Main Image
Photographer: Anna Bonham-Carter

Chinthurst Hill

Gazetteer No. G0021

Date 1893-95

Address Wonersh Guildford, Surrey GU5 0QH England


Stylistically Chinthurst Hill is Tudor with inset Gothic traceried windows suggesting a mediaeval manor house altered in Elizabethan times. It shows Lutyens’s interest in materials and the game of building vertically. The house is built into a hill; it jetties out at different levels and there is great play with walls, chimneys, terraces and steps. Inside is a Gothic hall and open oak staircase, finely detailed. It is built of dressed and pointed rubble with tile-hung gables and elaborate brick chimneys; the terraced garden was planted by Gertrude Jekyll. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.51)

Bargate stone house in the Elizabethan style, by Lutyens, 1893–5, for Emilia Guthrie, daughter of Elinor Arbuthnot, who commissioned Shaw at Upper House, Shamley Green (q.v.). This was Lutyens’s first major house and before he had found his feet, architecturally speaking. Subdivided in 1953 but now reunited as one and restored, works initiated by Frances & Michael Edwards in 2015 and recently completed.

Fine hillside site above the Wey valley, with the principal rooms of the S front arranged in an L-plan on the downward slope. This is an imposing three storeys high and the architect’s control of massing is already self-evident. A large wing comes forward to the edge of the terrace on the l. with a gabled stack of bay windows projecting forward of a stepped buttress. The middle of this front has, however, an explicitly medieval character with a battered buttress dividing a pair of large open arches below Gothic windows (the first and last ever use by Lutyens of tracery), just as if an older hall house with undercroft has developed into a late C16 mansion. In 1937 the 2nd Lord Inchcape added an attic storey, projected on corbelled arches framing the hall windows; an ungainly effect fortunately now removed. Big chimney-breast in the angle with the r. wing, which has a half-hip set against a taller tower for the back stairs with gableted roof. With the fall of the land this side is a full storey higher than the cosy N front, with a little tile-hanging on conjoined gables and a wing on the l. with a door for luggage to be hoisted directly to the bedrooms. Two-storey porch tucked against the W cross-wing, with mullioned window and vaulted interior of bands of tiling between stone.

Inside, vestibule with library to the r. but then in the centre of the S front (i.e. behind the traceried windows) a fine central hall with a heavy-framed timber roof on arched braces, in a free Gothic style. The braces have posts on carved corbels with small figures, again a unique use of sculptural ornament among Lutyens houses. Recessed fireplace with abstracted details on the jambs of a low segmental Portland stone arch; tall and deep stone arches for the windows. The staircase is conventionally Jacobean and its upper landing rather blatantly half-timbered with patterns of ogee bracing (cf. Munstead Wood), but the upstairs corridor has cool white arches, plastered, which prophesy a later Lutyens. One enchanting bedroom fireplace with an overmantel of scooped arches. In the basement, open to the loggia below the hall, a smoking room with large Neo-Tudor fireplace. The kitchen and the service stair (with diamond-shape balusters) are entirely tiled, with beautiful effect.

The coachhouse wing E of the N front has a cart entrance to the yard and originally concluded with stables under a roof curving up to a ventilator , a feature reinstated in the recent works on an extension to the building.

Terraced GARDENS. Two tiers, with a bastion and steps added between the upper and lower layers by Lord Inchcape. Nice LODGE at the foot of the hill, 1897.

On top of the hill (400 ft (120 metres) high) is a circular TOWER, also built by Lord Inchcape. (O’Brien et al., 2022, pp.200-1)


Amery, C., Richardson, M. and Stamp, G. (1981) Lutyens, the Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944): Hayward Gallery London, 18 November 1981-31 January 1982. London: Arts Council of Great Britain.

O’Brien, C., Nairn, I. and Cherry, B. (2022) Surrey. Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Also Cited In

Richardson, M. (1973) Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects: Edwin Lutyens. Farnborough: Gregg International Publishers.

Nairn, I., Pevsner, N. (1971) Surrey (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England). 2nd edn. Yale University Press.

Listing Grade


Listing Reference

1260635 1377748


Miss Amelia Guthrie