Salisbury, Wiltshire  -  The Cathedral Close

Click on photos below to enlarge
Notes in italics from Wiltshire by Nikolaus Pevsner Revised by Bridget Cherry (1975)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London


It may well be said that Salisbury's is the most beautiful of English closes ... with moreover houses of absorbing architectural interest. The Salisbury Close has more such houses than any other; that is certain.

Most of the houses in the Close are in the West Walk and the North Walk which emanate from the Green in the north-west corner (full name Choristers' Green). The Green, shown above, is the first part of the Close when entering through the North Gate from the High Street.  

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North Gate, looking into the Close, and out.  Perp. Four-centred arch to the N. Traceried spandrels. Quatrefoil frieze. Two small upper windows. Another panelled and quatrefoiled frieze. Battlements with shields. To the inside niche for a statue now inhabited by Edward VII. Here also fragments of Old Sarum, diaper and zigzag.

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Nos.39-46, the Matrons' College, established by (bishop) Seth Ward in 1682 and quite possibly designed and approved by Wren, ... Low, of two storeys, with a hipped roof. Thirteen bays and projecting two-bay wings. Two-light mullioned windows with frames flat except for a slight outer moulding. In the wings dormers with circular windows. Doorway with a segmental pediment on brackets. Above, inscription cartouche with open scrolly pediment. Steep top pediment with coat of arms and garlands. Octagonal glazed lantern. ...

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East side of The Green.  No.38 has a late-C18 doorway, but inside a large wall-painting of the  mid C17 ...  No.36 is Georgian, of five bays and two storeys, with a hipped roof. Wide stone doorway with Tuscan pilasters and pediment.

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South side of The Green. No. 34 faces E with two early Victorian bargeboarded gables. No.35 has C16 to C17 brick and stonework to the N.

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North side of The Green. In the middle, Mompesson House is dated 1701 on a rainwater head. It is ashlar-faced, of seven bays, with a hipped roof. The windows to the l. and r. of the centre are narrower. Doorway with big open segmental pediment filled with garlands. It rests on brackets. The window above has side scrolls and garlands. Fine gatepiers, iron gates and iron railings. The other sides of the house are brick. ... 

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To the left of Mompesson House (first two pictures).  No.55 is C18, of five bays and with a big three-bay pediment. Segment-headed doorway.
No.54, the Hungerford Chantry; but there is nothing medieval left. Five bays, two storeys, parapet, brick, simple doorway with pediment.
To the right of Mompesson House (last two pictures). The r. wing of Mompesson House, which is of brick, five bays long, and has a panelled parapet. Later doorway with Doric pilasters, a metope frieze, and a pediment. Later also the lunette window and broken pediment above the archway.
The stables of Mompesson House. They appear to be late C17. Five bays, two storeys, brick, cross-windows below, mullioned windows above. Hipped roof. Arched doorway with rusticated surround re-set. It was originally in the large archway to the left of the house. This also has a rusticated surround. The window above the doorway is elaborately framed, with an open scrolly top. The large archway now belongs to the r. wing of Mompesson House.

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Now the West Walk, starting on the west side of The Green. No.56, Hemingsby House, is gabled and quite modest externally, but it has a little wing projecting on the r. and in this a C14 portal blocked (not visible).  Above a C14 E window ... The walls of the wings have hundreds of tiles, partly laid herringbone-wise. They are said to come from Old Sarum. The main entrance is Perpendicular and inside there is a hall of the 15th century. ...  
No.56b, which was built in 1727 to replace a decayed wing of Hemingsby House
. There is in fact re-used medieval masonry at the back. The front is of brick. Five bays of very large windows, a main floor on a basement, a little like an orangery. Evenly rusticated quoins, panelled parapet. Arched doorway with a surround with rustication of alternating size.

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No.56c Wren Hall (a recent name) ... formerly the Cathedral School, completed in 1714. Five bays, brick, on a basement of stone with small mullioned windows. Quoins. Hipped roof. Large windows with basket arches. Doorway with an oval window over. ... Funded by a former pupil, Sir Stephen Fox - he built Farley Church, also in the style of Wren.
No.57, Braybrooke, was the master's house. It is connected with the school. Five bays, two storeys, brick, on a stone base, doorway with pediment on carved brackets.

