Rounton Grange

Rounton Grange was designed in 1870 for Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell and his wife by the leading Arts&Crafts architect Philip Webb with whom Sir Lowthian had a long patronage. Philip Webb also designed New Hall at Washington for Lowthian Bell and Red Barns in Redcar for his son Hugh Bell. The latter two buildings are still standing, but unfortunately Rounton Grange was demolished in 1953 after attempts to first sell it and then give it to the National Trust failed. During World War II it was requisitioned to house German and later Italian prisoners of war who were employed on the neighbouring estate farms.

There were two principal building phases in Rounton. The first phase designed by Philip Webb for Isaac Lowthian Bell in 1870-1880 included The Grange, Coach House, Home Farm and Cottages and The School. The Grange was later extended by Webbs protege George Washington Jack to add a large Common Room and long corridor. George Jack who is better known for his furniture also designed many buildings in East Rounton during the 1905-6 building phase for Hugh & Florence Bell including the purpose built Village Hall and adjacent cottages, Rounton House for the Estate manager, The Motor House and slightly later in 1909 The New Gatehouse (which was designed to look ancient). An excellent introduction to the Arts&Crafts buildings of the Bell Estate by Peter Burman is online and provides a more detailed overview of the buildings design and their historical context.

The only things that remain of the Grange are the red tiled old kitchen courtyard floor and various photographs - some taken by Gertrude Bell who was a prolific and talented photographer and of particular note for their excellent technical quality the architectural photographs taken by Country Life to illustrate their review of Rounton Grange in 1915. This article is made available here by kind permission of Country Life and IPC Media PLC with all rights reserved. Original high quality photographic prints of the low resolution images in the article are available to purchase from Country Life Pictures.

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Rounton Grange 1915 view from the garden (Country Life) Rounton Grange - front elevation and main entrance
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The Dining Room (interior decoration by Morris & Co.) Rounton Grange - view from Lily Pond
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Rounton Grange - view from lawns Rounton Grange - roof with chimneys and Coach House
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Rounton Grange - southern elevation across main lawn Rounton Grange with rockery and Lily Pond

The addition of a large Common Room and associated long corridor was done by George Jack in around 1910 for Hugh Bell.
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The Common Room - architects sketch by George Jack
(from Academy Architecture 1910)
The Common Room as photographed by Country Life in 1915
h&fb.jpg A year after the death of his father Sir Hugh Bell commissioned George Jack to undertake another major phase of building works on the estate to provide additional buildings for a generator and accumulators to serve the Grange with a private electricity supply and a Motor House to hold up to four vehicles. These buildings bear a ceramic plaque on the usually rendered and limewashed brick walls with the family crest and H&FB 1905 or 1906 as appropriate. In addition the tail of the weathervane on the Village Hall is monogrammed H+FB.
Two exceptions to this rule are a half timbered extension to Keepers Cottage which has a carved sandstone 1907 on the chimney and the rather grand New Lodge which guards the entrance to the estate from the A19 which was built in 1909 using exclusively carved sandstone.

He also commissioned the Scottish Arts&Crafts glass designer Strachan in 1906 to design a fine new East window as a memorial for his parents to go behind the altar in East Rounton church.