Friday, March 9, 2012

Inside Jasper Conran's "Ven House": magnificent 18th century stately home Somerset, England

Ven House in Milborne Port, Somerset, England is an English manor house  that has been designated as a Grade I listed building.
Construction of the smaller William and Mary style  house, was completed in 1698–1700; the house was enlarged around 1725–30  for James Medlycott  by Nathaniel Ireson, who retained the west front of the earlier house. It stands on an artificially raised terrace, and is surrounded by grounds that were laid out at the time by Richard Grange.  It was altered and extended by Thomas Cubitt and Decimus Burton in 1835-36.
The house passed through the Medlycot family through the 18th and 19th centuries, until they sold much of the estate between 1918 and 1925. The house itself was let to a succession of tenants until Sir Hubert Mervyn Medlycot sold it in 1957.  The house has changed hands four times since 1993, and, in 2006, had a guide price of £8.5m.  In 2009 the house was and is still owned by Jasper Conran who complained about plans to extend a slurry pit and install polytunnels close to the land.

The house, which has a rectangular plan of 7 bays by 5 bays, is built of red brick in Flemish bond, with local Ham stone dressings. The north and south fronts are divided by two giant Corinthian pilasters, placed to suggest a central block of three bays. The roof is hipped with Welsh slate behind balustraded parapets. Attached to the house and in matching style were north west  and north east  pavilions. Along the south side of the house is a terrace balustraded to match the house.
When the house was first built the main entrance gateway was some 400 metres (1,300 ft) to the north of the house and linked East Street and The Old Road (Dorset), In the 19th century this was superseded by London Road, which split much of the parkland from the house, and the Ham stone gate piers and wrought iron gate were relocated to their current position 35 metres (115 ft) north west of the house
The 1836 building work by Decimus Burton, which provided a new drawing-room for Sir W. Medleycott  included the construction of the corridor linking Ven House and the Orangery, and the Orangery itself. Also constructed around 1836 were the Stabling and several other outbuildings, which are attached to east side of the house.

The house originally had around 70 hectares (170 acres) of land including 6 hectares (15 acres) of formal gardens and pleasure grounds, and around 64 hectares (160 acres) of parkland. The house still has almost 14 hectares (35 acres) of gardens and grounds, including a stream which forms part of the River Yeo.
To the south east of the house is Walled garden which was a kitchen garden or plant nursery, but is now largely ornamental.  It is surrounded by red brick walls approximately 4 metres (13 ft) high.
The remnants of the early 18th-century formal gardens and formal park landscape have been designated Grade II in the South Somerset Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.