Selwyn Court (Former Bishops Court, now the Deanery)
8 St Stephens Avenue, Parnell, Auckland
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
23rd June 1983
Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)
Lot 2 Pt Lot 3 DP 36022 Bishopscourt
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
The building of Selwyn Court, formerly known as Bishopscourt, was begun in 1861 and completed in 1865. The complex originally consisted of a library (1861), a steepled octagonal tower (1862) which today still has excellent landmark qualities, and the house and chapel (1863). The house is linked to the library by offices and a corridor on the northeast. There have been a number of changes made to the complex, the most important being the removal of the chapel to Diocesan Girls' High School in 1910 and the addition of a verandah to the northern sides of the house around 1883.
The architect for the complex was Frederick Thatcher, this being his last major commission for the Auckland Diocese. Despite the separate functions and varied proportions existing between the component parts of Selwyn Court, Thatcher has achieved a remarkably unified complex. All the usual Thatcher motifs are present - shingled roof, vertical board and battened walls, bold carefully considered proportions, and, with the exception of the house which features casements generous in width, Early English fenestration.
However, the Court does have a number of unusual design features. Notable among these is the placing of the private rooms of the house in the stone walled basement and the elegant reception rooms on the upper level entered from the courtyard. Also Selwyn's invention of carrying roof supports through to floor level as a form of internal buttressing has imbued the exterior with a remarkably broken up and varied appearance.
As the first official bishop's residence in the country and the home of Bishop Selwyn, the complex is of very great historical significance. It presently serves as the Deanery.
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.