Claud Biddulph and his wife commissioned this Arts and Crafts style house from Ernest Barnsley in the early 20th century to highlight the value and quality of traditional crafts.
Claud and Margaret Biddulph were passionate about the Arts and Crafts movement and its focus on traditional ways of making fine art. They wanted their house to be a focal point for the local community, who could work on projects there. They commissioned Ernest Barnsley to design the house but he sadly died before the house was completed and his brother, Sidney, and son-in-law, Norman Jewson, completed the job. All the construction materials and furniture were made locally and often by hand in an attempt to return to the quieter side of life, placing the emphasis on good craftsmanship rather than on quick and hurried machine manufacturing. Alfred Hoare Powell, architect and pottery designer, provided some of the furniture for the house, which was described as the single best example of the Arts and Crafts movement by Charles Ashbee.
Today, if you go on a house tour, you’ll find the original interiors virtually unchanged from when they were first decorated. The Grade II-listed gardens followed the same principle and provided food for the house. Margaret Biddulph helped plant the gardens with yew hedges, laurels and roses, plus a cherry orchard and other fruit trees. The “Troughery” has lots of stone troughs and topiary: a collection of high-maintenance trees that contrasts with the Leisure Garden, which is designed to be a garden that doesn’t require any weeding.
John and Sarah Biddulph live at Rodmarton Manor with their family and often hold events in the Manor grounds; most recent examples include a rare plant sale and a crafting morning.