Norman Jewson

Norman Jewson, architect


by Nicholas Mander

Norman Jewson was an architect and craftsman of the Cotswold group of the Arts and Crafts movement, the most distinguished of the second generation of the circle associated with Ernest Gimson, who settled in Sapperton at the turn of the twentieth century. Surviving into old age, he was a link who carried forward their ideals in his architecture and his writings to the second half of the twentieth century.

He was born on 12 February 1884, the son of John William Jewson (1851-1922) by Henrietta Catt (1851-1951), of a family of established coal, slate and timber merchants, and later building material suppliers, in Norwich. In 1836 his grandfather, a Fenman named George Jewson, had bought a business at Earith in Huntingdonshire where he traded in goods brought up by horse-drawn barges on the River Ouse from King's Lynn. The Jewson family were to prosper in Norwich, giving many generations of civic service. Norman's elder brother, Percy William Jewson (1881-1962), was Liberal MP for Great Yarmouth 1941-5.

He spent, he said, all his early life in East Anglia. He went to a small private school, St Aubyn's, in Lowestoft, whose headmaster, John B. Payne, had been at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Jewson went up to that College in 1902, where he read architecture and rowed in the second Eight. He then served his articles in London in the architectural practice of the East Anglian architect Herbert [Bertie] Ibberson, a cousin who had completed a good deal of respected work in the Arts and Crafts style in East Anglia, notably in Hunstanton.

Jewson describes how, having finished his apprenticeship in 1907 and, disliking London "as a place to live in permanently the longer [he] stayed there", he set out with a donkey and trap on a sketching tour in the Cotswolds, "a part of the country little known at that time". He had no idea that he would stay there for the rest of his life.

Norman Jewson at his cottage in Far Oakridge, near Sapperton, after 1911

Apprenticeship to Ernest Gimson in Sapperton

Ibberson had recommended him to visit the workshops of Ernest Gimson, the architect and designer who had set up with the brothers Ernest and Sidney Barnsley a craft community in Sapperton, in the Cotswolds. Gimson soon took him on as an 'improver', or unpaid assistant, and put him to work at making sketches from life and studying the crafts of modelled plasterwork, woodcarving and design for metalwork, as for Gimson, architecture and the crafts were vitally interdependent.

Ernest Gimson had been born in Leicester in 1864, where, aged 20, he attended a lecture by William Morris, an event which was to change his life. Morris recommended him to the architectural practice of John Dando Sedding in London. Sedding had worked in the 'crafted Gothic' tradition, with a love of handicraft. Like Morris, Philip Webb and Norman Shaw, he had been a pupil of G.E. Street, that confident 'restorer' of churches. The personalities and connections are convoluted. Ibberson, together with Ernest Barnsley and Alfred Powell, had all worked in Sedding's office. From Sedding these architects derived their interest in the craft techniques of the Gothic vernacular, the stress on textures and surfaces, naturalistic detail of flowers, leaves and animals, always drawn from life, the close involvement of the architect in the simple craft processes of building and in the supervision of a team of craftsmen. There was an emphasis on the study of old work "considered not as mere forms, facts, and dates, but as ideas, as humanity, as delight".

But it is Philip Webb whom Ernest Gimson describes as his "own particular prophet" and he was in the forefront of those carrying on his ideals into a younger generation. Gimson moved with the brothers Ernest and Sidney Barnsley to the Cotswolds in 1893 "to live near to nature" and he became the leader in the Cotswold Arts and Crafts revival. He lived for a time (from 1894 to 1901) at Pinbury Park, on the Cirencester estate of Lord Bathurst. Philip Webb called Gimson's "little colony" there "a vision of the New Jerusalem". He wanted to retire near there, seeking "a sufficient hut or Diogenes tub ... a good seating for my warm bones".

In 1901 Gimson settled in Sapperton, designing his own house at The Leasowes, with showrooms for his furniture nearby at Daneway, a beautiful late medieval manor house above the canal. Here he stayed, working in close collaboration with the Barnsley brothers, until his death. Lethaby described him as an idealist-individualist. Following men like George Sturt, Charles Ashbee and Edward Carpenter, his work was founded on an aesthetic of social relationships looking to invigorate the organic village community, and he planned to found his colony as a Utopian craft village. With notable success, he concentrated on designing furniture, made by craftsmen under his chief cabinet-maker, Peter van der Waals (1870–1937), and he became one of the great furniture designers of the English tradition, "the greatest of the English architect-designers", according to Professor Nikolaus Pevsner.

