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Westoning Manor

Westoning Manor about 1900 [Z50/130/5]
Westoning Manor about 1900 [Z50/130/5]

Westoning Manor was built between 1842 and 1843 for the new Lord of the Manor, John William Coventry Campion. It lies north-west of the probably site of the medieval manor house for the Manor of Weston Tregoz and Westoning, the position of which is probably marked by the surviving moated area.

The house was listed by the former Department of Environment in May 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The mansion was built of red brick with ashlar dressings under clay tile roofs. The listing notes that the interior contains much 17th century carved woodwork combined with 19th century work in ground and first floor doors, door cases, and chimney-pieces, as well as in the imperial staircase. The 17th century woodwork is "reputed to come from old house at WrestPark and old Houses of Parliament".

In 1863 John William Coventry Campion made his will and devised all his real estate to his wife for her life then to his son John Gadsby Coventry Campion [HN2/SPEN1/1]. He died on Boxing Day 1872. His daughter, the unfortunately named Percy Ann Coventry Campion married Bedford brewer William Pritzler Newland in 1877. John Gadsby Coventry Campion made his will in 1893 devising his real estate to Newland in trust for conversion into money to be paid to his wife Jessie Coventry Campion and annuity of £100 to Percy Ann [HN2/SPEN1/1].

He died in 1903 and the following year the manor became the first part of the Westoning estate to be sold, by Mrs. B. Blyth-King [HN2/SPEN4/2]. The sale particulars are as follows:

The MANOR HOUSE

Is well placed upon rising ground, and commands pleasing views over richly-timbered Park-lands and

Attractive Pastoral Surroundings

It stands

About 270 feet above Sea level

And is approached from the road by a winding Carriage Drive with ornamental iron gates, guarded by an appropriate

 Westoning Manor Lodge August 2009
Westoning Manor Lodge August 2009

ENTRANCE LODGE,

Containing Sitting Room, Kitchen and two Bed Rooms.

This Drive passes for some distance through the Grounds to the South-East front of the Residence, and returns by a wide circular sweep enclosing an Old Turf Lawn, adorned by a superb Cedar of Lebanon.

The House, which was erected in 1843, is a

Fine Example of the Elizabethan style of Architecture.

It is of pleasing elevation, is substantially constructed of Red Brick with mullioned windows and free-stone dressings, and surmounted by a tiled roof with appropriate gables.

The main hall in 1928 [HN2-Spen4/12]
The main hall in 1928 [HN2-Spen4/12] 

The entrance vestibule is enclosed by a glazed careen and sliding doors, and opens by folding doors to a 

HANDSOME ENTRANCE HALL,

30 feet by 18 feet, with oak panelled dado, parquet floor and oak beamed ceiling, and fitted with marble mantelpiece and AN OLD CARVED OAK OVERMANTEL. The Staircase portion of the Hall ascends to the roof of the Residence, and is lighted by cathedral glass windows.

The drawing room in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]
The drawing room in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]

To the left of the entrance is a pair of carved oak doors opening to the

ELEGANT DRAWING ROOM,

29 feet 6 inches by 18 feet with polished grate and fluted sculptured white marble mantel, relieved by veined marble interior jamb and central shield. This apartment is decorated with an enriched blue and gilt cornice, has a carved and enriched overdoor and central rose in the ceiling, and is lighted by two large windows overlooking the Grounds and Park. It is divided by a Lobby (with Garden Entrance) from the

The dining room in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]
The dining room in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]

Well-proportioned Dining Room,

Fitted with MASSIVE CARVED OLD OAK MANTEL AND OVERMANTEL, panelled dado, parquet floor and oak beamed ceiling, and further decorated by MAGNIFICENT OAK CARVING upon the doors and window shutters. It is lighted by a large bay window overlooking the Grounds, and communicates with a LOBBY leading to 

Conservatory or Winter Garden,

(26 feet by 16 feet), with gabled roof, tessellated floor and cathedral glass frieze, and heated by hot water.

To the right of the Entrance Hall is a

PLEASANT MORNING ROOM,

About 17 feet square, with an oak beamed ceiling, and lighted by two large windows overlooking the Grounds. This room communicates with

STUDY OR BUSINESS ROOM,

17 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, with carved oak mantel and overmantel, and private entrance to Grounds; BATH ROOM, with hot and cold supply, double lavatory fitments and W. C.

The above-mentioned Reception Rooms are about 13 feet in height, and

Admirably arranged for Entertaining purposes,

The inter-communication of the Drawing and Dining Rooms by means of a Small Garden Lobby being a very convenient feature in this connection.

The main staircase in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]
The main staircase in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]

From the Inner Hall rises the

MASSIVE MAIN STAIRCASE,

Of solid oak, with oak panelled dado, twisted oak balustrades and handsomely carved pilasters, and which conducts by two return flights of easy ascent to the Principal Landing, partially panelled in oak, and from which are approached 

SIX GUEST CHAMBERS,

Measuring respectively 20 feet by 18 feet, 20 feet by 18 feet, 17 feet by 14 feet 6 inches, 16 feet by 15 feet 6 inches, 14 feet by 13 feet 6 inches, and 16 feet by 15 feet, and TWO DRESSING ROOMS. Two of these chambers have oak beamed ceilings, and the majority of them are embellished with carved oak doors, panelled and carved cupboard doors, and lighted by quaint latticed windows. They are uniformly lofty and cheerful apartments, from which pleasant views are obtainable, and each room is fitted with a fireplace, the mantelpieces being either of stone or carved oak; BATH ROOM, with fitted and cased bath and hot and cod supply, W. C., Housemaid's Sink, with hot and cold supply. 

ON THE SECOND FLOOR

Ate TWO SECONDARY BED ROOMS of irregular shape, BOXROOM and THREE LARGE SERVANTS' BED ROOMS, with accommodation for five beds. 

The Domestic Offices

Are arranged on the Ground Floor level, and comprise KITCHEN, 22 feet by 16 feet (admirably adapted for and now utilized as a SERVANTS' HALL); SECOND KITCHEN, with a 6-feet cooking range by G. WRIGHT & CO., oven boiler and hot-plate, sink, with hot, cold and soft water supplies. Over the Kitchen, and reached by a separate staircase, is a BEDROOM, suitable for two menservants. SCULLERY, BUTLER'S PANTRY, with sink and hot and cold water supplies; China and Glass Store, DAIRY, LARDER, Boot Room, Coal Store, Tradesmen's Entrance and Servants' Closet. 

IN THE BASEMENT
Is an
AMPLE RANGE OF CELLARAGE,
Including FOUR WINE CELLARS, ALE CELLAR, STORE ROOMS, etc.

THE OUTBUILDINGS

Comprise CHURNING HOUSE and OIL HOUSE, FRUIT ROOM, a well-equipped LAUNDRY, with copper, Wash-house and Drying Room: COAL HOUSE, CARPENTER'S SHOP, COOL GAME LARDER and IMPLEMENT AND CART LODGE. 

The Water Supply, which is both excellent and abundant, is obtained from a never-failing Well upon the property, and pumped to cisterns in the roof of the house by means of an easily-manipulated wheel pump. There is also capacious soft water storage in a large tank upon the premises. The Sanitary arrangements are on modern principles, with proper inspection chambers, disconnections and ventilation. There is an ample fall, with every facility for complete flushing, and the effluent is carried by a system of pipes to a point of discharge in a plantation at a considerable distance from the residence. The Reception Rooms and Principal Bed Rooms are equipped with Electric Bells, and the house is in an eminently satisfactory state of repair, entailing not the slightest necessary outlay by a purchaser before entering into occupation. 

THE BRICK AND TILED RANGE OF

STABLING
includes SIX LOOSE BOXES AND TWO STALLS, CARRIAGE-HOUSE for six carriages, SECOND CARRIAGE-HOUSE, HARNESS ROOMAND WASHING YARD. 

Adjacent are

EXCELLENT DOG KENNELS,

Comprising THREE BRICK KENNELS, with benches and flagged yards. 

Conveniently removed from the Residence are the

SUPERIOR FARM BUILDINGS,

Comprising CART STABLE for six horses, HARNESS ROOM, MESS ROOM, COW HOUSE, CALF HOUSE, PIGGERIES, BARN, with Loft and Corn tore over; MIXING HOUSE, CART LODGE, CHAFF-HOUSE, TWO OPEN CATTLE SHEDS, the whole enclosing 

TWO GOOD STOCK YARDS. 

RICK YARD. 

