The Principles Guiding the Restoration of Farringford

Proposals and Management Plan

National policies and guidelines are set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act (1990) and the Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS 5), as well as the relevant English Heritage guidance documents. Local Plan policies are contained in the Isle of Wight Unitary Development Plan and the published draft Core Strategy for the local development framework.

The conservation principles for Farringford are based on the principles and supporting guidelines set out by English Heritage in ‘Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance’ (2008), which establishes a basis for current and future conservation planning and protection in an historic environment. The guiding principles are:

  1. The historic environment is a shared and non-renewable resource.
  2. Everyone should be able to participate in sustaining the historic environment.
  3. Understanding the significance of places is vital.
  4. Significant places should be managed to sustain their value.
  5. Decisions about change must be reasonable, transparent and consistent.
  6. Documenting and learning from decisions is essential.

Aims and Objectives for Farringford

It is clear that the main interest in this property is based on its occupation by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his family. Much evidence of his occupation and use of the building and grounds remain, and more may still be discovered or reinstated.

The overall intention is therefore to restore the property to how it was when the Tennyson family lived there as far as it is possible and reasonable to do so, based on the archive and evidence from the building itself.

However other factors also need to be taken into consideration, including the relative significance of later alterations and extensions which are now part of the fabric and character of the building. It is also important to consider the financial viability and use of the building in the medium and longer terms, and this will affect decisions regarding the retention and use of the more commercial elements of the property. Matters relating to public interest and access to this important historic resource are also a consideration.

The most recent use of the property as a hotel has led to some inappropriate and poor quality alterations and extensions, as well as a lack of sympathetic management and appropriate maintenance. Nevertheless, the house retains much of its historic fabric and cultural interest, and thorough investigation will continue to reveal more information.

The occupation of the house by the Tennyson family is of significant historic and cultural importance and is the principle reason for the Grade 1 listing. Alfred wrote important works at the house, and he and Emily undertook building works which were particularly related to their use of the property, greatly adding to the significance of this era. The property remained with the Tennyson family until 1946 and the house still retains much of its original character. With documentary and building evidence, as well as remaining artefacts, it is possible to return the property to its state during the time Alfred and Emily lived there.

However, it is important to recognise that later alterations and uses are also part of the historic significance and continuing evolution of the building. Works were carried out by Alfred’s son Hallam, as well as later alterations and extensions in association with the use of the property as a hotel.

This report analyses the evidence and significance of the various elements to establish an appropriate action plan so that the historic and cultural significance of the property is maintained and, where appropriate, enhanced.

In addition, the financial stability and future maintenance of the property will be considered to ensure that it remains viable and appropriately cared for.

A series of conservations principles will be established as a basis for future decisions and management of the property. These principles are based on those established in published documents including ‘Informed Conservation’ and ‘Conservation Principles Policies and Guidance for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment’.

Farringford Conservation Principles

  • A1: To ensure that the conservation of Farringford House is at the heart of planning for future uses and the day-to-day management of the site.
  • A2: To undertake the repair of the historic asset and provide for its future maintenance to high standards of conservation care.
  • A3: To allow controlled access for interested parties to promote enjoyment and understanding of the house and estate.
  • A4: To manage the site so as to make best use of financial and other resources to secure these principles in the interests of future sustainability.
  • A5: Conflicts may arise between different types of conservation benefit or other public interest and will need to be resolved on the basis of knowledge and an understanding of relative significance.
  • A6: Decisions must be proportionate and reasonable and any unavoidable loss or adverse impact should be subject to adequate and appropriate mitigation. Decisions will be appropriately justified and recorded.

