image: Alan Patient of


Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (C F A Voysey) was born in 1857 in Yorkshire, the eldest son of Revd. Charles Voysey.

He trained in London as an architect and originally set up in practice in 1882 as a designer of wallpaper and textiles. In 1888 he was designing houses in detail, and not only designing the house but other features such as fireplaces, dressers, door handles, furniture, and the garden.

Voysey designed some large houses in Surrey. In 1894 ‘Lowicks’ near Frensham which was to be a country retreat for Member of Parliament, E J Horniman, was one of the houses which first had furniture designed by Voysey, an oak bedstead in 1895. He also designed the garden. In 1896 he designed ‘Greyfriars’ on the Hogs Back for the novelist, Julian Sturgis. In 1897 ‘New Place’ in Haslemere which was for the publisher Algernon Methuen who had changed his name from A.M.M. Stedman. In 1897 he designed ‘Norney Grange’, near Shackleford, for the Revd. Leighton Crane. Photographs were published in The British Architect in October 1899, which was two years after any working drawings were made.

Prior's Field School, designed by C Voysey, 1900


In 1900 ‘Prior’s Garth’, was designed for F H Chambers, which was sold after it was built, not having been occupied, to Leonard Huxley, and where his wife, Julia Huxley, started the school, Prior’s Field. In 1902 Voysey designed ‘Vodin’ at Pyrford, where in 1904 before the house was completed he designed a motor house and electric light generating house. In 1906 ‘Littleholme’ at Guildford for his builder, G Müntzer, was designed along with the garden. The Müntzer family had built ‘Greyfriars’, ‘Norney’, ‘Vodin’ and ‘Prior’s Garth’. They also worked for Edwin Lutyens and knew Gertrude Jekyll. Jekyll featured ‘Littlehome’ in Gardens for Small Country Houses. In 1910 Voysey designed ‘The Little Barn’ at Holmbury St Mary, which was a conversion, and a few other small cottages, lodges, and additions to houses in Surrey.

Wendy Hitchmough’s book C F A Voysey shows many of the Surrey houses, and there is an article on Voysey in West Surrey Architecture 1840-2000 by Christopher Budgen.

He became master of the Art Workers’ Guild in 1924, which had been set up to unite the arts of architecture, painting, sculpture and craftsmanship in 1884, and later became part of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late 1890s.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has many of his drawings. Voysey became a Fellow of RIBA in 1929, and was awarded the Gold Medal of RIBA in 1940 at the age of 83. He died on the 12th February 1941 at Winchester.

Godalming Museum © 2004