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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1146090



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Fonthill Gifford

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 06-Jan-1966

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 320875

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.



1/86 Remains of Old Fonthill Abbey 6.1.66


Remains of Gothic country house fantasy. 1796-c1818 by James Wyatt for William Beckford, altered in 1840s. Limestone ashlar, Welsh slate roof. All that remains of the vast cruciform building is a fragment of the north wing; the tower fell 1825 and the three other wings were demolished c1845 during building works for the Marquess of Westminster's Fonthill Abbey by Burn. Now consists of the Lancaster tower with short 2-storey wing attached to the north, 4-storey tower has angle buttresses, west side has two lancets to ground floor, 3-light Perpendicular-style window with hoodmould to first floor, oriel window with heraldic shields below and casements to second floor, third floor has blocked mullioned window with hoodmould, battlemented parapet to pitched roof. Two-storey range to left has three small lancets to ground floor and three large pointed lancets with hoodmoulds to first floor, battlemented parapet with corner pinnacles. Left return has angular 2-storey bay with Tudor-arched window and lancets with tracery, some blind, buttresses with offsets and battlemented parapet, rear of this range has lancets and Tudor-arched doorway. Right return of tower has 2-light Perpendicular window with wooden tracery inserted in wall blocked off following demolition of formerly attached range. To rear of tower is square stair turret with chamfered loopholes, rear of tower has two Tudor-arched windows with casements and blind lancet with hoodmould over. Attached to rear of 2-storey range is single-storey cloister range rebuilt in this position. after demolition of rest of Abbey; 5 bays of chamfered Tudor-arched openings with flat roof to right of range with 3-light and 2-light mullioned casements, planked door with hoodmoulds, and double- gabled roof with parapet and crocketed pinnacles, right part ends with octagonal turret with open cupola on shafts with octagonal pointed roof with finial. Interior partly inaccessible at time of survey (December 1985) but ground floor retains Tudor-arched openings and fireplace, possibly reset. The first floor of the tower and short range to north was occupied by the Vaulted Corridor, the Oratory and the Sanctuary with bedrooms in the two floors above, including the state bedroom; no original fittings survive. Service quarters on ground floor. Fonthill Abbey approached from the west via a wooded avenue, half a mile long and set in woodland, partly planted by Beckford, and enclosed by a wall in 1793. Important as only tangible remnant of an extraordinary house. (J. Lees-Milne, William Beckford, 1976; B. Alexander in Country Life 1st December 1966)

Listing NGR: ST9182230997

Selected Sources

Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 46 Wiltshire,

National Grid Reference: ST 91822 30997


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End of official listing