Stair Parts Fig. 238 Gate Piers at Canons Ashby Northamtonshire
Stair Parts Fig. 239. Wooden Gates, Canon Ashby
Stair Parts Fig. 240 Design for TempleBar LondonBy Inigo Jones 1636
From the earliest days it had been customary to give importance to the entrance of a house. When means of defence were a necessity, the access was through a portion of the main building, and so into a courtyard. The portal was flanked with turrets which at first were devised for its protection, but in later times were retained as handsome architectural features. Then came the period when defence was no longer necessary, and the forecourt was merely surrounded by a wall. Access to this court was generally obtained through a gate-house, and Elizabethan and Jacobean houses have innumerable examples of these charming buildings. In the smaller houses an archway replaced the gate-house, and in course of time the archway gave place to gate-piers. But through all the changes, the desire to give emphasis to the entrance remained, and every house with architectural pretensions had gate-piers more or less handsome. At Canons Ashby, in Northamptonshire, there are several good types (Stair Parts Fig. 238); those between the green court and the park have a Jacobean flavour about them, while those at the bottom of the garden are surmounted by the family crest in the shape of a demilion holding a sphere. The gates which formerly hung between these piers (stair Parts Fig. 239) are probably the earliest example of garden gates in wood which survive, but they are so unconstructional in design that they threatened to fall to pieces, and were replaced by something plainer, but more convenient. Among the drawings by Jones and Webb are many of gateways, some rich in appearance, and some quite plain. The finest which remains is the well-known York watergate at the foot of Buckingham Street (Stair Parts Fig. 35). There are some careful drawings of this by Webb in the Burlington-Devonshire collection at the Royal Institute of British Architects. In the same collection is a design for Temple Bar by Jones (Stair Parts Fig. 240), never carried out ; a drawing of the constructional brickwork for the same, signed by him and dated; 1638 and a drawing by Webb dated 1636. The two large circular panels represent " Laetitia Publica" and "Hylaritas Publica." If this design had been carried out, there would have been a grim irony in the custom of exhibiting rebels' heads just above roundels of such cheerful intention.
Stair Parts Fig. 241 Drawing of Gateway by Inigo Jones
Stair Parts Fig. 242 Gate Piers at Coleshill, Berkshire
Stair Parts Fig. 243 Gate Piers at St. Johns College Cambridge
Stair Parts Fig. 244 Gate Piers at Hampton Court
Among the numerous designs for gateways is the original by Jones of the little doorway which was once at Beaufort House, Chelsea, but is now at Chiswick, and an unnamed example illustrated in Stair Parts Fig. 241. By the same master, in all probability, are the piers at Thorpe Hall, in Northamptonshire, by John Webb, shown in Stair Parts Fig. 50, and shortly after them is the fine series at Hamstead Marshall, of which some have already been illustrated in Stair Parts Figs. 110, 111. These bring us down to the time of Wren, and at Hampton Court is the lordly pier shown in Stair Parts Fig. 244. At St John's. College, Cambridge, the piers shown in Stair Parts Fig. 243 form part of the bridge built between 1696 and 1712. They perpetuate to some extent the feeling of Tudor work in the rose, the portcullis, and the heraldic animals on their summits. All the large houses of the early eighteenth century, and many of the small ones, had noteworthy gates and gate-piers. There are hundreds of examples up and down the country, and that at Burley-on-the-Hill, near Oakham (Fig. 245), is typical of the larger kind. This treatment, with lofty stone piers and iron gates of more or less elaborate design, is more frequent than that adopted at Ince Blundell Hall, in Lancashire, where, an archway forms the main entrance, and is flanked on each side by a length of wall containing gates for foot traffic (Fig. 246). Many smaller examples might be cited, but their general effect can be gathered from the three illustrations in Stair Parts Figs. 247, 249, and 250, one of which is at a house at Castor, in Northamptonshire, another at a little house in Barrow Gurney, Somersetshire, and the third at one of the delightful houses in the Close at Salisbury. They are all quite unpretentious, but they impart a pleasant amount of interest and a certain degree of dignity to the houses which they serve. Another simple example is taken from a derelict house at Rundhurst, in Sussex (Stair Parts Fig. 248), and at Uffington, in Lincolnshire, is the more important example in Stair Parts Fig. 251, one of a pair of stone piers which support some good iron gates, through which, standing on the village road, a glimpse of the hall gardens, can be obtained.