Woodchester Mansion near Stroud named ‘at-risk’ by Historic England

A PROMINENT historic building in Woodchester is among important heritage sites in the area that are in danger of being “lost forever”. 

Woodchester Mansion is one of 15 buildings in the Stroud district highlighted in this year’s heritage at risk register by Historic England.

According to Historic England, any sites added to the register are at risk of being lost due to neglect, decay, or inappropriate development.

The Grade I listed Victorian Gothic house has been described as ‘unsafe’, ‘decaying’ and has been placed at the highest priority category. 

John Goom has volunteered and worked at the mansion for 33 years and said urgent repairs are needed.

“There’s still a lot more work to do,” he said. 

“Being on the register is a good thing and helps us apply for funding and grants. 

“Hopefully over the next few years we can make the mansion sustainable with its own income. 

“We just need the donations and financial support to make the urgent repairs needed. 

“The mansion needs £5 million in total to complete work over several phases.

“The chapel is our next focus which has major outstanding repairs. 

“We are always going to be on the at risk register unless we complete these repairs.” 

In a statement about the mansion Historic England says the building is ‘deteriorating’. 

A quote from the register reads: “The Woodchester Mansion Trust was formed in 1989 to do a continuous programme of conservation and display of the uncompleted Gothic-style masterpiece. 

“In 1991 a protective scaffold was built to cover the leaking roof of the chapel. 

“But the scaffold is now decaying and unsafe.

“Other adjacent roofs then developed serious faults. 

“The east range roofs and north range chimneys have just been repaired with Historic England and Historic Houses Foundation grant aid, but the chapel and other roofs are steadily deteriorating.”

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: “As the threat of climate change grows, the reuse and sensitive upgrading of historic buildings and places becomes ever more important. 

“Finding new uses for buildings and sites rescued from the Register avoids the high carbon emissions associated with demolishing structures and building new.” 

Historic England spent £0.95 million in grants on 46 sites across the South West during 2021/22.

The register this year includes the following buildings in the Stroud District: 

  • Main building at Stanley Mills, Ryeford, King’s Stanley
  • St Mary’s House, London Road, Minchinhampton
  • Woodchester Mansion
  • Old Mill Building at Longfords Mills near Avening 
  • Church of St Mary, Arlingham
  • Church of St Mary the Virgin, Berkeley
  • Church of St Michael and Angels, Eastington
  • Church of St Mary, Fretherne with Saul
  • Church of St James, Fretherne with Saul
  • St Giles’s Church, Hillesley
  • Church of St Swithin, Leonard Stanley
  • Church of St Andrew, Whitminster
  • Bowl barrow 450 metres south east of Upper Hyde Farm, Minchinhampton
  • Miserden Castle mound, Miserden

You can see the full list of historic sites at risk on the Historic England website here  – bit.ly/3tkkZl7 

You can donate to the mansion on their website here – www.woodchestermansion.org.uk

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