Basic Site Details

Name: Graythwaite Hall
Town, district or village: Far Sawrey
City or county: Cumberland
Country: England
Grid ref:
Notes: Basically a 16th century house built by the Rawlinsons, but attractively remodelled and enlarged twice in the nineteenth century - once c1840 by George Webster and again 1887-90 by R Knill Freeman for Col Sandys, MP for Bootle. The house is asymmetrical and gabled, white harled with red sandstone dressings, projecting square bay windows and an entrance loggia of three Perpendicular arches. The gate lodges, in Lakeland vernacular style were designed by Dan Gibson. There are famous landscaped gardens by Thomas Mawson (1890) and the setting is very beautiful in a small valley extending from Esthwaite Water to Windermere. The estate still belongs to the Sandys family. The late Lord Duncan-Sandys, a former cabinet minister and founder of the Civic Trust was a junior member of the family. Ethel Sandys was another member of the family to achieve fame as Sickert’s mistress. (John Martin Robinson - A Guide to the Country Houses of the North West 1991)

It is assumed that Dan Gibson first met T H Mawson while acting as resident architect for the second re-modelling of the main house between1888 and 1890. Later works inclided the stable block (1894-1895) by R K Freeman. In 1895 the Builder recorded:

These stables which have been recently erected for Lt-Col T Myles Sandys MP are situated about half way between the Ferry and Lake Side and near the Hall. They form a portion of the general scheme of restoration and improvement which have recently been carried out, and include extensive alterations to the Hall, new terraces, Gate Lodges, Bailiffs’ and Keepers’ houses and many other works. The stables, as will be seen from the plan, form three sides of a square and include coachman and grooms’ houses and other usual accommodation. the materials used are the local rough stone, with red stone dressings, the upper parts being in black and white timber framing. The roofs are red Staffordshire tiles, and the chimneys of red brick.

The contractors have been:- for the excavation and masonry, Mr G. H. Pattison, Windermere; ..... All the work has been carried out from the designs of and under the superintendence of the architect, Mr. R. Knill Freeman FRIBA of Bolton and Manchester. The drawing from which the illustration is taken was exhibited in the Royal Academy of 1894 [Builder7 December 1895 Volume 69 p421]

The completion of the stable block seemingly marked R K Freeman's last involvement at Graythwaite. The entrance lodge and some cottages on the estate in his typical Lakeland style are undoubtedly the work of Dan Gibson. Further work by Mawson and Gibson included the Dutch Graden but a date for this has still to be established.

In the latest edition of Buildings of England; Cumbria, it is also suggested that Dan Gibson was responsible for yet more internal alterations to the principal rooms at Graythwaite in the early years of the twentieth century.

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Country House  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 11887After 1900Alterations and additions 


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 3Richard Knill FreemanArchitect 18871896Remodelling of House and new stable block
Item 2 of 3Dan GibsonArchitect 1888(?)1907Resident architect c1899-1892. Later work following his return to Windermere
Item 3 of 3Thomas Hayton MawsonGarden designer, Landscape architect, Town Planner 18881900Re-modelling of gardens


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 1Sandys, Colonel  


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 5 Robinson, John Martin1991A Guide to the Country Houses of the North West    
Item 2 of 5Beard, Geoffrey1978Thomas H Mawson, A Northern Landscape Architect University of Lancaster Visual Arts Centre 
Item 3 of 5Hyde, Mathhew and Pevsner, Nicholas2010The Buildings of England: Cumbria Yale University Presspp378-379
Item 4 of 5Kissack, Elizabeth2006The Life of Thomas Hayton Mawson, 1861-1933   
Item 5 of 5Waymark, Janet2009Thomas Mawson: Life, Gardens and Landscape Frances Lincoln Ltd. London 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder11 June 1887  p867
Item 2 of 3Builder19 May 1888  p359
Item 3 of 3Builder7 December 189569 p421 with perspective and ground floor plan