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Photographer: Andrew Barnett


Gazetteer No. G0069

Date 1899

Address Abinger Common Dorking, Surrey RH5 6JH England


Goddards was built as a Home of Rest where ladies of ‘small means’ could go for a holiday. After the Boer War it was used for invalid soldiers, and not until 1910 was it converted into a private house and its wings extended. The most important thing about Goddards is that is a symmetrical Arts and Crafts building, for the first time in his work. This was no doubt brought about by the odd nature of the brief – Lutyens wrote that Mirrielees wanted to build ‘two cottages with a Common Room behind’, (Sept 1898). Lutyens made the cottages splay out behind the central room, with a skittle alley fitted in under the roof down one side. The walls are roughcast and white-washed, contrasted with red-brick mullioned windows. The roof is tiled, with Horsham slates on the lower levels. The white gabled effect of the entrance front links this house, together with Barton St. Mary, to Caldecott’s images of Surrey and the houses of Voysey and Baillie Scott. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.120)

Beside Abinger Lane is GODDARDS, by Lutyens, begun 1898–1900 and extended by him in 1910. The client on both occasions was Frederick Mirrielees (cf. Beatrice Webb House, below), who commissioned it as a hostel for London ‘ladies of small means’ to reinvigorate themselves in the Surrey hills; only in 1910 was it transformed into a house, for Mirrielees’s son. So it should not surprise that Goddards does not fit easily into the sequence of the architect’s Surrey vernacular houses. For one thing, it is absolutely symmetrical, and for another it is a combination of tallow-coloured roughcast walls with brick-mullioned windows and dressings under a tile roof.* The entry from the road is from the side into a quiet court, intentionally modest and cottagey, with the house along the far side and two small wings coming forward. In the centre a hipped roof fronted by a pair of gables for dormers, and l. and r. stalky diamond-stack chimneys. At ground floor almost no windows except at the extremities, and the arched door tucked unobtrusively to the l. This was originally a throughway to the garden side, enclosed as a lobby in 1910.

On the W side, an altogether different impression: broad and generously scaled, with long wings splayed around a courtyard garden and the central range one long slide of roof, the lower courses in Horsham slates forming a pentice over canted bay windows. This range was the common room with a games room above. The wings were originally about half their present length and simply gabled, but elaborated in 1910 with canted bays onto the court and large chimneys on the ends, their tiled flanks up to double stacks. Inside, the central room is the width of the centre, with a pegged post-and-lintel frame with curved braces, a close-studded wall at one end (to separate it from the entrance passage) and at the other three brick-arched openings like the low end of a medieval hall, the middle one a fireplace with a typical Lutyens flare of coved brick above. The N wing originally held the hostel’s kitchen, dining room and parlour, the S wing a washhouse and studio, and a SKITTLE ALLEY in the SE continuation with raked buttresses and long brick-mullioned windows. Inside this is a delicious white-walled tunnel spanned by red brick arches. The extensions of the wings allowed re-formation into dining room (N) and library (S), both with giant inglenooks with brick floors (one behind a sandstone arch, the other with a heavy timber beam) but varied in their details. The dining room has some elegant curved cabinets in a Georgian style (cf. Fulbrook).

GARDEN COURT laid out by Jekyll, with stone and tile paving and a central pond in a deep well. Jekyll’s interest in the artefacts of Surrey vernacular rural life most evident in the ironwork and horsebells inside.

To the r. of the front a BARN, brought by Mirrielees from Slinfold (West Sussex) and re-erected here by Lutyens. Also a GARAGE by Wildblood & Hall, 1981. – To the l. of the front, the original C17 Goddards cottage.

* It is also one of the more visitable houses of his early years, having been donated to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 as their headquarters and let to the Landmark Trust for holiday accommodation. (O’Brien et al., 2022, pp.104-5)


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

Edwards, B. (1996) Goddards: Sir Edwin Lutyens. London: Phaidon.

COUNTRY HOMES: GODDARDS, ABINGER COMMON, SURREY. A HOME OF REST. 1904. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 15(369), pp. 162-168.

Listing Grade


Listing Reference



Sir Frederick Mirrielees, Bt