He was one of the great adherents of Morris and Webb, preaching the committed study and practice of craft, again without any pretence of 'stylism'. His aesthetic of honesty and utility, his distinctive style which was "an attitude, not a style", a style which defies all style, with its subtle, ascetic grace and common sensuousness, distinguishes this Edwardian afterlife of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Apprenticeship to Gimson

Norman Jewson, sketch by Sir William Rothenstein, Far Oakridge, 1911

Norman Jewson, twenty years younger, working very much in the SPAB tradition, soon became an invaluable member of the group, as pupil, friend and close companion of Gimson in his later years. Gimson became Jewson's ownmiglior fabbro, his better craftsman as master and guide, and Jewson was in turn Gimson's greatest follower (Ernest Gimson, Leicester Exhibition Catalogue, Leicester Museums and Art Gallery, 1969).

Jewson describes how, as part of his training under Gimson, he was encouraged to draw a different wild flower every day from nature, reducing it to its essential characteristics and adapting it to a formal pattern for design work. He supervised much of Gimson's architectural and repair work, like the dovecote at Fiddington. He was

my greatest friend, and very much more. He was the most inspiring man I ever met, and not to me only. Professor Lethaby has called him "the inspiration of England".

He writes that he admired in Gimson an assured distinction, traditional in the use of the best craftsmanship and materials, where in design grace of form was combined with simplicity; these are the qualities of his own best architectural work. His credo was clear:

My own buildings I wanted to have the basic qualities of the best old houses of their locality, built in the local traditional way in the local materials, but not copying the details which properly belonged to the period in which they were built... I hoped that my buildings would at least have good manners and be able to take their natural place in their surroundings without offence.


Rodmarton Manor chapel, completed by Jewson 1929

He worked as a pupil to and then in partnership with Gimson and set up in practice on his own in Dyer Street, Cirencester, in 1919 (the year of Gimson's early death), collaborating for a while with Humphrey Gimson, Gimson's nephew, and with his friend F.L. Griggs. He joined the Art-Workers' Guild in 1918.

He soon gained a reputation for the sympathetic conservation and adaptation of old buildings. It was as a repairer as much as an original architect that Jewson achieved lasting success and satisfaction. He was a dedicated member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and worked under William Weir, one of the most skilful exponents of its philosophy of conservative repair as opposed torestorationwho had worked in Webb's office. Early repair jobs included work to the fifteenth-century church at Salle, in Norfolk and, on behalf of the SPAB, to the fourteenth-century Priest's House at Muchelney Abbey, Somerset, as well as Magdalen College, Oxford, where he oversaw repairs to the tower and prepared rooms for the future Edward VIII.

He also assisted his father-in-law, Ernest Barnsley, supervising the completion of Rodmarton Manor when Barnsley died in 1925, most notably the chapel (1929). Rodmarton was Ernest Barnsley's most important work; "probably", Jewson wrote, "the last house of its size to be built in the old leisurely way, with all its timber grown from local woods, sawn on the pit and seasoned before use." He supervised the completion of a number of projects for Ernest's brother, Sidney, when he died the following year.

Norman Jewson's wedding to Mary Barnsley at Duntisbourne Rous; his father-in-law, Ernest Barnsley, is to the right.

Repair of Owlpen Manor, 1925-26

His repair of Owlpen Manor is often considered his outstanding work. Owlpen was shuttered and forsaken, yet picturesque in its timelessness, when Norman Jewson first stumbled across it on one of his bicycle excursions from Sapperton before the First World War. 

He describes his first encounter with Owlpen:

a very beautiful and romantically situated old house, which had been deserted by its owners for a new mansion about a mile away a century before.  The house was rapidly falling into complete decay, but a caretaker lived in a kitchen wing and would shew some of the rooms to visitors, including one the walls of which were hung with painted canvas, of the kind Falstaff recommended to Mistress Quickly.

The terraced gardens with a yew parlour and groups of neat, clipped yews remained just as they were in the time of Queen Anne, a gardener being kept to look after them. There was also a large barn containing a cider mill and a massive oak cider press, as well as the old mill of the manor, which had been kept in tolerable repair, as the mill wheel was being used to pump water up to the modern house. 

In spite of the dilapidation of the house, which was so far advanced that one of the main roof trusses had given way, the great stone bay window had become almost detached from the wall and huge roots of ivy had grown right across some of the floors, it seemed to me that such an exceptionally beautiful and interesting old house might still be saved.

Repairs to attics at Owlpen, 1925-6

Owlpen, somnolent and under a spell of enchantment, represented for Jewson all that was vital in the English tradition, "a noble inheritance", as he wrote in A Little Book of Architecture (1940); like sister houses at Kelmscott itself and Daneway, at Sapperton, "symbols of the accumulated experience of the past".  

He finally succeeded in acquiring Owlpen and its old garden and outbuildings for £3,200 in July 1925, competing with Charles Wade of Snowshill Manor (now owned by the National Trust), who had offered £4,000.

