Tyne and Wear HER(4870): Woolsington Hall - Details
Simpson and Brown say the earliest fabric dates from the first half of the 17th century. The Hall is shown on a map by Robertson dating to 1727 as a building characteristic of the early 17th century. It is two storeys high with a band course running across the level of the first floor. At attic level are three red (tiled?) triangular roofs. There is a front garden to the south and south east. There is a small garden pavilion at the south-eastern corner. There are buildings to the north, possibly cottages. Simpson and Brown say the central part of the Hall dates from this early period. Four walls at the core form a box, almost square in plan. The east-west flue-bearing wall divides the plan into two rectangles to the north and south and is of a similar period. The east and west elevations had three bay windows with mullions and transoms forming six lights, probably with leaded glazing. The windows were aligned with basement windows and the gables above. The best surviving window is the southern first floor window on the west side, which is covered by an 18th century extension and is now blocked with brick. The east wall of the ground floor back entrance hall also retains one of these windows, now also covered by an extension. This first building was simple and elegant. It had three gables across the south front and two gables on the east and west sides. Each gable marked a vertical line of windows at basement, ground and first floors. On the west side is an oculus window to a closet. The partitions on the first floor might date to this phase. This early 17th century house has been described as a shooting box (villa associated with hunting). The second phase of development were late 17th century alterations. The attribution to architect Robert Trollope (Capheaton Hall, Eshott Hall and Netherwitton Hall) seems to have been suggested on stylistic grounds rather than documentary evidence. The Baroque detailing gives a late 17th century date. The windows on the south front are insertions into earlier brickwork. The south windows are mullioned but have a fillet and ovolo section. They were sash windows with timber frames. The current glazing is 20th century. It is not clear if any changes were made to the east and west walls. The Serlian (Venetian) window to the stair landing on the north side could date to this phase. The window has an early pattern timber window with fillet and ovolo glazing bars. It had a four column detail on its inner face. The stair (apart from the lowest flight) and the partition walls to the east and west of it also belong to this second phase. It may have replaced an earlier narrower stair. During this second phase the three gables on the roof were removed and replaced by a south facing pitch and a parapet with pilasters topped with urns at the corners. The roof structure was entirely renewed. The east and west gables were heightened by 500mm. New windows were built into the gables. It is not certain if the external corner pilasters belong to the first or second phase. The exterior wall finish was rough cast mortar containing large aggregate. It was finished with light ochre lime wash. The partitions between these rooms and the central entrance passageway may be late 17th century. And the recasting of the front door. The third phase in the late 18th and early 19th centuries involved extensions. The purpose was to enlarge the ground floor rooms and to provide closest or dressing rooms for the south bedrooms on the first floor. These dressing rooms have corner fireplaces and their own flue chimney rising between the two gables on the east side. This may indicate a change from hunting lodge to family house. By at least the early 18th century there was a drawing room and dining room on the ground floor. On page 85 of her Memoir, Margaret Jane Dobson tells us that in 1828 her father, John Dobson made alterations to Woolsington Hall for Matthew Bell. The house was sold in 1920. The interior was cosmetically altere
<< HER 4870 >> Dept. of Environment, of Buildings of Special ... Interest, Mar-61; The Archaeological Practice, 1997, Newcastle International Airport, Cultural Heritage Assessment; RPS, Clouston, 1998, Woolsington Hall, Archaeological Assessment; Simpson & Brown Architects, Feb 2012, Woolsington Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, Draft Conservation Plan: Historical Development & Significance; www.donmouth.co.uk/local_history/VAD/VAD_hospitals.html (accessed 2014); British Red Cross, 2014, List of Auxiliary Hospitals in the UK during the First World War; Addyman Archaeology, 2014, Woolsington Hall, Woolsington - Archaeological Assessment; Simpson & Brown Architects, 2014, Woolsington Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, Conservation Plan; Addyman Archaeology, 2017, Woolsington Hall, Post-fire recording works; Addyman Archaeology, 2020 Woolsington Hall, Woolsington, Tyne and Wear, watching brief on temporary drainage.