Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oxton One prebendal house, Southwell

click photo to enlarge
An interesting feature of the Nottinghamshire town of Southwell is the prebendal houses that are found on the north and west sides of the Minster. A prebendary is an ecclesiastical post attached to a cathedral or minster, often a canon. The name coming from the word "prebend", which describes income generated by church-owned property. Southwell Minster, a Norman foundation, originally had 16 prebendaries. They lived in properties nearby, and over the years re-built them in ever grander style. Down the centuries the prebendaries were abolished, re-constituted, done away with and resurrected. Their final demise came with the death of the last remaining post-holder in 1873.

Today's photograph shows the finest of Southwell's prebendal houses, the former Oxton One, now called Cranfield House. It is a two-storey brick building with stone dressing, a segmental pediment over the main entrance (and another over the window above), a hipped roof with dormers, and steps with balustrades. The house was built in the early 1700s, probably by Canon George Mompesson. Looking out of the front windows of this miniature stately home the canon could see his place of work beyond his gravel driveway and the intervening road.

I passed Cranfield House on a few occasions recently, and took photographs each time. This is the best of the crop, taken when the sky was overcast and the clouds were quite low, but with sufficent breaks in them for the odd shaft of filtered sunlight to reach the ground. The symmetry of both garden and house seemed to demand a symmetrical composition, and that is what I took.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/640
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On