Saving Brockhampton: Buckler’s restoration
In 1871, Lower Brockhampton Manor was no longer the main seat of the Barneby family, who had relocated to a red brick mansion at the head of the estate. The manor had been used as a farmhouse and was slowly falling into disrepair. If it hadn’t been for John Buckler it may not have survived.
When he arrived at Brockhampton, Buckler was already a renowned architect. He had officially retired from an illustrious career but could not resist the chance to save such a charming and unique building.
When Buckler discovered Lower Brockhampton Manor, it had been over 100 years since the family had relocated to the mansion on the hill and he was taken by the manors crooked limbs and irregular lines stating he would restore the building sympathetically. He left strict instructions to those working on the manor stating repairs to material should only be made if absolutely essential. If new materials were to be used then they were treated to look old; timbers were stained and bricks were lime-whitened.
" “The preservation of Brockhampton old House has been a labour of love” "
In 1978, Julian Munby described the work as ‘an outstanding example of sympathetic conservation that could scarcely be paralleled today’.
What work took place?
Most repairs were undertaken in the Great Hall. Here Buckler removed a bedroom floor and three dormer windows in the roof, all of which had been inserted for John Barneby in the seventeenth century. The floor was repaved with recycled flagstones from elsewhere in the house. He also designed and inserted the staircase that now leads to the Gallery. Elsewhere, the wall of the kitchen was restored and the floor paved with bricks laid flat. Brickwork throughout the building was conserved and replaced if too damaged and the roof tiling was repaired.
By the time Buckler had finished, Lower Brockhampton was once again a quaint medieval, timber framed abode.