His manner of working is characteristic. He recorded and surveyed the building carefully, a task begun in 1924 by Francis Comstock (Griggs's champion and cataloguer), producing beautiful measured drawings, and took photographs and water-colour sketches, many of which are preserved at Owlpen. 

Team of workmen at Owlpen, repairs 1925-6  Back row: Fred White, Tom Coles, Jack Fern, Reg Kilby, Reg Gardiner.  Middle row: Harry Drinkwater, Charlie White, Ted Hunt, Ray Parsloe, Frank Hogan, Herbert Howley, Bill Chappell.  Front row:  Leslie Brown, Bill Woodward (foreman), Wilf Hunt (motorcycle). Team of workmen at Owlpen, repairs 1925-6

Back row: Fred White, Tom Coles, Jack Fern, Reg Kilby, Reg Gardiner.
Middle row: Harry Drinkwater, Charlie White, Ted Hunt, Ray Parsloe, Frank Hogan, Herbert Howley, Bill Chappell.
Front row:  Leslie Brown, Bill Woodward (foreman), Wilf Hunt (motorcycle).

He engaged a team of craftsmen, employing them, as Sedding had taught, as direct labour. They are photographed at the steps of the garden. Many of them were from the Bisley area and had trained under Ernest Gimson or Detmar Blow, another Arts and Crafts architect who practised locally. As Sedding had recommended,

the real architect ... must be his own clerk of works, his own carver ... the familiar spirit of the structure.

The craftsmen were supervised to the last detail of feature and flourish in which he delighted: traditional pargework of the Tetbury area in a scalloped design made by the plasterer's hawk to the window jamb surrounds;  diapered patterns of nailheads on the battens of the boarded doors; the laying of a floor as Gimson had taught, according to A.R. Powys, with the butt ends reversed, so that the boards taper with the bole of the tree, head to tail, a classic example of randomness and care, of economy, beauty and use coming together, a work executed by Waals. The roofs are finished with swept valleys with their traditional galetting; the stone roofing 'slats' are carefully graded, each size with their quaint local names, like bachelors and long nines, cocks, wivots and cussoms. He removed the ivy which festooned the whole building, limewashed the exterior rendering and, ever the architectural gardener, shaped and trimmed the formal yews. 

He took great care to preserve its textures, all that was resonant and subtle in its fabric: lime-based techniques many of us employ again today, then in survival as much as revival, and the conservative practice advocated by the SPAB of "repair by building" and tile repair (e.g., to the hood-moulds), adding to and preserving as much as possible of the original fabric. He used hand-made nails, clouts and spikes (he was proud of these on his own door). He sought out the sources of the best traditional materials -- timber (he said) from the Uley village sawmill; Cotswold freestone, rubble and roofing tiles; ox hair, and drift from the deep and dusty lanes that were carved into the valley bottom.

Brass 'fritillary' pattern sconce at Owlpen Brass 'fritillary' pattern sconce at Owlpen


Sconce designs Caption Jewson designed cast architectural leadwork for scalloped spouts and the rainwater hopper heads, with more owls and defining dates. Again, this, with his mannered naturalistic designs, is something of a hallmark. Leadwork by Norman Jewson, dated 1926 Leadwork by Norman Jewson, dated 1926

Modelled plasterwork was one craft that Jewson practiced with great originality and with which he embellishes his otherwise restrained interiors. His designs of vivid local animals, squirrels, owls, flowers and foliage, much as Gimson had employed them at Pinbury, are playful enrichments to many of his houses. Jewson studied the technique of traditional modelled plaster-work with Gimson, who regularly practised himself, modelling with his fourth finger.

gimson plaster Plaster decoration by Ernest Gimson at Owlpen Manor

Gimson had learnt modelled plasterwork with George Bankart [1866-1929], who had also been articled to Isaac Barradale in Leicester, and then with the leading London firm of Whitcombe and Priestley. He extolled the simple, hand-modelled work at houses like Wilderhope (Shropshire), Speke Hall (Merseyside), Chastleton (Oxfordshire) and Haddon Hall (Derbyshire).

Gimson describes the treatment of flowers at Knole House in Kent:

The modelling is very simple. There are no sharp lines, no quick curves, no undercutting, none of those tricks of the modern plaster-worker for making his designs 'sparkle'; but instead, dull lines, gentle curves, and little variety of relief ... though it may lack something of realism, it expresses the freshness and healthy growth which is the most vital quality in the natural flower.

Plaster trail at Owlpen by Norman Jewson Plaster trail at Owlpen by Norman Jewson


Jewson had been early struck by the "unusual beauty very local in character" of Gimson's modelled plaster ceilings. W.R. Lethaby describes Gimson's work as "quite original and modern, but as good, every bit, as old work, and yet as simple as piecrust."

