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Iford Manor House

Westwood, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Iford Manor House

The house from the bridge, with a statue of Britannia

Iford Manor house may include parts of a house dating back to the 15th century, but the main building is in Georgian style from the 1730s. It is faced in ashlar stone from the nearby Westwood Quarries and is of five bays and three storeys, with rusticated projecting quoins, topped with an open balustrade. The windows of the ground and first floors are under triangular pediments, except for the central one, which has a segmental pediment. The central doorway is surrounded by a bolection moulding and is also under a segmental pediment.

The main fa├žade faces southwest; a range was added along the northwest (left) side in the late 18th or early 19th centuries. Of a similar date, but much altered, is the detached stable block further to the northwest, the front of which has a projecting medieval-style oriel window.

On the other side of the road down from Westwood is a high wall with blocked windows that remains from a demolished house that belonged to a separate estate, but is now the kitchen garden of Iford Manor House.

History

The Iford estate began as a small holding in the Westwood manor that belonged to the Priory of St Swithun in Winchester. It was given around 1374 to the Carthusian Priory of Hinton Charterhouse, across the River Frome valley in Somerset. There was probably a house on the estate on the site of the present one.

With the dissolution of Hinton Priory the Iford estate, in Wiltshire and Somerset, was bought by Thomas Horton in 1543; his family, who were closely associated with Bradford, had previously held Iford as tenants of the Priory. During the 17th century Iford was sold by the Hortons in 1625 and passed through the hands of Sir Edward Hungerford, his nephew who was also Sir Edward and Henry Baynton of Bromham. William Chanler or Chandler of Bradford bought Iford in 1700 and it was c1730 under the Chandlers that the classical south-west front of the house was built. Iford passed in 1749 to the related John Halliday, who sold it in 1764 to Charles Dingley. From 1777 to 1858 it was in the hands of members of the Gaisford family and from then the 72 acres in Westwood and about 100 acres in Somerset came to William Rooke, followed by his wife Julia until 1899 after her death in 1896.

The architect and garden designer Harold Ainsworth Peto (1854-1933) then bought it and made the house and garden into what they are today. Lady Serena Matheson, daughter of Harold Peto’s nephew Sir Michael Peto sold it in 1965 to Elizabeth Cartwright, who retains it today, now married as Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett.

The Peto Gardens

Iford Manor garden

Iford Manor is mostly known for the Italianate garden that was laid out by Harold Peto and featuring many architectural fragments of Roman, romanesque and medieval carved stone that he had collected, mainly from Italian churches.