Bishopgrove

16 Patmos Avenue, Glenleith, Dunedin

  • Bishopgrove, Gatekeepers Lodge.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Derek Smith. Date: 5/07/2002.
  • Bishopgrove. February 1989. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Alana Reid.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2140 Date Entered 19th April 1990

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City/District Council

Dunedin City

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 3 DP 3151

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This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Bishopgrove was built for and owned by, Bishop Samuel Tarrat Nevill, Bishop of Dunedin. Nevill was born at Lenton, near Nottingham, May 13, 1837. He attended University College, Nottingham and after marrying Mary Cook Kenny (in 1863), he attended Magdalene College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1863 by the Bishop of Chester. He graduated M.A. in 1865 and until 1871, when he immigrated to New Zealand, he held positions at several English parishes.

Soon after his arrival Nevill was appointed Bishop of Dunedin. He was a man of private means and made an arrangement with the relatively impoverished diocese to construct a house for himself and for future use by the Diocese. Bishopscourt was completed in 1872. Nevill left this house six years later after a disagreement with the Diocese over their agreement to purchase it. Bishopgrove was built without the financial involvement of the Diocese. The Bishop and his wife lived in another house in Leith Valley until Bishopgrove's completion in 1882.

Bishop Nevill also owned a pottery at Milton. He induced pottery workers to emigrate from his home district in England during a period of unemployment to staff the works.

In 1902 Bishop Cowie of Auckland, Primate of New Zealand died and Nevill, as senior Bishop, became acting Primate. It was not until the General Synod of 1904 that he was named Primate. Mary Nevill died in 1905. In 1906 Nevill again visited England during which time he had married Miss Rosalind Fynes-Clinton, a daughter of the Rev. Geoffrey Fynes-Clinton, vicar of Duntroon and Kurow.

Bishop Nevill announced his retirement at the General Synod of 1919. He had been Bishop of Dunedin for nearly fifty years and Primate of New Zealand for 17 years. Bishop Samuel Tarrat Nevill died 29 October 1921 at the age of 84. He was buried at Warrington.

The house and grounds remained in Nevill's ownership until his death. The next owners were Susie Charlotte and Albert Edward Usherwood of Dunedin. In March 1931, the property was brought by the trustees of the Associated Churches of Christ and used as a Bible College. One of the students was Garfield Todd (later Sir) who became Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia. The home came under private ownership again in 1971.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Bishopgrove is most closely associated with Bishop S.T. Nevill, Bishop of Dunedin and later Primate of New Zealand. As a leading churchman and man of independent means Bishop Nevill built houses that reflected his position in the community with Bishopgrove and the earlier Bishopscourt he ultimately made a singular and considerable contribution to New Zealand's legacy of domestic architecture. Since Bishop Nevill's death the house has appropriately maintained an ecclesiastical or domestic function.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

Bishopgrove is one of New Zealand's finest expressions of the Victorian passion for architectural eclecticism. The design was not folly, but the exterior of the house shows an inventive and imaginative use of decoration, especially in the barge-boards, eave brackets and battlemented bays. Few features of the house are the same and this adds much visual interest to an otherwise imposing residence.

The interior, although in parts somewhat modified, is again a rich mixture of styles with very fine decoration, especially the wood panelling. It is likely the house was designed in England but it is appropriately sited in New Zealand's most extant Victorian city.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

Although a large house Bishopgrove is now surrounded by native trees and obscured from the road. Nevertheless it is an attractive sight in its extensive gardens.

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Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

Bishopgrove is a large stately home set in spacious grounds. The building is made up of a pastiche of styles. The first floor is half timbered in the Tudor manner while on the ground floor there are Gothic features in the fenestration, particularly the bay window to the left of the main entrance, crenellated bay windows and a Doric portico. Inside a Gothic influence can also be seen in the handling of the fine entrance foyer, living rooms, night nursery and some interior panelling.

From the front facade the house consists of a gabled wing to the left of the main entrance, a central portion of small gables, a turret and entrance portico and a single gable end and bay window. Prominent chimney pots cap the house. Each gable has a differently shaped barge-board while a variety of elegantly turned eaves brackets is also used.

MODIFICATIONS:

The bathroom, kitchen and laundry have been remodelled.

The former ballroom was divided and is now occupied by the drawing room and library.

The first floor was remodelled to increase the number of bedrooms and toilets.

A small concrete lean-to has been added off the kitchen.

A conservatory on the south wall has been removed.

Notable Features

The original internal fittings including the panelling and ceilings, particularly in the entrance foyer and on the stairway. The interesting use of surface decoration on the exterior.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1882 - 1883

Construction Details

Brick piles with breccia perimeter foundations. Ground floor walls, local trachyandesite; facings, quoins, entrance portico, bay window crenellations, all Oamaru stone. First floor, Flemish bond brick with half-timbering. Roof, timber with sarking, clay tiles.

Completion Date

9th October 1989

Information Sources

Evans, nd

Evans, J.H. Southern See: The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Dunedin, Lands and Deeds Office, Dunedin N.D.

Galer, 1981 (2)

L. Galer, More Houses and Homes, Allied Press, Dunedin, 1981 Dunedin City Council Archives

Other Information

A copy of this report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region office

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.