Architects of Scarisbrick Hall

February 10, 2012

Scarisbrick Hall is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture, but it did not always look the same as it does today. The structure has gone through many redesign and remodelling phases and two architects who made the biggest contribution to it were A.W.N. Pugin and his son E.W. Pugin.

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852)

A W N PuginA.W.N. Pugin was a prominent English architect in the 19th century. He was well known for his Gothic Revival style, and along with Scarisbrick hall, he worked on other high profile projects like the Palace of Westminster and King Edward’s School in Birmingham. His father, Augustus Charles Pugin, was a French draughtsman. From his father he quickly learned how to draw Gothic buildings and that influence never left him as he remained completely devoted to the Gothic style for the rest of his life.

A.W.N. Pugin’s ideas on architecture revolved around the Gothic Revival style, and he has left an indelible stamp of this style on Scarisbrick Hall. Pugin was a Roman Catholic convert and he firmly believed that a Christian country should encourage Gothic architecture. Because of these views on architecture, he often worked with Catholic patrons, one of whom was Charles Scarisbrick.

Pugin was first asked to produce designs for his alterations for Scarisbrick Hall in 1836 by Charles Scarisbrick, the younger brother of Thomas Scarisbrick. Pugin started off with working on the roofed seat for the stone garden and the fireplace for the Great Hall. In the next few years, he worked on the west wing of the hall and designed the south front. He also added a north-south and east-west corridor so that the new and the old part of the building could be connected.

In 1838, Pugin designed the Clock Tower and worked on the windows of the main hall. He added a lot of ornamentation to both the exteriors and the interiors of the hall and was also involved in design of the main staircase. Pugin continued his work on Scarisbrick Hall well into the 1840s, but his own interest and Charles Scarisbrick’s enthusiasm for further developments diminished significantly. In the later stages of his career, Pugin was extensively involved with designing the interiors and furniture for the Houses of Parliament.

Edward Welby Pugin (1834 – 1875)

E W PuginE.W. Pugin was the eldest son of A.W.N. Pugin. After his father’s death in 1852, he inherited the architectural practice and continued to work with many of the same patrons. His Roman Catholic faith gave direction to his career, but unlike his father, his style was more elaborate and had a greater European influence.

After the death of Charles Scarisbrick in 1860, his sister, Lady Ann Scarisbrick, inherited Scarisbrick Hall and she brought in E.W. Pugin to make alterations. The most important change that Pugin brought to the hall was rebuilding the Clock Tower. The new tower was more flamboyant and much taller than the previous one. It also had a clear French Gothic influence.

E.W. Pugin redesigned the interiors and added an east wing to the hall. The east wing was connected to the main hall with an octagonal tower, and eight large fluttering birds were placed on its top. Pugin’s stamp of flamboyance is clear on the exteriors of the east wing and the interiors of the hall.

By the time E.W. Pugin died in 1875, he had worked on more than a hundred churches and cathedrals, and a number of schools and convents in England, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, and even North America. His practice had expanded and he had offices in London, Liverpool, and Ramsgate. After his death, his brother Peter Paul Pugin took over the practice.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rob Scarisbrick February 11, 2012 at 5:05 am

Error in last paragraph “By the time E.W. Pugin died in 1975,…”

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