Keeping it in the Family
A COMPREHENSIVE CONDITION SURVEY AND REPAIR STRATEGY FOR A GRADE ONE LISTED COUNTRY RESIDENCE IN OXFORDSHIRE
IN HIS 2003 BESTSELLING BOOK ENGLAND'S THOUSAND BEST HOUSES, SIMON JENKINS STATED THAT "FEW HOUSES CLING MORE DESPERATELY TO THEIR DIGNITY THAN MILTON". OUR COMPREHENSIVE CONDITION SURVEY UNCOVERS A REMARKABLE HISTORY, ESTABLISHES REPAIR PRIORITIES AND A VISION FOR THE FUTURE.
Milton Manor has been in the same family for over 250 years. This stately but comfortable home was originally constructed in the 1660’s and extended a century later. It can be seen as lying at the end of a sequence of Inigo Jones-inspired, “city” houses in the country, before the English Civil War imposed a moratorium on building. It is also a home that would be transformed by Bryant Barrett, a religiously motivated, charismatic, intelligent and very successful lacemaker.
Barrett made substantial changes to the house and added new wings, classical details, and the latest timber sash windows. Internally, he kept the imposing 17th-century oak staircase but proudly decorated his new home with the latest Gothick interiors and fashionable Chinese wallpaper.
Today, this Restoration mansion is in need of repair. Historic England has put the building on their “at risk” register and has classified the house as being “in poor condition and at immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric.”
Our comprehensive condition survey summarises the history of the house and it’s artistic, historic and cultural significance. It identifies the key urgent, intermediate and long-term repairs, prioritises the work needed to safeguard the building in the short term and sets out clear guidelines for future maintenance. Included are detailed photographs of the building fabric and approximate costs for each item of work. Each separate building defect is noted with a potential cause, a recommendation for repair and helpful notes.
Previous repairs had been undertaken on an ad-hoc basis as funds allowed. We have recommended that future work is carried out with the aim of minimising the level of intervention and taking a ‘light touch’ and more structured approach in the future. The intention is to preserve the maximum amount of existing material and slow the overall rate of decay.
Although this is a substantial house, the underlying approach and repair strategy can be followed on many smaller houses.
The Country Houses Foundation