Independent on John's house

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed Apr 28 05:39:36 CDT 2004

>From the Independent at:

Rocker's retreat
The Who bass player John Entwistle became 'quite the
country gentleman' when at home in his Victorian
Gothic rectory. But following the rock star's death in
Las Vegas two years ago, the Cotswold house is being
By Penny Jackson
28 April 2004

His Victorian gothic mansion in the Cotswolds was more
than just a retreat for John Entwistle, legendary bass
player with The Who, who died almost two years ago in
Las Vegas at the start of a tour. What began as a
rural hideaway in Stow-in-the-Wold became the rock
star's home and the place he chose to put down roots.

But now Quarwood is up for sale and his son,
Christopher Entwistle, who has been managing the
42-acre estate for the past six years, is preparing to
see it leave the family. "My father loved the house
and Stow. Everyone knew him there but they gave him
plenty of privacy and he was never bothered by

That's not to say that he remained aloof from local
life. He involved himself in parish events and has
been described in interviews as "every inch the
country gentleman". "On one occasion he had a letter
from a local band planning a reunion saying they were
short of a bass guitarist for a one-off gig at the
British Legion," recalls Entwistle. "My father laughed
and said, 'Why not do it?' They ended up rehearsing at
the house and his stage people did the set. He really
enjoyed it."

Among the first changes the rock star made to the
house when he bought it more than 20 years ago was to
put in two recording studios.

"He wrote and did demos on the top floor and in the
larger ground-floor studio he recorded two of his solo
albums with his band. Other groups also recorded
there," says Christopher. Although the equipment has
gone, the wiring, sound-proofing and air-conditioning
is still intact.

These were installed after The Who's wild years on the
rock scene, but the house that was orginally built for
the Rector of Stow in 1856 and surrounded by parkland,
paddocks and woodland has a setting that meets the
need for privacy while being close to good road and
rail links. Two stone pillars adorned by lion plinths
at the entrance to the long driveway indicate the
stature of the property.

Inside, it was extensively remodelled in the early
1950s but still has its original features. In the
hall, a cantilever staircase with wrought-iron
balustrade and oak handrail lead to the galleried
landing. Christopher Entwistle says his father had the
hallway stencilled to look like castle walls. A suit
of armour stands guard at the foot of the stairs.

"Not an original, though, unlike the ones that used to
be in the dining room." There were two full-sized and
two mini-sized suits and the walls were covered in
crossbows, swords, flintlock guns and the whole
paraphernalia of jousting. My father had a great
passion for knights in armour and could always spot
something out of period in a film."

Entwistle's other great passion was deep-sea diving
and there are still a few clues to be found. In one of
the reception rooms, which was largely used for
entertaining, there is a carved wooden bar fitted with
drink shelves and chillers, at each end of which there
are still two deep-sea fishing rods attached to poles.

Christopher describes the room as it was. "Sharks,
sword-fish and marlin were suspended from the ceiling
and were covered with barracuda and other fish he had
caught - he had even put one of those moving hands you
can get into a shark's mouth. It was really a
phenomenal room for entertaining."

The more formal and elegant drawing room has an open
fireplace with decorative painted timber surround.
Picture windows look out over the Cotswold landscape.
The gardens are formal in style with extensive
terraaces and a wide croquet lawn facing almost due
south taking in the pretty Dikler valley.

Entwistle would often ride a quad bike on the land
taking a few falls "but not on the Ozzy Osbourne
scale", adds Christopher. "There haven't been shoots
on the estate for more than 10 years now so it has
become something of a wildlife haven."

Christopher first came to the house as a four-year-old
but, after his parents divorced a few years later, it
was mainly for holidays and weekends. "My friends
would often get lost, which I could never fathom
because although it seems large it is not

On the first floor, there is a master bedroom with
dressing room and en-suite bathroom, two guest
bedrooms with bathrooms, a study and accommodation
suitable for staff. There are a further five bedrooms
at least on the second floor.

Christopher Entwistle recalls the house being filled
with family and friends. For them, the heart of it was
the large kitchen, which doubles as a family sitting
room. There is also a snooker room with an open
fireplace and carved stone surround.

In the grounds, which include seven cottages, a garage
block and outbuildings, a neglected indoor swimming
pool could be brought back into use. John Entwistle
would have been happy to see it replaced and was
considering turning it into a Japanese garden shortly
before he died.

It will be a wrench for Christopher Entwistle to leave
the house - his grandmother lives in one of the
cottages. Although he says it would be too large for
just himself and his wife, inheritance tax has given
him little choice. "But my father had it such a long
time that it is because of those memories that it is
hard to leave. I still see it as his house."

Quarwood is for sale at a guide price of £3.75 million
through Hamptons International: 01386 859444 

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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