Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Stables at "Vernon Manor"

Mr. R. V. N. Gambrill, M.B., on the box of the road coach Defiance in the stableyard at "Vernon Manor", in a painting by F. B. Voss.

  Richard V. N. Gambrill was a foxhunting man, pursuing sport on both sides of the Atlantic, and was Master of a Beagle pack (eventually the Vernon and Somerset Beagles) for forty years. He drove the famous Vanderbilt grays to his road coach Defiance, and was not above putting one of his hunters to trap or sleigh. The grays were succeeded by a team of Hackneys, and these in turn by four smart cobs; Defiance was a well-known sight at shows and hunt meetings.

Richard V.N. Gambrill, Vernon Manor, residence at Peapack, New Jersey. Stable group, spider phaeton and coach.
  The family shared his interest, so that the "Vernon Manor" stable was a center of activity. It is highly improbable that anyone would build a domestic stable on such a scale nowadays, but then a modern installation is unlikely to require a carriage room and a sleigh room, together with harness room and vehicle washroom, in addition to stabling for twelve hunters, their appurtenances, and four coach horses. 

  A pleasant center-hall Colonial stud groom's "cottage" is connected to the rear of the building by a covered way under the eaves of the farrier's shop; "strappers," or undergrooms, lived above the heated tack and washrack area. The arrangements show an astute blend of practical and aesthetic value.

  The building turns its back on the north wind, catching the sun in the yard. Each stall, floored in cork brick, has a half door, a sizable window opening under the arched arcade, and a small service door, supplemented by a barred window frame, which gives access from the corridor behind it. The stall partitions are solid to within two feet of the ten-foot ceiling; each stall has its own hay drop, which rises into the loft and may be closed with a hatch. Running water was supplied to every stall. The feed room is at one angle of the service passage and the drop to the manure cart at the other; the stall area is confined to the inner half of the yard. The tack cleaning room, washrack, tack room, harness room, and sleigh room occupy the outer half of the east wing; opposite them are the carriage house, vehicle wash, and closet room. 

Venture, Viking, Vogue, and Vanity in their stalls at "Vernon Manor".

  The carriage house measures thirty-six by sixty-three feet (Mr. Gambrill, in addition to the red and black Defiance, had a remarkable collection of other vehicles, many of them inherited, from his father in-law, C. Ledyard Blair) and extends outside the west wall for more than half its length, thus preserving the architectural balance within the courtyard.

Detail of the facade of the "Vernon Manor" carriage house.

  In style, the stable is an understated reflection of the formal Georgian manor house, and in spite of an undoubted elegance, has a warm and welcoming air behind its low brick wall. 

  Click HERE to see the home of Mr. R. V. N. Gambrill, M.B - "Vernon Manor"(updated photos 1/31/2013). The stable location at wikimapia. BING.

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