Swinton Grange


Drawing of Swinton Grange

Swinton Grange is an Edwardian mansion, built by Lord Rothschild, this drawing shows the plans for the house in 1904, and building was completed in 1905.   Later his daughter Evelyn and her new husband Clive Behrens lived there.  The gardens are magnificent and noted for the trees – apparently Lord Rothschild’s gardener was instructed to plant one of every tree known to grow in England.  The driveway close to the house is bordered by numerous varieties of, now mature, holly trees and bushes, which are stunning.

Swinton Grange

Eventually it was sold off, and has been used as a nursing home and offices, then remained empty for many years, becoming dilapidated and partly derelict.  I was contacted by the present owners, who are restoring it to its former glory, to letter the gateposts with the house name.  During the various changes of use, the original stone gatepost caps had been discarded, and buried in rubble.  The abandoned stones were found and new gateposts built so they could be re-installed.  It was then my job to carve Swinton Grange into the stones.

Stone gatepost caps

I’m so pleased the weather has been mild and sunny lately, as the carving of the letters was done on site.  I had to put up a small scaffold to reach the stone tops.


mallet and chisels

The stone was actually very hard, so I had to be sharpening my chisels often.  I worked through the weathered colouring, to the clean stone underneath, which made the letters stand out nicely.  To begin I drew the letters on the stone, and was helped in this by the mason who first shaped the stones, the surface was ‘batted’  – this is a finish on the stone of regular chisel marks at consistent angles and in straight rows.  It had been done skillfully and accurately and so I could use the old marks as a guide to keep my lettering straight.

Swinton lettering

Tree lined driveway

After carving the first post, my arms were aching a bit, so I took a brisk walk up the tree-lined driveway and shook out the stiffness.  What a beautiful place to be working – the trees were full of birdsong, along with a very noisy Mistle Thrush – who rattled along to my tap-tapping chiseling.

Lettered gateposts

The second post done – time to stand back and check my carving – making sure all the letters  were cut deep and accurate, balanced and had crisp, straight edges.





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