Jewson's favoured additions, in metalwork, leadwork and plasterwork, are never allowed to descend to reproduction, but always original designs, always reversible, with variations in each building, inspired by but not imitating the best sixteenth- and seventeenth-century work. The old is always recognisably distinct from the new, as at Gimson's famous repair in timber of the freestone window at Whaplade Church in Lincolnshire, so that the repair is honest and visible, and the house should assume, reinterpret, as near as possible its original beauty.

Plaster flower design in the hall at Owlpen Plaster flower design in the hall at Owlpen

Woodcarving was another craft he enjoyed, turning his hand to details such as finials and newels. Various projected designs were never carried out. Sketches for an owl newel survive, but today Owlpen has a weaker copy from one of his pupils. He did bequeath his woodcarving chisels, as much as to say, "Go, and do likewise..."  

He would design simple furniture and fittings; cupboards, a bookcase and an elm kitchen dresser, all made, like the chestnut floor, by Peter van der Waals of Chalford.

The various accretions of social history are preserved. As James Lees-Milne has remarked, at Owlpen he retained the slight Georgian layer of architectural development -- sash windows and panelling -- which many architects restoring early houses in the 1920s might have suppressed through some zealous but misguided purism.

Jewson's discovery and subsequent purchase and repair of Owlpen was to be possibly his most enduring achievement. When the work was worthily done, he took some pride in having saved the building, describing it diffidently in a letter to Nina Griggs in 1944:

I have never been ambitious in the ordinary sense to satisfy myself of wanting to be 'somebody'.  I have always been ambitious to satisfy myself (or my own standards).  I suppose I got nearest to it at Owlpen than at any other time.

In the process the Tudor house was modestly restyled as the Gentleman's Residence of the inter-war years, with its servants' hall and capacious domestic offices, a flower room, two bathrooms, its own water-driven electric plant (in the Grist Mill) and a new-fangled patent heating system, 'The Pipeless British Marvel', circulating hot air straight into the Hall from a boiler behind. 

Little more than a year after buying Owlpen, he again put it on the market, and it was sold -- alas, to his personal loss -- in November 1926 to Barbara Bray. Later she was to describe him devotedly in a letter as "the magician of this resuscitated dream-place".

owlpen etch

'Owlpen Manor', etching dedicated to Norman Jewson by Fred Griggs, 1930

Four years later, Griggs aptly inscribed the first state of his etching of Owlpen:

To my friend NORMAN JEWSON, who, with one only purpose, & at his own cost & loss, possessed himself of the demesne of OWLPEN when, for the first time in seven hundred years, it passed into alien hands, & with great care & skill saved this ancient house from ruin.

The etching well describes the dreamy intensity that Jewson sought and largely achieved. John Cornforth wrote that Owlpen was one of a distinct group of early houses restored in the 'twenties. Jewson was of a generation of architects who combined sound knowledge and sureness of touch with intense poetic feeling. A dreamy sense of escapism is evident and Jewson was alive to the sense of enchantment, catching the spirit of place, as well as texture and period. For aftercomers like the Country Life architectural writer Christopher Hussey, Owlpen was a dream made real, crystallising the spirit of the secret valleys of the Cotswolds, and preserving something of a dream's lovely unreality. Hussey had first seen Owlpen before it was restored "on a dark autumn afternoon in 1925", empty and sad behind a dripping barrier of yews in the bowels of the valley.

Plaster owl modelled by Jewson, in the Great Hall Plaster owl modelled by Jewson, in the Great Hall Stone inscription recording repairs to Owlpen:  This House, the greater part of which had not been inhabited for many years & had fallen into decay, in 1925 became the property of Norman Jewson by whom it was repaired & again made habitable 1925-26. Stone inscription recording repairs to Owlpen:

This House, the greater part of which had not been inhabited for many years & had fallen into decay, in 1925 became the property of Norman Jewson by whom it was repaired & again made habitable 1925-26.

Architectural works

Jewson's other major essay in architectural repair was at Campden House [1934] outside Chipping Campden, where he demolished some untidy Victorian additions and domestic offices, unifying with the skilled use of detail and materials a cluttered design of various dates to form a pleasing and comfortable house, with terraced garden and summerhouse. Griggs described the project as the creation of "a smaller and far more beautiful house, with all that is of historical interest or architectural worth retained."

