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Kelmscott Manor

Kelmscott Manor was built around 1600 for Thomas Turner, the house, initially Lower Farm, replaced two earlier buildings. The Turners, prosperous yeoman farmers, rose to prominence. In the 1660s, Thomas Turner, now a ‘gentleman,’ expanded the house, adding the White Room and Tapestry Room with higher ceilings and decorative fireplaces. In 1864, James Turner transformed Lower Farm into ‘Kelmscott Manor.’

After James’s death in 1870, the Manor passed to Charles Hobbs, who rented it out. William Morris, seeking respite from London’s unhealthy environment, leased it in 1871, initially with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Morris rented until his death in 1896, finding inspiration for designs and writings.

The tenancy briefly passed to Morris’s wife, Jane, until her death in 1914. The estate then transferred to May, Morris’s younger daughter, who resided at Kelmscott Manor until her death in 1938.

May’s will stipulated the Manor’s use as a ‘house of rest’ without modernization. The University leased it from 1939 to 1951, but financial constraints led to disrepair. In 1962, the University sought release from May’s will, and the Society of Antiquaries of London took ownership. A major restoration ensued in the following years.

Today the manor is the most preserved of all the buildings associated with William Morris and his family with much of the buildings and surrounding countryside still as it was when Morris lived here. Showcasing the unique collection, activities, and special exhibitions. Through educational and community engagement allows visitors to experience and respond to Kelmscott in the same way that William Morris.

Location
Kelmscott, Lechlade GL7 3HJ


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