Steephill

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Jersey houses


Steephill, St Saviour


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Property name

Steephill

Location

St Saviour's Hill, St Saviour

Type of property

Neo-Georgian country house

Valuations

No recent transactions

Families associated with the property

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

A high quality example of a neo-Georgian 'small country house' by renowned architect Ernest Newton, with associated cottage and rare fernery grotto.

Set within an unusually extensive and complex multi-phase villa garden. A significant house in the architectural history of Jersey, Steephill reflects that moment when Gothic Revival was being replaced by Queen Anne revival.

It was built 1899-1901 as the summer home for Charles Janvrin Robin.

Designed by architect Ernest Newton (1856-1922), a pupil of Norman Shaw and small country house specialist. It is one of the principal works by Newton and was illustrated by Hermann Muthesius in Das Englische Haus. Newton incorporated the existing conservatory and cellars of an earlier Gothic cottage ornee within his designs and the courtyard outbuildings - which appear to date from around the mid-19th century - were also retained.

The Gardener's Cottage behind the house, designed by Newton, was originally the Home Farm.

Marcus Binney in a Country Life article (1990) notes some 'nice Newton touches' to the cottage, and observes it is remarkably similar to Hazeley Heath in Hampshire, which Newton remodelled for himself in 1898.

Steephill was bought by Mr Shepherd Cross in 1959 from Brigadier Raoul Lempriere-Robin; the windows behind the portico heightened at this time by local architect, D V Hewitt.

Associated with the house is a rare Victorian fernery. The extensive and complex gardens for the villa were built on the site of a garden that is known to have existed since the 18th century, and was of renown by the late 19th century; Cinq Jours de Fete a Jersey (1878) speaks of them as among Jersey's most famous.

House built 1899-1901 by Ernest Newton in neo-Georgian style characteristic of the period.

The extensive gardens are contiguous with the gardens of Government House above to the east, and together they make a major ornamental contribution to this part of St Helier, set on the steep hillside leading up to St Saviour's church. The garden contains an extensive range of unusual and exotic trees, shrubs and climbers including a redwood and palms. The valley floor is reached from the house via steps.

The interior of the house has undergone alterations but retains some notable features from the original Newton design. Of interest are the entrance hall, including the marble flooring with geometric designs, oak wall panelling and oak panelled-doors leading off from the hall; the main staircase from ground floor to first floor; the first floor landing including the archways leading off; the ground floor library including the oak wall panelling and fitted bookshelves; and the secondary/servants' staircase from ground floor to attic rooms.

The interior of the Victorian fernery is of note, and the cottage also retains some, much simpler interior details that fit with what Binney describes as Newton's desire for 'a crisp, geometric look' and echo the style used in the main house.

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