Jewson became securely established as a well-known "gentleman's architect" in the Cotswolds between the Wars, repairing, resuscitating, a number of distinguished Cotswold manor houses and farmhouses. They include: Charlton Abbots (Winchcombe); Cotswold Farm (Duntisbourne Abbots) for the Birchall family, which he completed for Sidney Barnsley with modelled plasterwork in the library and his most extensive garden added in 1936, on a hillside; Doughton Manor (Tetbury); Hidcote House (1924); Little Wolford Manor (Shipston-on-Stour); Nutbeam Farm (Duntisbourne Leer); Southrop Manor (Lechlade); Shipton Oliffe Manor (Andoversford); Swalcliffe Park (Oxfordshire); Painswick Lodge (1928); and (in the Bisley area) Iles Farm (Far Oakridge) for Sir William Rothenstein, Sydenhams Farm, Lower Througham, and Througham Slad (for William Cadbury). Llysgennydd was his sole house at St David's in Pembrokeshire for his Cambridge friend, Kenneth Pringle.

Alvescot Lodge (Oxfordshire), Battledown Manor and work at Glenfall House (both at Charlton Kings), the latter for the brewer Arthur Mitchell, also a patron of both Waals and Griggs, Eycot House (Rendcomb) (c. 1930), Grey Walls (Preston) (1927), Ready Token (Paulton) (1929), Warren's Gorse (Daglingworth) (1929), and two houses at Coates, were largely new works.

Grille in Great Hall, briar rose design Grille in Great Hall, briar rose design

He worked confidently in a more classical idiom in his country houses, when necessity or the spirit of place demanded it, as Shaw and Lutyens and, in the Cotswolds, Guy Dawber had done. The Lindens, Eaton, extended for his mother in Norwich (1921) and The Garden House, Westonbirt (1939), are his most successful essays in a whimsical, vernacular classicism, with characteristically fine plasterwork detail and restrained use of mouldings. The latter David Verey describes as one of his best works, "slightly more William and Mary, with an Italianate touch in the form of a deep loggia with Tuscan columns facing the garden", with mullioned and transomed windows and hipped roofs to its flanking bays, either side of a pedimented central doorway. It was to be his last complete house, but has been altered in the 1990s.

In the inter-War years he designed and repaired a good deal of low-cost housing, cottages for landowners and charities, including cottages at Climperwell, Foxcote, Painswick Lodge, South Cerney, Swalcliffe, Westonbirt ("splendidly stout" rubble chimneys, remarks Verey) and Withington. He worked for the Cirencester Rural District Council designing competent examples of  simple but sturdy social housing schemes, such as the Bowley Armshouses, Cirencester (1927 and 1934), or Siddington Reading Room, often relieved by some humorous detail.

It is fitting that he supervised the building of the village hall at Kelmscott as a memorial to Morris in 1933. His designs for gateways, memorials, tablet inscriptions, headstones, finials and lettering are found all over the Cotswolds and beyond.

He executed a good deal of church repair work. Christ Church, Chalford, near Stroud (c. 1937), was one of his most ambitious re-orderings, and it contains a remarkably complete scheme of Arts and Crafts furnishings by the Cotswold group, including altar rails, pulpit, lecturn and font by him.

A number of furniture designs are strikingly successful, from the fine piano-case with marquetry inlay, made by Waals, which he designed for Mrs Clegg of Wormington Grange, to the sturdy child's chair with back splats showing humorous carvings of village characters which he made and painted himself, as well as a number of toys, for his daughters.

Jewson did little professional work after 1940, and felt increasingly at odds with Modernism and the historical-artistic developments of the post-War period, deprecating the Muppets, which had strayed into his life, as compared with the puppets of his friend William Simmonds.

He wrote two books: By Chance I did Rove has become established as a minor classic of Cotswold life before the First World War, chronicling the background to the Gimson group and appearing in three editions, and The Little Book of Architecture (1940), which is a useful beginner's guide to English architectural styles.

Waterclour of Owlpen by Norman Jewson, 1926 Waterclour of Owlpen by Norman Jewson, 1926


Child's rocking horse by Jewson, sketch at Owlpen Child's rocking horse by Jewson, sketch at Owlpen

Last years: Norman returns to Owlpen

Christ Church, Chalford, reordered by Norman Jewson, 1937 Christ Church, Chalford, reordered by Norman Jewson, 1937  

In his last years Norman Jewson befriended the new owners of Owlpen when he was able to renew his acquaintance with the house after long separation. He would reminisce fondly about his work there, although the answers to many eager questions he simply couldn't remember: "It was rather a long time ago, you know" [fifty years].

"It's a pity there isn't a church like the one at Duntisbourne Rouse", Norman Jewson said as I had finished too proudly showing him the Victorian church above Owlpen, "but then you can't have everything!"

Jewson, like Ernest Gimson, had been married at Duntisbourne Rouse, one of Gloucestershire's perfect Norman churches commemorated in the etching by F.L. Griggs, one of countless little churches in the Cotswolds which still survived in something like their original condition from the middle ages.

