner angles. Another short wing to rear. 2 storeys, basement and attic, the central range a little taller than remainder. On the E. front C17 moulded stone windows have had mullions and transoms removed so as to accommodate late C18 sashes. Central range now has tripartite sashes in altered openings, those to first floor in wooden Venetian window frames with minimal Doric pilasters. Central upper window has single arched sash in matching wooden frame with heraldic stone tablet in parapet above. Front gables of side wings have similar Venetian windows to first floor and oval windows in moulded stone frames to attic. Paired sashes to central bays of side wings, one in right wing altered to half-glazed door. Moulded stone mullion windows to basement, 4-light in central range, 2-light to sides. Central range also has C20 hipped dormers. Central C20 door in restored stone arch with late C18 pedimented Doric porch. N. front has 5 widebays, the outer slightly advanced with canted bay windows, the centre bay with square projection. Original fenestration with moulded stone mullions and transoms, the ground floor windows double transomed, each window in the form of a paired cross casement. Irregularly gabled W. front with rectangular oriel window to left, C20 central porch and small C20 extension in angle with rear wing to right. Long S. front, also irregular, has central porch with C17 stone arches, 2 semi-circular, one 4-centred with carved spandrels. Interior: C17 panelling in central screens passage. Hall has very fine early C17 panelled screen with Ionic pilasters, carved frieze and elaborate strapwork crests. Hall also has C17 panelling to lower walls, and moulded stone fireplace with 4-centred arch and plaster cartouche overmantel. Passage to rear of central wing and door to N.W. room have semi-circular stone arches with scrolled keyblocks and ornamental coffering to soffits. Fine staircase in N. wing has turned balusters, moulded handrail, stop-chamfered newels with moulded finials and pendants, and entrance screen with 2 arches on Ionic columns. Elaborate C17 plaster ceiling. Similar ceilings in ground floor room in N. wing and first floor rooms in central range. One of the latter, probably the withdrawing room also has C17 panelling and good wooden fireplace with panelled overmantel and strapwork crests. Former long gallery in N. wing has plain vaulted plaster ceiling. C17 back staircase with moulded square balusters and modillion handrail; another C17 winder stair with splat balusters in S. wing. RCHM I p. 132-5 Mon.2.2 (B7).
Plan of house (copied from a portrait of Sir John Dormer at Rousham, Oxfordshire) in Henry Dryden collection (B8).
Included in English Heritage's Buildings ar Risk Register. Described as priority 4 (C): 'Slow decay; no solution agreed' (B11-14).

Sources (8)

  • <1>SBC7528 Bibliographic reference: LIPSCOMB 1 PP243-244.
  • <3>SBC12769 Bibliographic reference: RCHM BUCKS 1 PP132-135.
  • <7>SBC19811 Bibliographic reference: DoE. 1985. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Buckinghamshire: Aylesbury Vale: Parishes of Boarstall &C. p36.
  • <8>SBC22153 Graphic material: Henry Dryden. 1863. Dorton house, Bucks from a picture of Sir John Dormer Knt at Rousham Co Ox.
  • <11>SBC22671 Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 2006. English Heritage Register of Buildings at Risk 2006. p52.
  • <12>SBC22953 Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 2007. English Heritage Register of Buildings at Risk 2007. p50.
  • <13>SBC23138 Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 2008. Heritage at Risk Register 2008. p211.
  • <14>SBC23453 Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South East. p27.


Grid reference SP 67920 13909 (point)
Civil Parish DORTON, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Jul 31 2018 12:52PM

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