The S front was the main entrance front until 1830. The 7-bay, 3-storey Georgian house is still identifiable as the central block, though now encased and disguised by Cundy's work. The
pedimented advancing central block, of 3 bays was given a pronounced crenellated parapet with sham machicolations. Stepped down on either side, the flanking, 2-bay sections are also
crenellated. To the L a circular turret projecting above the parapet and itself castellated and with sham machicolations. Blind slit-windows to 3rd storey with simple lights below. To the 2 right-hand bays a 2-storey canted bay has been added, with 10 and 4 light mullioned and transomed windows with arched lights.
Crenellated parapet as before. To the R, the S/E corner has a diagonal stepped buttress. The central section has a ground-floor bay corresponding to the original entrance. Full-length 10-light mullioned and transomed windows with stepped garden access to centre. Arched heads as before. L bay with pair of full-length cross windows to ground floor with stepped garden access to that to L. 4 lights above, 2 below, arched, with returned labels. First and second floor windows of 2 and 4 lights and 2 lights respectively with labels as before. Blind slits and heraldic shields to central block under machicolations and flanking simple 2-light windows.
Library (W) Wing: The central block extends to the L in a 2-storey castellated library wing. Square projecting corner tower with crenellated parapet and stepped corner buttress. 3 Y-tracery pointed-arched windows to each floor, with returned hoods and 2-storey canted bay on the W return. To the R an irregular castellated service wing of 2 sections. That to the L, of 3 bays and 2 storeys with sash windows and returned labels. In the centre an octagonal projecting turret with irregular lancets. Adjoining to the R a large rectangular tower of 2 storeys and half-height basement. 3-light window to upper storey, then 4 and 4, the middle one with returned label.
The N Front: The present entrance front. This has an irregular central porch to the main section (relating to the primary house) which was built to commemorate the Gladstones' golden wedding in 1889. By Douglas and Fordham it is in neo-Perpendicular, castellated with a 3-light window above an advancing entrance. Tudor-arched entrance with returned label and carved corbels. Flat, stone canopy above, carried on moulded brackets. Internal stairs to raised ground floor. Behind this, a porch of 1830 with gothic vaulting, perhaps by Edward Blore. This is flanked by octagonal turrets. The raised ground floor gives the impression of a 4-storey facade. Large, full-height canted bay to R with adjoining octagonal corner turret, projecting above a castellated parapet. To the L of the main block, a balancing turret, though here round with sham machicolations. Irregular square chimneys, some off-set with moulded and castellated caps. 4 tiers of windows as before, some with 6 and 12-pane sashes, some of cross-window type and others are late C19 2-pane sashes.
At the NW corner of the house, a similar wing by George Shaw of Saddleworth, of the mid 1860s and in severe Edward 1-style Gothic. This housed Gladstone's library, his "temple of peace" on its ground floor. Of 3 sections: first a single bay, followed by a 2-bay advanced section to the R. Finally a further bay, recessed up to the 2nd storey and then corbelled-out and projecting as a square turret above the parapet. Irregular fenestration with 2 and 3-light, single-light and slit-windows, some with shouldered heads. Pointed-arched entrance L bay.
To the R and adjoining this range to the N, an octagonal stone munimentroom with conical stone roof. This was built by Douglas and Fordham in 1887-8 as a strongroom for the storage of W.E. Gladstone's papers.
Adjoining the main building to the L a high stone wall conceals a service court behind Cundy's S-facing service wing. