Matson House 6215

Gloucester, England, Gloucestershire, Gloucester

Brief Description

The grounds at Matson House retain features from an early to mid-18th century layout including terraces, kitchen garden walls and a canal. The property was a school from the early 1970s and is currently (2008) a residential care home for people with learning difficulties.


Matson House was built in the late 16th century. The gardens were laid out in the early- to mid-18th century and are thought to have been little altered until the property became a school from the 1970s.

  • Sundial
  • Description: Sundial dating back to period of ownership of Ambrose Willoughby.
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  • Canal
  • Description: A section of canal serving as a lily pond.
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  • House (featured building)
  • Now Care Home
  • Description: Alterations were carried out in the early-18th century, around 1785 and in the early 19th century. The house has been restored and refitted since the 1970s.
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Garden Terrace, Stable Block

Detailed History

The present house was built around 1575-6 for Richard Pate, MP and Recorder for the City, on the site of a medieval manor house held by Llanthony Priory. Jasper Selwyn bought the house in 1598 from Sir Ambrose Willoughby. In 1643 the house was used as Charles I’s headquarters during the Siege of Gloucester.

The formal garden is usually atrributed to George Augustus Selwyn, a friend of Horace Walpole (1717-1797). One of the garden walls is dated 1755, and has the Selwyn coat of arms carved on a stone panel within it. Whilst he lived mainly in London, he spent some time in Gloucester and added Gothick glazing bars to the front of many of the windows on the main front (reminiscent of Strawberry Hill, Walpole's Twickenham residence), presumably at the suggestion of Walpole. The house was tenanted out from Selwyn’s death in 1791 and passed to the Townsend family until 1912 when the estate was broken up.

From the 1950s Gloucester Corporation bought parcels of land belonging to the former estate for housing and a country park. In 1972 the trustees of Selwyn School bought the property.




  • Gloucestershire Gardens & Landscape Trust