Thursday, October 13, 2011

A vicarage house for 1816

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Loretta reports:

One doubts that all clergymen’s homes were quite as elegant as this one—although Mr. Collins’s might have been, in order to do Lady Catherine proud.  It's nice to see a floor plan, certainly.
October 1, 1816.
The annexed design was intended for the residence of a clergyman, and purposed to be erected in a situation where the scenery is both rural and romantic, and well disposed to accord with the style of building which may be considered as peculiarly ecclesiastic, from the extensive patronage that architecture once received by the munificence of church government. The parts of this design were selected from the church itself to which the vicarage-house belongs, and with which it would correctly assimilate, particularly as the building was intended to be placed in its immediate neighbourhood. The practice of designing the residence of a clergyman with reference to the characteristics of the church to which it belongs, where the style of architecture is favourable to such selections, is desirable, not only as relates to a tasteful advantage, but as it becomes another and visible link of connection between the church itself and the pastor who is devoted to its duties, and also leads the spectator very naturally from contemplating the dwelling, to regard the pious character of its inhabitant. This association has occurred to a poet, whose works indeed are nearly obsolete.
Ackermann's Repository, 1816.
The poetry referred to having fully earned its obsolescence, I've taken the liberty of leaving it out.  It's enough work getting through the prose.  Readers have no doubt noticed Regency-era writers' fondness for the passive mood.


Hels said...

Love it! It makes sense to me that the architect would design the residence of a clergyman with reference to the characteristics of the church to which it belonged. It still would today, if vicarages were being built anew.

But I am not sure that a design, intended for the residence of a clergyman, was in accord with the style of building which was considered as peculiarly ecclesiastic. I've looked at hundreds of vicarages and cannot see a peculiarly ecclesiastic element that linked them.

Lil said...

I could live in that house quite happily (assuming indoor plumbing, of course).

There are a few new churches in my neighborhood, and I am quite glad that no one builds vicarages to match—they are truly ugly buildings.

You know, I never noticed the Regency prevalence of the passive voice, but now that you mention it, I'm noticing it everywhere!

Christine H. said...

That description is hilarious. Oh, it's not supposed to be, is it? Oh well. I love these old house plans. I love the idea of the old Sears & Roebuck houses too. I love the idea of a ready-made (but substantial!) plan and all of the materials delivered to the site.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Excellent! The asymmetry of the house (both plan and facade), together with the emphasis on 'rural and romantic' scenery, show the influence of the Picturesque movement, presumably. The prose style made me smile, too.

Anonymous said...

Both the floor plan and the picture remind me of Down House, where Darwin lived. I wonder if that used to be a vicarage?

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