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Drayton House

In the civil parish of Lowick.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP96308002
Latitude 52.40986° Longitude -0.58538°

Drayton House has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Country house. Late C13, early C14, mid/late C15, late C16, mid/late C17, early and late C18, late C19 and early C20. Works recorded by Isaac Rowe, John Webb, William Talman, Gerard Lanscroon, William Rhodes, Alexander Roos, George Devey and J.A. Gotch. Squared coursed limestone and limestone ashlar with lead and Collyweston slate roofs. Courtyard plan with additions. 2 and 3 storeys, parts with attics, and two 3-storey towers. South front, or entrance front, of 5 bays with square buttressed turrets, between bays. Centre bay breaks forward forming late C17 gatehouse probably by Isaac Rowe. Central arch-head doorway has rusticated surround and rectangular panel above. 2 bays flanking gatehouse are early C14 curtain walls. Second bay to right has one-window range to far right of stone mullion windows. Wall, gatehouse and turrets all have castellated parapets. (Listed Building Report)

Drayton House is still fundamentally the great house for which licence to crenellate was obtained in 1328, to which additions of the 15th and late 16th centuries and especially, a remarkable romantic baroque transformation of the early 18th century have given a character which is possibly unique in this country (Arch. J. 1912; Arch. J. 1954).
Medieval work is confined to the Great Hall, which is the largest in the country, and the curtain walls flanking the gatehouse. Country house. Late C13, early C14, mid/late C15, late C16, mid/late C17, early and late C18, late C19 and early C20. Works recorded by Isaac Rowe, John Webb, William Talman, Gerard Lanscroon, William Rhodes, Alexander Roos, George Devey and J.A. Gotch. Squared coursed limestone and limestone ashlar with lead and Colleyweston slate roofs. Courtyard plan with additions. 2 and 3 storeys, parts with attics, and two 3-storey towers. South front, or entrance front, of 5 bays with square buttressed turrets, between bays. Centre bay breaks forward forming late C17 gatehouse probably by Isaac Rowe. Central arch-head doorway has rusticated surround and rectangular panel above. 2 bays flanking gatehouse are early C14 curtain walls. Second bay to right has one-window range to far right of stone mullion windows. Wall, gatehouse and turrets all have castellated parapets (Woodfield 1981). (PastScape)

The main block, containing the hall and present dining-room, together with a smaller block at the east end, which projected a bay northward and contained the vaulted cellar with the solar or great chamber above, was the dwelling-house of the Draytons and the Greens, and is probably rather earlier than 1328, when Simon de Drayton obtained licence to crenellate the house. (The late Mr. G. F. Bodley, who visited Drayton in 1900, thought that the details of the cellar pointed to a date as early as 1270; but, compared with other local work of a similar kind, they show no characteristics which are necessarily earlier than c. 1300.) The building thus followed the usual plan of the medieval manor-house, with a hall between the solar block at one end and the kitchen and its offices on the other. The crenellated wall of 1328 inclosed the court on three sides: a considerable length of it remains on the south, and there are portions of it in the lower parts of the east wall. The house thus stood across the middle of a walled inclosure, with another court upon the north side.
The arrangement of the buttresses in the south wall of the courtyard indicates that there was originally a gateway on the site of the present one, and it is probable that the screens of the hall were entered at the position of the present doorway. (It seems that the north porch, added in the 15th century, then became the principal entrance; but there are no signs of an earlier entrance in connection with it, and the opening from it into the hall is an oblique cut, which seems to have been made as part of a new arrangement.) Henry Green, however, who died in 1467–8, appears to have made an entrance-porch upon the north side of the hall, which he covered with a range of buildings, continued westward and returned southward as a south-west wing nearly as far as the boundary-wall. The old building was thus inclosed on the north and west sides by these additions; and about the same time a two-floored building was added at the southeast corner of the house, communicating with the cellar and great chamber. (VCH 1930)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1328 Sept 16 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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