Norman Jewson in old age Norman Jewson in old age

In the case of Owlpen, the "very rude" cottagy chapel, with its early Georgian preaching-church plan, high box pews, squire's pew "like a little room", double-decker reading desk and commandment boards, had been obliterated by Piers St Aubyn's ecclesiological scheme. The present church has elaborate neo-Byzantine mosaics and tiles by James Powell & Sons of 1887 and 1912, in Italianate style. It altogether lacks the scholarly inspiration of Sidney Barnsley's Church of the Wisdom of God [1890-2] at Lower Kingswood, Surrey, where Powells also executed the mosaic work.

He would talk of the Arts and Crafts in all their forms and of the people he had known, and advise tenderly on new projects of conservation and adaptation. He told how Ernest Barnsley would berate his brother, Sidney's, workmanship by pushing pennies through the gaps between the back boards of his high-backed settle. When he died he bequeathed the settle, which had belonged to Gimson at Pinbury, to Owlpen, as well as his Barnsley work table, and sketch-books and verses, and the diaries he kept of his Continental travels.

A tall figure, with a patrician charm and bearing, he was modest about his achievements. He would declaim the whimisical Irish Story of Hairy Rouchy, or a Victorian peepshow in verse handed down by a Cambridge tutor, recalling characters and topical jokes of the 1840s. Attired in the bottle-green velvet livery and beaver stove-pipe hat of Lord Bathurst's gamekeepers, his whining, falsetto drone echoes down the decades:

I have a peep show, a peep show, a penny for a pee-eep!

Of his poems, many are illustrated with quaint sketches in his little albums for his friends. One characteristically plaintive example was published, and serves as something of an epitaph:

And when at last our much-loved Mother Earth
Receives and for us makes a kindly bed,
May there be something left of lasting worth,
Something we may have limned, or sung, or said, 
Something we may have saved, or loved, or wrought,
That others will remember for a space,
And give us now and then a kindly thought,
That not in vain shall we have run our race.

He died peacefully in his cottage at Sapperton on 28 August 1975, aged 91, and is buried in Sapperton churchyard.

From Times Obituary by David Gould

His architectural work has a dignity and simplicity in keeping with the traditional Cotswold manner. His buildings look as if they had grown naturally from the ground. He was equally skilled and sympathetic in the restoration of old houses, the most notable of which is the romantic and unique gabled manor house of Owlpen, which he bought in a dilapidated condition in [1925] and restored at his own cost and, alas, ultimate loss. His friend F.L. Griggs, RA, inscribed and dedicated his etching of Owlpen to him.

Norman Jewson, with Fred Griggs and the poet and essayist Russell Alexander, were a trio of friends whose hearts beat as one in their regard and love for all that was finest in the English tradition. Their appreciation of sturdy architecture and the traditions of the English countryside was not the backward-looking dream of the medievalist harping upon a once golden age. They were realists whose desire was to maintain the character of the English countryside and its architecture and keep it alive and free from hideous modern accretions. Traditional things, long tested and tried, were not to be indiscriminately cast aside.

Jewson was content to pursue his own unfashionable path, never deviating from his high ideals and what he knew to be right. He produced many delicate water-colours and a number of poems of much felicity. Always courteous and with a charm which comes from a man at peace with himself, he was a delightful companion, whether on a long ramble through Sapperton woods, or at his own candlelit table where he always had a fund of comic and entertaining reminiscences.

