Kelmscott Manor

BY CHARLES EVANS

In 1871 William Morris fell in love with, and acquired, the grey gabled manor house lying among the Thames-side water meadows and enclosed in a romantic old garden.

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It was probably built around 1570, in the style traditional of the Cotswolds, on the fringe of which it stands, in Lechlade in Oxfordshire.

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But Morris’s coming is the more significant date; for it converted him, and directed the artistic revival, in the England which he represented, to the sensitive restoration of old buildings and away from the creation of a modern idiom. Whether that was a good thing or not, his tender, self-effacing care inspired two generations to preserve ancient buildings, and made of Kelmscott an exquisitely beautiful place.

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