Major extension works to a listed castle, Oxfordshire

Creation of a walled garden with reading tower and farm buildings.

The existing house is a splendid example of high Medieval architecture, listed at Grade II*, retaining its massive curtain wall and gatehouse from the earliest (13th century) phase of building. Like many such ancient buildings, this has been altered and added to many times, notably in the 16th and 19th centuries. Our proposals follow the lines of older structures, evoking a rich past of defensive capabilities, Medieval life and the agricultural “great court” that the complex has become.

A working kitchen garden has already been established here, a place of old world charm amid the flood plains of the River Thames. Manifest worked in close collaboration with the owners to develop a series of garden walls to enclose this space, with carefully designed and detailed ancillary buildings which are to read as contemporary, sensitive additions to the tapestry of centuries surrounding them. A strong tower rises at the furthest point from the historic castle, echoing the line of the old curtain wall, and providing an anchor to the new design, while permitting spectacular views across Oxfordshire.

Great attention was paid to detailing and materials in the scheme. A form of rough render has been specially developed for the project, to work with the existing render and local limestone of the site. Other materials include raw oak, charred timbers, warm red bricks and reclaimed roof tiles and slates.