List of architectural works

Aycote House, Rendcomb: substantial new gabled manor house to E plan with bay windows and storyed porch, for I. Naylor, 1931. Subdivided 1990s. Cottage and garage, 1932
Alvescot Lodge, Alvescot, Oxfordshire: with plasterwork, staircase and panelling, 1922-3
Bachelor's Court, Sapperton: alterations, for Lord Bathurst and himself as tenant, 1911
Battledown Manor, Cheltenham: entrance lodges; garden house and swimming pool; gates Greenway Farm nearby altered 1938
Oakfield House, Battledown: remodelling, facade, plaster ceiling, for Ewen Mews, post 1933
Campden House (formerly Coombe House), near Chipping Campden: alterations and repairs, including demolition of R.C. Carpenter's chapel and S wing of 1846 to form new dining room and drawing room; remodelling of kitchen offices to form library and study; remodelling of hall and porch; walled garden with buttresses and gazebo; new thatched staff cottage, alterations to barn and stables, for John Ashworth Crabree, electrical switch mfr, 1928-34. (Drawing of completed work in R.A. exhibition, 1936.)
Grey Gables, Charlton Park Gate, Cheltenham: new house with pigeon nesting-holes to gable, 1931. Cottage.
Chipping Campden: house for Ben Chandler, co-founder of the Chipping Campden Trust
Christ Church, Chalford, near Stroud: reordering and furnishings, including lectern, screen, panelling, font and cover, made by Waals, for Rev. W.J. Carder, c. 1934-7
Charlton Abbots, near Andoversford: alterations and new porch to manor house
Chedworth: The Orchard: addition of new gabled extension for Mr Levey, c. 1937
Chipping Campden: The Old Plough altered to form shop and house; Old Kings Arms [with sign by FL Griggs]; Studio; ?Rose and Crown [conversion with H.M. Gimson, for Judge Cust]; Robert Welch Shop, shop front restored, 1930; Elsley House (with sign and work by F.L. Griggs), repaired 1929; The Tithe House, restored for Campden historian Christopher Whitfield, c. 1930
Coates, Cirencester (two houses): Fosse Hill, gabled cottage with thatched roof for F.B. Swanwick, c. 1923, and The Setts House, for A. McKillop, c. 1924 (Design drawing in Architectural Review, 1923)
* Cotswold Chine, Box: new house, with good staircase, datestone plaque of hawk over door, for Mrs Goss, 1927 and 1930
Cirencester: almshouses in Barton Lane, 1929; Bowley almshouses with weather clock in Watermoor Road, 1927; Greywalls [today Hunters], 1927; Barclays Bank, Market Place, alterations andplasterwork (with H.M. Gimson), 1923
Climperwell: house and granary, 1930
Cotswold Farm, near Duntisbourne Abbots: with his most extensive garden, terraces on a hillside; plasterwork to library and dining room; leadwork; completion of Ernest Barnsley's alerations for Major Birchall, c. 1926; garden 1938
Doughton Manor, near Tetbury: repairs and alterations with partitions, doors and fireplaces for Col. F.A. Mitchell, 1933
Down Ampney: cottages, alterations, for R.D. Council
Elkstone: Pike Cottage, alterations
Foxcote, near Withingon: Northfield, house and cottage, 1929
Frome Top, Minchinhampton: gabled cottage, 1926 * Greystones, Minchinhampton: sometimes attributed
Garden House, Westonbirt (in former kitchen garden of Westonbirt House): new H-plan house in William and Mary style with mullioned and transomed cross windows and hipped roof; classical loggia with Tuscan column; for Captain Guy Hanmer, 1939-40; cottages. Much altered in 1990s.
Glenfall House, Charlton Kings: completion of project by Sidney Barnsley, including ironwork to Lodge and work to gardens and terraces, for Arthur Mitchell, brewer, also a patron of both Waals and Griggs, c. 1920-23
Greenway Farm, near Cheltenham: alterations
Hidcote House, Hidcote Boyce: repairs, hall panelling and cast leadwork to L-plan house of 1663, 1924-5
Hidcote Manor, Hidcote Bartrim: ?one of his first independent works, addition of large NW wing and leadwork for Mrs Gertrude Winthrop, mother of Lawrence Johnston, 1910-
Hill Court, near Berkeley: vase urns for Jenner-Fust family
Iles Farm and cottage, Far Oakridge: new wing, conversion of linking block and barn as a studio for the artist Sir William Rothenstein, 1913-14
Kelmscott, Lechlade: completion of Morris memorial hall and cottages to Gimson's designs, commissioned byMay Morris, 1933; officially opened by George Bernard Shaw October 1934
Lane End, Kilve, Somerset: cob cottage for himself; also Rowditch, in Kilve for Mrs Heady
The Lindens, Eaton, Norwich: drawing room and plasterwork, for his mother, Henrietta Jewson, 1921
Llysgennydd, St David's, Pembrokeshire: holiday house developed around existing cottage to hall plan with figure carvings and elm screen for his Cambridge friend, Kenneth Pringle (1950s, altered 2009-10)
Little Wolford Manor, Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire: repaired and enlarged, fireplaces introduced from elsewhere, for Capt [later Sir] Robert S. Holford, a director of United Steel Cos, 1934-9
Magdalen College, Oxford: repairs to Tower and preparation of rooms for the future Edward VIII, with William Weir, c. 1911
Priest's House, Muchelney, Somerset: supervision of repairs to medieval house for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings under William Weir, c. 1911
Nutbeam Farm, Duntisbourne Leer: remodelling and extension of C15 hall house, originally a grange of Cirencester Abbey
Owlpen Manor, Owlpen: repairs and remodelling for himself, insertion of staircases, joinery by Waals, alterations to kitchen outbuilding, 1925-6
Painswick Lodge: completion of Ernest Barnsley's plans for alterations to house, with cottage and gardens and pool, for Lennox Murray, 1925-33
Painswick: cottage for Francis Isabel Seddon (née Perrins, widow of parson), 1920; ?Croft Orchard, Gloucester Street, attributed, c. 1925
Poulton Grange, Poulton, 1929
Ready Token, Poulton: new house to butterfly plan, 1928-9
Redmarley D'Abitot, The Down House: alterations to this neo-Greek house by Rickman
Rodmarton Manor: chapel and leadwork, completion of project for the Hon. Claud and Mary Biddulph, 1928-9
Sheepscombe: cottage, 1936
Shipton Oliffe Manor, Andoversford: addition of manor house S wing for dining-room and remodelling of SW wing; row of 3 cottages in Kilham Lane; and remodellng of stables [datestone], all for RHA Gresson, 1934-
Siddington: reading room and cottages for R.D. Council
South CerneyStation Road: restoration of row of C17 gabled cottages, 1919
Southrop Manor, Lechlade: substantial alterations include remodelling of south front with pedimented doorway, removal of Norman arch to remodelled dining room, alterations to drawing room with fireplace from Lechlade Manor, plasterwork, and alterations to outbuildings with a new cottage, 1926 and 1932-9
Swalecliffe Park, Oxfordshire: alterations to cottage row and main house, 1937
Sydenham's Farm, Bisley: alterations and additions to farmhouse of medieval origins, notably on north side, 1927 A cottage to the SE, 1938
Througham Court, Bisley: alterations include creation of dining room in stables with gabled pigeon loft, incorportion of barn and general repairs for the novelist, Sir Michael Sadleir, 1929
Througham Slad, Bisley: large NE wing converted with gabled entrance porch, panelling, doors and staircase, for William Cadbury, 1931
Warren's Gorse, Daglingworth: gabled house with panelling and staircase with carved animal newel finials, for Aubrey Price, 1922
Westington, Pike Cottage, nr Chipping Campden: alterations to thatched cottage for the illustrator and stained glass artist, Paul Woodroffe, 1925
Weston-sub-Edge: lych gate, 1922
Woeful Dane House, Minchinhampton: enlarged, with staircase and door executed by Waals, 1935
Wormington Grange: west garden (with ?Ionic loggia), gates (by Alfred Bucknell) and repairs to main house, and substantial works to Old Rectory and Grange Farm, also piano case, all for Mrs Henry Gordon Clegg, 1930s

