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A Building Project for William, Lord Paget, at Burton-on-Trent

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 August 2013

Nicholas Cooper*
Nicholas Cooper, FSA, 25 Seymour Road, London SW18 5JB, UK. Email:


Between 1559 and 1563 William, Lord Paget, commissioned schemes for a new house at Burton-on-Trent, intending to make partial use of buildings and materials from Burton's former Benedictine abbey. Although they were never executed, three sets of plans have survived, with accompanying estimates from a variety of craftsmen. These throw unusual light on contemporary practice in calculating the costs of a building and on the degree of involvement of Lord Paget as patron. In addition, changes to the design of the intended house can be traced as they evolve from a scheme that begins as conservative and provincial ends up being one of the most progressive of its day in terms of its layout and in sacrificing traditional social hierarchies to advanced ideals of architectural symmetry.


Entre 1559 et 1563, William, Lord Paget, commanda des plans en vue de faire construire une maison à Burton-on-Trent, dans laquelle il souhaitait réutiliser en partie les bâtiments et matériaux de l'ancienne abbaye bénédictine de Burton. Bien que ce projet ne se soit jamais matérialisé, il en subsiste trois séries de plans accompagnés des devis de divers artisans. Ceux-ci jettent un jour inhabituel sur les pratiques appliquées à l’époque dans le calcul des coûts d'un bâtiment et sur le rôle joué par Lord Paget en tant que client. Ils permettent en outre de suivre l’évolution du projet de maison qui, d'un bâtiment conservateur et provincial, se transforme en l'un des plus progressifs de son époque par son agencement et en raison du fait qu'il sacrifie les hiérarchies sociales traditionnelles pour les idéaux avancés de la symétrie architecturale.


Zwischen 1559 und 1563 gab William, Lord Paget, Projekte für ein neues Haus in Burton-on-Trent in Auftrag, für das zum Teil Gebäude und Material von Burtons ehemaliger Benediktinerabtei verwendet werden sollten. Die Projekte wurden zwar nie realisiert, doch es gibt noch drei Sätze von Plänen mit dazugehörigen Kostenvoranschlägen verschiedener Handwerker. Diese werfen ein ganz seltenes Licht auf die damaligen Praktiken in Bezug auf die Baukostenrechnung und auch darauf, inwieweit Lord Paget als Bauherr selbst am Projekt beteiligt war. Außerdem lassen sich Änderungen am Entwurf des geplanten Hauses nachverfolgen, und zwar von einem Plan, der als konservativ und provinziell seinen Anfang nimmt und schließlich als eines der fortschrittlichsten Projekte jener Zeit in Bezug auf seinen Grundriss und den Verzicht auf die traditionellen sozialen Hierarchien zugunsten fortschrittlicher Ideale architektonischer Symmetrie endet.

Copyright © The Society of Antiquaries of London 2013 

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