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Chilton Lodge, Chilton Foliat, Berkshire: (executed) house for William Morland, 1791 and greenhouse for John Pearse, 1796 or later (5)

Signed and dated

  • 1791
    Main Year


Chilton Lodge and its estate has a complicated history. The following extract from Victoria County History: a history of the County of Wiltshire, volume 16, 1999, (Chilton Foliat, pp. 88-109) helps to explain it.
'Chilton Lodge, almost certainly the house called Chilton Park, was lived in by Sir Thomas Hinton [from the] 1620s and by Thomas Hussey in the 1640s [and] was enlarged by Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke [from] the 1660s.... Until 1785 or later the house was lived in by Whitelocke's successors as owners of the estate. It is unlikely to have been rebuilt before 1789, probably the year in which it was demolished. In that year, when William Morland became sole owner of the estate, the foundations of a new house, which Morland commissioned (Sir) John Soane to build, were being set out. The new house was probably on the site of the old, and its form was dictated by Morland's instruction to Soane to re-use materials from demolished buildings, presumably those of the old house. It was a villa with a two-storeyed centre and short single-storeyed wings. It was demolished, probably before 1800, and was replaced by a new and much larger Chilton Lodge built for John Pearse, the owner of the estate from 1796: the house called Chilton Lodge in which Pearse lived in 1800 was probably the new one. Two other houses afterwards occupied the site of the old Chilton Lodge. The new Chilton Lodge was designed by William Pilkington and was built ... in what was then or soon afterwards the centre of the park.'
Soane's office Journal No 1 and Ledger C show that he made his first site visit to Chilton Lodge on 4 April 1789 and some days later had shown Mr Morland 'two fair drawings of designs for houses'. Presumably the old house was demolished within the next two years. Morland and Soane travelled together to Chilton Lodge on 13 June 1791 and with (the builder ?) Mr Piper 'set out the foundations'. Plans, elevations and sections were delivered on 29 June 1791 to Mr Hammersley (Morland's partner in a Pall Mall bank) and further drawings were sent to Mr Piper in July and September of that year. There is another gap of two years when the next entry (14 September 1793) shows that Soane 'surveyed the house'. In 1796 Morland sold the estate to John Pearse (1759-1836) a director of the Bank of England, 1790-1828 (and Governor 1810-12). Soane had been appointed architect to the Bank in 1788 and seems to have always been on cordial terms with the Governor and directors. He designed alterations to 51 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London for Pearse in 1794 (q.v.). Soane's office Ledger C shows that on 9 March 1798 Soane received £105:0:0 from Messrs Ransom, Morland & Co. His usual fee was 5% so that the building costs must have been about £2,100.
The fact that Soane's Chilton Lodge was demolished and a new Chilton Lodge erected on a different site is difficult to explain. There may have been a fire, or perhaps the site, size or construction from re-used materials may have been unsatisfactory to the new owner.

Jill Lever, October 2011



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Contents of Chilton Lodge, Chilton Foliat, Berkshire: (executed) house for William Morland, 1791 and greenhouse for John Pearse, 1796 or later (5)