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The Conduit House

Stowe: The Park

The Conduit House is a small octagonal building occupying the same high ground to the north and east of the House as Wolfe's Obelisk, as shown in the photograph below. Before its restoration, completed summer 2002, the building was in serious disrepair, its stucco facing and window tracery being all but gone as well as the slates of its roof.

The Conduit House before Restoration

As the photograph below illustrates, the building's roof and windows have been repaired, and the entire structure has been limewashed. An iron gate has been installed in the doorway, the floor has been paved with brick. Wolfe's Obeslik, seen in the distance on the right, has also been restored and limewashed.

The Conduit House after Restoration

Bevington notes that The Concuit House covers the source of a stream, a fact that I discovered quite by accident as I made my way through the soggy ground just to the south of it during my visit in December 1998. Oliver Jessop, Project Archaeologist at Stowe, explains further that the structure contains an underground vaulted chamber acting as a cistern. When cleaned the chamber was found to contain a flagstone floor, possibly from an earlier structure on the site. A trapdoor to the chamber has been installed in the floor.

The Coat of Arms on the Conduit House

The photograph above shows the details of the coade stone arms of the Marquess of Buckingham, dated 1793, which occupy a prominent place over the door of the building. The Conduit House is referred to by Bevington and others as the Gothic Umbrello, a name which highlights its architectural style as well as its function as a shelter.

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John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College,