Sapperton Village History


As stated on the front page of this website the Gloucestershire Village of Sapperton is intimately connected with three Arts and Crafts architects and designers: Ernest Gimson (1864-1919), Ernest Barnsley (1863-1926) and his younger brother Sidney Barnsley (1865-1926).

They moved to the Cotswolds as young men in 1893 and lived and worked at Pinbury near Sapperton from 1894 until their deaths. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described Gimson as, "the greatest of the English artist-craftsmen in his Pioneers of Modern Design" (1935). While the three men are today acknowledged as archetypal figures in the Arts and Crafts Movement because of their skill as designers, combined with their strong concern for, and sympathy with, the process of making.

Their work was known and admired worldwide, in particular Scandinavia, Germany, United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This work continues to inspire designers and makers. The one public building in Sapperton connected with Gimson and the Barnsleys is the Village Hall. Ernest Barnsley was commissioned by Lilias, Countess Bathurst to design a building for use by the local community in 1912.

The site chosen was the former village wheelwright's yard on which Gimson had set up a smithy in 1903. A fourth and younger Arts and Crafts architect, Norman Jewson (1884 to 1975), also a resident of our village for many years, and now as respected as the earlier generation, worked with Barnsley on the Hall.

At this time Ernest Barnsley was heavily involved in the building of Rodmarton Manor; workshops had been set up on site, local men employed and apprentices trained. It seems likely that the same team of first-rate craftsmen were employed on the building of Sapperton Village Hall.

Through much of the 20th century the hall was used by all age groups for dances, theatrical and musical events, talks and meetings.