Clouds House

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Clouds House, also known simply as Clouds, is a Grade II* listed building at East Knoyle in Wiltshire, England. Designed by Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb for Percy Wyndham and his wife Madeline, it was first completed in 1886, but an 1889 fire necessitated its rebuilding, finished in 1891.[1] Clouds was Webb's grandest design. It became a centre of social activity for the intellectual group known as The Souls,[2] and was frequented by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones and politicians like Arthur Balfour.[1]

Owned by the charity Action on Addiction, it is a treatment centre for drug dependence and alcohol dependence.[3]


Wyndham bought the Clouds estate in 1876,[4] so called because its lands included the former manor of Clouds, in Milton, Wiltshire, which was owned by John Clouds at some time before 1551.[5]

Wyndham commissioned Webb to replace a smaller house on the site, at the head of a valley sloping down to the south-east, with uncultivated land lying to the north.[6] It was Webb's grandest country house design, intended to facilitate the Wyndhams' continual round of house parties,[4] creating "a palace of week-ending for our politicians" in the words of Webb's friend William Lethaby.[6] Two south-facing drawing rooms were connected by double doors, allowing them to be joined into one large space.[7] The south elevation, which had three gables,[6] also featured a large balcony with a canvas awning,[7] built over a loggia. It overlooked a terrace for outside dancing.[2]

The centre of the house was occupied by a two-storey living hall,[1] divided into three bays by two arches supported on piers, with each bay lit by a roof lantern. It contained a freestanding inglenook with a large, hooded fireplace. A gallery around the top of the hall was glazed to prevent eavesdropping on conversations below.[8]

An extensive service wing on lower ground to the east of the main house was attached to its north-east corner.[6] It was later partially demolished. The remaining service buildings are Grade II listed.[9]

Later history[edit]

The estate was inherited by Wyndham's son George Wyndham, but after George's death the family started to break it up. Clouds House was sold in 1936. In 1938,[5] alterations removed some original features including gables and the fireplace, and some of the hall space was converted into passageways. The house's main entrance, on the north side, was replaced with one on the west.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d English Heritage. "Clouds House (1131142)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 November 2013 .
  2. ^ a b Kirk (2005), pp. 141–142.
  3. ^ Siddique, Haroon (23 December 2012). "Addiction sufferers find little joy in Christmas". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Kirk (2005), p. 132.
  5. ^ a b "'Parishes: East Knoyle', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 11: Downton hundred; Elstub and Everleigh hundred (1980), pp. 82–103.". British History Online. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Lethaby (1979), pp. 99–101.
  7. ^ a b Kirk (2005), p. 136.
  8. ^ Kirk (2005), p. 139.
  9. ^ English Heritage. "Annexe and Flat to Clouds House (1283986)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 November 2013 .


  • Kirk, Sheila (2005). Philip Webb: Pioneer of Arts & Crafts Architecture. Chichester: Wiley-Academy. ISBN 0470868082. 
  • Lethaby, W. R. (1979). Rubens, Godfrey, ed. Philip Webb and His Work. London: Raven Oak Press. ISBN 0-906997-003. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°4′44″N 2°10′38″W / 51.07889°N 2.17722°W / 51.07889; -2.17722