This post forms part of the Puttenham One-Place Study.
This incredibly striking image is of Greyfriars, (initially known as Merlshanger and subsequently as Wancote), became a Grade II listed building in December 1984 (1), and is located on the outskirts of Puttenham, about four miles from Guildford and was set initially in 25 acres. The property was extended westwards in 1913 and 1914 by Herbert Baker.
Charles. F. A. Voysey, a leading Arts and Crafts architect was commissioned in 1896 to build a mansion set in a fabulous setting with views over the Surrey Hills by Julian Sturgis Esquire, the American Victorian novelist and playwright. Voysey produced twenty sheets of detailed drawings committing his thoughts and ideas to paper (2). Whilst Voysey’s career was already at its height when commissioned by Sturgis, he continued to be privately sought after to produce houses for the wealthy.
The vision for this house was a long line alongside a contour of the rather steep hillside. The front entrance is broken into a number of sections, but the elevation to the south is the one that captured the enthusiasm of writers and publishers. Greyfriars is considered one of Voysey’s finest works, with the house likely to be the most widely published of all his designs, frequently published in the United States and across Europe, including the German publication, Das Englishe Haus.
Das Englishe Haus (3) was published in three parts:
- Development of the English House (Vol. 1)
- Conditions, plant, horticultural environment, construction and sanitary facilities of the English house (Vol. 2)
- The Interior of the English House (Vol. 3)
All volumes are linked and freely available. Unsurprisingly, the books are in German. The ability to download in PDF format is not overly obvious – select the volume you want then select “Quoting and Using” on the righthand side, select Band (or Tape depending if you are translating into English) and then PDF. (4)
There is more information about Voysey and Greyfriars on the Voysey website (5). For those with a general interest in the surname of Voysey, take a look at the One-Name Study for the Voysey Surname (6)
- National Heritage List for England (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list) accessed 7 October 2022.
- Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), British Architectural Library Drawings Collection, Located at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England.
- Muthesius, Herman, Das Englishe Haus, published, Berlin, 1904
- Digital Collections of the Bauhaus University Weimar (https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/toc/PPN636123618/1/) accessed 7 October 2022
- C.F.A. Voysey Society (https://www.voyseysociety.org/voysey/buildings/greyfriars.html) accessed 7 October 2022
- One-Name Study for the surname of Voysey (http://www.voysey.org.uk/index.html) (Guild of One-Name Study registered) accessed 7 October 2022