  • B1: To establish a conservation philosophy for the site to protect its historic integrity and areas of significance.
  • B2: To establish regular, effective and funded programmes for building maintenance and repair, where necessary revising existing arrangements.
  • B3: To ensure that all works to Farringford House, whether alterations, new work or repair, are informed by a clear understanding of the site, are preceded by appropriate investigation of the historic fabric and are fully recorded.
  • 1: All works of maintenance, repair or alteration affecting historic fabric, or below-ground archaeology should be preceded and accompanied by appropriate analysis and recording in accordance with good archaeological practice and statutory legislation. Analysis should aim to answer specific questions and be tailored to the significance of the fabric likely to be affected. Information gained should be used to inform the detail of the proposed works.
  • 2: If building fabric of significance is to be removed from an original location, it should be carefully recorded in situ and if practicable, retained as part of the Site Archive. No element of the building should be destroyed unrecorded.
  • 3: Records should be made of any intervention in the historic fabric of the site (above and below ground) by written, drawn and photographic means, with summaries and conclusions incorporated in the Site Archive (Historic Building Record).
  • B4: All works are to be carried out to high standards of historic building conservation and based on the best available professional advice and quality of workmanship.
  • 1: Continuity of professional supervision should be provided as far as practical.
  • 2: Systems should be set up to control the need for and quality of workmanship for minor repairs, ensuring that no risk is involved to historic fabric through sporadic small-scale works.
  • 3: Where decayed or defective fabric is to be removed, replacement should be, as far as practicable, in the same material as that removed. New materials may be preferred to re-use of old, though each case must be argued on its merits, and all replacements should be recorded and date-marked.
  • 4: Historically accurate techniques of working should, where practicable, be followed for repairs and maintenance.
  • 5: Works, particularly of alteration, should as far as practicable be non-destructive.
  • 6: New interventions or replacement fabric will be matched to the character and quality of the originals. It is, however, important to identify new work which will be discreetly marked and dated. In addition, the work will be recorded as part of the historic building record which will be maintained as part of the building archive.
  • 7: Where alterations or conjectural reinstatement is proposed, judgements will be based on the best remaining evidence and will be undertaken in the interests of maintaining the character and future viability of the building. All works will be justified on their particular circumstances as part of the approval process and will be recorded in the historic building record.

  • C1: Minimise risk of damage to the historic fabric and contents of the house, from both normal access and arrangements for special events.
  • C2: Ensure that the historic fabric and contents of the house are maintained to acceptable standards of environment and security, while securing adequate conditions for users.
  • 1: Specialist advice should be taken on strategies for dealing with services and systems to ensure that impact and risks are minimised.
  • C3: Observe effective regimes for fire and security for the site, buildings and contents, and to establish and maintain counter-disaster systems in accordance with specialist advice as appropriate.
  • C4: Protect and where appropriate enhance the setting of the house, removing intrusive elements and guarding against inappropriate future development.
  • C5: Understand and protect the ecological value of Farringford House and its grounds.

  • D1: Promote further studies of the house, site and buildings, and to respond to opportunities for further research and restoration as appropriate.
  • D2: Establish and maintain a formal archive or information base relating to Farringford House, to include a record of all interventions in the site. The site archive will consist of primary materials including the historic building record, conservation records and archaeological archives. Records should be maintained in a secure site archive under appropriate conditions.
  1. E) ACCESS

  • 1: To make enjoyment and understanding of Farringford accessible to interested parties as far as can reasonably be achieved in accordance with a management plan for the site.
  • E2: To allow controlled access by interested parties to all significant areas of the historic building, where practicable.
  • E3: To manage access and site operations for minimum impact on the site, by the sensitive location of services and administrative areas.
  • E4: To consider the promotion of Farringford House for a range of appropriate community and cultural activities as part of a management plan for the site.


  • F1: The quality of presentation of Farringford is to be to a consistently high standard, minimising intrusive elements.
  • F2: Where practicable, to establish the decorative history of Farringford; decoration throughout the building might be restored to an assessed original or early appearance for the relevant room or feature based on the period of occupation by Alfred and Emily Tennyson.
  • F3: To develop the role of Farringford House in local cultural provision, with particular emphasis on the association with Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his family.

  • G1: Establish and maintain the status of all contents and documents at Farringford House, with the updating of agreements on any loan material as appropriate.
  • G2: To ensure effective use of contents/collections and documentation so that informed decisions may be made on their future care, use and location.
  • G3: To consider a programme of acquisition of appropriate Tennyson artefacts and documents associated with his occupation of the house.

  • H1: Statutory and legal requirements for protection of the site, the health and safety of individuals and the requirements of disabilities legislation shall be achieved by means which ensure minimum impact on the significance of the site.
  • H2: To ensure that management arrangements at Farringford House safeguard its historical integrity and cultural interest through shared aims and objectives and consistent methods of working with appropriate individuals or organisations.
  • H3: To establish a regular inspection and maintenance plan, and to undertake necessary maintenance in accordance with good conservation practice.

Use and Management

The guiding considerations are to restore and reveal the building as it was when Alfred was in residence, whilst recognising the relative value of some of the later alterations and family associations. The aim is to allow controlled access to the historic parts of the house.

It will also be necessary to establish a financially viable future for the site. This will need to be achieved without further compromising the integrity of the building or its setting, and if possible enhancing it by removing intrusive elements.

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