Memorials and church work: Salle Church, Norfolk, seating and repairs, with William Weir, 1911; Painswick, war memorial with F.L. Griggs, 1921-2, and stone tablet to Rev. William Herbert Seddon, 1926; Fairford, base to font, credence table, to Richard John Bailey, 1927; Cheltenham All Saints, stone tablet to Ven. George Lawrence Harter Gardner, 1926; Upper Swell, stone tablet to Rees Davies, 1928; Maisey Hampton, war memorial, 1919; Alvington, war memorial, 1919; Ampney St Peter, brass tablets as war memorial, 1919; Hill, stone tablet war memorial, 1919; Woolaston, marble tablet war memorial, 1919; Cold Aston, stone tablet war memorial, 1920; Sapperton, stone tablet war memorial, 1920; Wickwar, stone tablets as war memorials, 1920 and post 1945; Stanway, inscription in window embrasure as war memorial, 1920; Siddington St Peter, stone tablet war memorial, 1921; Dumbleton, nr Tewkesbury, stone tablet war memorial, 1921; Down Ampney, stone tablet memorial to Susan Benger and Alfred Horace, 1922; Weston-sub-Edge, lych gate as war memorial, 1922; Gloucester Cathedral, memorial tablet to Biship E.C.S. Gibson, d. 1924; Alderley, memorial tablet in alabaster to Sophie Hale, 1925; Thornbury, stone to J.T. Chambers, organist, d. 1924; Sherborne, alterations, 1926; Didbrook, choir stalls, 1926; memorial stone to Paul Henry Foley of Prestwood and Stoke Edith, 1931; Ampney Crucis, memorial stone to Daisy Methuen Lloyd of Waterton House and family, c. 1942; Elkstone, tombstone to Julia Helen Nock, d. 1936; Quedgeley, altar and reredos to S aisle, 1938; Lechlade, St Lawrence's Church, communion rails; Souldern, Oxfordshire, gateway to church; St James's Church, Chipping Campden, north chapel furnished with communion rails, altar, screens, panelling, 1945-58; memorial to Lyttelton and Annesley families, Lyttelton vault, n.d.; St Mary's School Hall, nr Norwich, stone tablet to commemorate opening by P.W. Jewson, 1949; Bibury, gravestone to Sir Orme Bigland Clarke Bt, d. 1949; and gravestone to Edward Giles Hitchings Gardiner, d. 1958.


Norman Jewson, By Chance I Did Rove (Cirencester, 1951 and 1973; Barnsley 1986)
Norman Jewson, A Little Book of Architecture (Oxford, 1940; reprinted) 
N. Mander, S. Verity and D. Wynne-Jones, Norman Jewson, Architect: 1884-1975 (Cirencester, 1987) 

© Nicholas Mander, revised Owlpen 2011