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Stoneywell Cottage

Stoneywell Cottage is the only National Trust building in Leicestershire. It was owned by a family who participated in the Arts and Crafts movement and there are very few comparable cottages elsewhere in England.

Stoneywell is located in the heart of Charnwood Forest and was designed by Ernest Gimson as a holiday cottage for his brother, Sydney. The building is dated 1899 and the construction work was overseen by Detmar Blow,

Ernest Gimson came from a large Leicester family and was the son of Josiah Gimson, an engineer who founded the Vulcan Works in the city. The family were leading members of the Secular Society and William Morris was invited to speak at one of their meetings. It was Morris who encouraged Ernest to pursue a career in architecture. Ultimately, Ernest Gimson was to become recognised as one of the most significant architect-designers of the Arts & Crafts movement.

Stoneywell was retained by the Gimson family until very recently and remains largely unaltered apart from replacing the original thatched roof with Swithland Slate following a fire in 1938 which was attributed to an electrical fault. Much of the furniture was also designed by Gimson together with the Barnsley brothers and has been loaned to the Trust thereby preserving the integrity of the interiors.

In addition to the cottage, there are outbuildings including a stable block which is to be adapted as a tea room and visitor centre and four acres of wild garden screened by trees. A planning application has been submitted for alterations to the stable block, providing public access to the cottage and creating a car park some distance away.

Stoneywell is the only one of five Gimson cottages in Charnwood Forest that survive unspoilt.

The Trust acknowledge the concern of neighbouring residents regarding the impact of traffic and visitor numbers but are proposing a strict management regime which they hope will satisfy objectors. In addition, they staged a number of exhibitions to explain their proposals prior to commencing the planning process. The feedback was generally positive and CPRE are happy to confirm their support.

Stoneywell Cottage
Stoneywell Cottage National Trust