One of the chief attractions of the Property consist of the

Beautifully sheltered Pleasure Grounds,

With which the Residence is immediately encircled. On the South-West front of the House is a Gravelled Terrace with turf border and flower beds, from which steps conduct to a 

SCIENTIFICALLY-LEVELLED TENNIS LAWN,
with rustic summer-house and flagstaff, and a grassy slope descends to an 

OLD TURF CROQUET LAWN,
shaded by fine Elm trees, and between this Lawn and the Parklands is a Grass Walk with flower bed and Laurels. 

From the North-East of the House extends a

BROAD GRAVELLED WALK,
passing under an archway, and flanked on the left by a
Charmingly-secluded Tea Lawn,
with Laurels and Shrubbery. The Grounds, which slope towards the Park, are exceedingly well maintained and adorned with

FORESTAND ORNAMENTAL TIMBER,

Affording ample shade. 

The productive Walled Kitchen Garden

Extends to nearly an Acre. It is fully stocked and contains: HEATED GREENHOUSE, RANGE OF FORCING PITS, TOOL HOUSE AND POTTING HOUSE. 

To the South and West of the Mansion and Grounds is a
FINE EXPANSE OF WELL-TIMBERED PARK LANDS,
sloping to a Stream which forms the Southern boundary of the Property. There are also
TWO ENCLOSURES OF ARABLE LAND
of staple character, and conveniently near to the Property are a
PAIR OF WELL-BUILT COTTAGES
WITH GOOD GARDENS 

The park and farm together came to 102 acres, 1 rood, 8 poles. It was bought by thirty five year old Australian Howard Spensley, educated at HarrowSchool and TrinityCollege, Cambridge, after which he became a barrister. He became a Justice of the Peace in 1906 and was a member of both Ampthill Rural District Council and Bedfordshire County Council as well as a churchwarden of Saint Mary Magdalene, Chairman of the Parish Council and President of the Village Social Club. He succeeded the Coventry Campions as Lord of the Manor of Westoning in 1924 though, by that time, manors had been abolished in nearly all but name. He died on 3rd March 1938

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and property in the country was to be assessed to determine the rateable value. The valuer visiting Westoning Manor [DV1/C/136/1] noted that it was centrally heated and lit by gas and had "Radiators in practically every room". He considered it "A lovely house in a beautiful situation but away from decent neighbourhood".

Following Spensely's death the house was again put up for sale. The particulars noted: "The Drive terminates in a Courtyard, the central square of which comprises a lawn and lily pool which provides an attractive setting for the mellowed character of the Elizabethan style residence". Naturally, the details were substantially the same as those of 1904, though there were some additions: "Much of the oak is reputed to have been removed from the original Manor House, the site of which is in the Park" [rather than WrestPark, as noted by the Department of Environment! One wonders which, if either, could be right]. The outbuildings now included the laundry "the magnificent old barn known as the "Court Room", with leaded light windows, open timbered roof and measuring about 60 feet by 20 feet". A garage for four cars with a chauffeur's room now lay on the north-east side of the courtyard as well as an open garage for two cars with an inspection pit. The place was bought by Sir Frederick H. Richmond, Bart for £14,400.

The courtyard in 1938 [HN2-Spen4-12]
The courtyard in 1938 [HN2-Spen4/12]

MacIntyre was registered as a charity in 1966 and in July 1969 it bought Westoning Manor as a residential school. The charity was established by Kenneth Newton Wright, parent of a disabled child, and exists to help children and adults with severe educational difficulties. A newsletter from 1970 [X498/97] stated: "macIntyre Schools has opened Westoning Manor. The first 'family group' of eight severely mentally handicapped children began to arrive on february 23rd, when two boys were accepted into our care following the approval of their grants to cover fees, from Kent and Oxford County Councils...Each group of children will be cared for by three house mother staff...We hope that 23 children will be with us within the first twelve months".

"We expect the children will be with us for their life-times, for our purpose is to provide not only special education to the extent of each child's capability, but occupational training and employment in adulthood...Westoning Manor is registereed with Bedford County Council as a Residential Mental Nursing Home. This category of Registration assures parents of a high standard of qualified care, and enables us to offer places to children whose handicaps require nursing attention".

Princess Anne visited Westoning Manor in 1975 and Princess Diana visited in 1983. Westoning Manor was sold in the 1990s and the residents moved into flats and houses. The building was then and is now [2010] put to the standard use of such mansions - luxury flats

Westoning Manor January 2010
Westoning Manor January 2010