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The Downs School (also known as Charlton House)1123


The Downs School (Charlton House) occupies a 16th-century site landscaped in the late-18th century and planted with specimen trees in the 19th century.

The Downs School occupies the former Charlton House (Grade II listed). It is on the site of a 16th century site landscaped in the late-18th century and planted with specimen trees in the 19th century. There is a long, ornamental approach to the house. Other features include mature specimen trees, parkland, a ha-ha, elaborate 19th-century garden fountain and stone corbeille.

Description checked by Avon Gardens Trust 22/5/2012. Historical information added by the Avon Gardens Trust from 12/2/2013

  • House (featured building)
  • Now School
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  • Natural Landscape
  • Description: Parkland
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  • Garden Terrace
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  • Ha-ha
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  • Ornamental Fountain
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  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building
  • Reference: Downs School, The
  • Grade: II


The east wing of Charlton House (Grade II listed) probably dates from Elizabethan times (1558-1603). The front hall is Jacobean (1603-25), with restoration dating from 1883.

Detailed History

The oldest part of Charlton House is the East Wing which is Tudor and probably built during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603). There remain two arched windows, now internal, from this period.

The front hall is Jacobean (James I: 1603 – 1625) but it was completely restored in 1883. The wonderful fireplace, ‘crude but spirited’, erected by Sir Edward Gorges in 1624 remains. It bears the arms of Gorges impaling Speke, fittingly the figures in the upper part representing Justice and Mercy.

The Victorian Wing was added by the Gibbs family in 1883 and contained the smoking room, the billiard room and library. The original billiard table is now exhibited at Tyntesfield House. The panelling and stained glass windows are from 1877 and display the Gibbs coat of arms.


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century


  • Avon Gardens Trust