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No.58 is the Wardrobe (now military museum), a very big house. ... Flint, brick, and stone irregularly used. Recessed centre and projecting wings, each with two gables. They have Victorian barge boards. In the centre on the first floor a six-light window with two transoms. Below an early C19 (?) brick arcade of three Tudor arches, and behind it a large blocked C17 window, straight-headed. ...
No.59, Arundells, lies far back ... The house is supposed to have been built in 1749; but this cannot have been a complete rebuilding. Five bays, two storeys, hipped roof. ...
Formerly home of Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.
More on Arundells here.

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First two pictures.  No.60, the North Canonry, ... pre-Reformation and C17 and very much Sir G.G. Scott. Flint and stone. Ashlar-faced projecting centre with polygonal angle buttresses and pinnacles. Top gable. On ground floor and upper floor a large seven-light window with transom. To the r. archway with a pedestrian entrance to its l. Four-centred arch. This lies in a lower wing. Here at once a canted oriel, Scott's work. This and the following original three-light window have arched lights without cusps, a Henry VIII form. On the first floor cross-windows with finely moulded surrounds and the initials R.H. ... The l. attachment is C18 with a Victorian front (not shown).
Last two pictures. Audley House, No.63-64 ... It is a pair and has a plain seven-bay Georgian brick front of two and a half storeys, right on the road. 

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No.65, The King's House (called such since a visit by King James I in 1610) ... The house is large and lies back. It is of flint. The centre has on the l. a two-storeyed C15 porch with diagonal buttresses and E entrance (front). The N entrance to the porch is C19 (side). The entrance arches are panelled and the porch has a very handsome fan vault inside. ... Renewed mullioned and transomed windows replacing medieval (C13?) windows whose outline is visible. ... Then to the r. a taller brick bay was added in the late C16. Big two-storeyed canted bay window. The ground floor has one transom, the upper floor two transoms. ...

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Myles Place. No.68 is the stateliest C18 house in the Close, too townish almost for its location. The house is said to have been built in 1718. Ashlar-faced, but brick on the sides and at the back. Seven bays with three-bay centre. Basement, two storeys with giant pilasters and attic above the cornice. Parapet on the attic. ... The doorway has a segmental pediment on Corinthian pilasters. ... Sir Arthur Bryant the historian lived there after the second World War until his death in 1985.
No.69, Walton Canonry, ...
dates from c.1720. Seven bays, basement and two storeys. Doorway with segmental pediment enclosing garlands. Wide angle strips; parapet. ... The house takes its name from the son of the great fisherman Isaac Walton; he was a canon and lived here. The artist Rex Whistler leased the house in 1938. See his memorial in the cathedral.
No.71 is the South Canonry (now Bishop's House). Low, two-storeyed, brick, of five widely spaced bays. Said to be of c.1665 with major alterations of 1778. Broken middle pediment. Only the first-floor middle window has a little decoration. The doorway and the roof brackets seem altered (Early Victorian? The date mentioned is after 1889, which seems too late). Behind this C18-19 front, however, is an older house. ... 

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Now along the North Walk. No.26 is a rather gaunt four-bay Georgian house of two and a half storeys; cemented (obviously removed since Pevsner wrote this). Late C18 doorway. Brickwork on the front is all headers.
No.21 has a fine Elizabethan flint front with two gables and mullioned windows - much renewed.
Mid-C19 porch. Inside there are a number of older features of C13-16. ... At the NW corner a tower projects. Its basement is tunnel-vaulted. ... Called Aula Le Stage after the Reformation, indicating the tower or upper staging.
No.19 ... a large, even, late C17 house of nine bays with the first and last two projecting. Two storeys, hipped roof. Brick and stone quoins and other trim. Doorway with straight hood on moulded brackets. ...

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No.15, Malmesbury House ... a seven-bay ashlar facade of probably Queen-Anne date (built by 1719). Seven bays, two storeys. Two narrow windows l. and r. of the centre. This facade is only one room deep, and was added to an existing C15 or C16 house. .. Strikingly splendid interior. 
St Ann's Gate belongs to Malmesbury House. Built c.1331 etc. Low two-centred arch with two continuous chamfers. ... Two-light Dec window over. ...
The composer Handel ( Hndl ) lived here, see plaque.

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On the south side of the Close. Harnham Gate. Double-chamfered four-centred arch with continuous mouldings to the outside. To the inside the arch is segmental and dies into the imposts. Above seven corbels for a bay or a platform, but no upper storey. Fleurons and gargoyles. 

Map of the Close
and history of many of the houses (cathedral website)

Mompesson House
(National Trust)

Salisbury Cathedral

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