Snowshill Manor is a fascinating tudor mansion. The house was purchased in 1919 by Charles Padget Wade, an eccentric architect and antiquary. The manor was restored as a setting for Wade's huge collection of craftsmanship, as well as models which he had created. It is thought that Wade never lived in the manor house choosing a spartan lifestyle in the old priest's house in the courtyard (small building on left in picture).
Wade was born in 1883, the son of a sugar plantation owner. He was to inherit the plantations on St Kitts in 1911, which enabled him later to buy Snowshill Manor. Wade was and remains an enigmatic character. Several notable figures of the twentieth century met him and stayed at the Manor - John Betjeman, Graham Greene, Virginia Woolf, John Buchan and J B Priestley among them - and give differing impressions of their meetings. There is little doubt that Wade cultivated this elusive persona; he dressed very theatrically, almost ghoulishly, and the collection is itself like a performance, a theatre of objects.
The writer J B Priestley described Wade as -
'My eccentric, but charming friend of the fantastic manor house.'
Snowshill Manor was owned by Winchcombe Abbey as early as 821,
until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. It was at one
point part of Katherine Parr's marriage dowry, although she probably
never visited. The house passed through many different hands and
the way it has been added on to at different points in its history
reflects this. The northern end of the house is the oldest surviving
part, dating from around 1500, still medieval in its design. It
was extended and reshaped in around 1600 but it was the additions
by the Sambach family in the early part of the eighteenth century
that from one viewpoint radically altered the aspect of the manor
from an Elizabethan to a Georgian house.
Written by Charles Padget Wade of Snowshill Manor:-
'Old am I, so very old,
Here centuries have been.
Mysteries my walls enfold,
None know deeds I have seen.'
The garden at Snowshill Manor was designed by M.H. Baillie Scott
- a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Read more about - Charles Padget Wade.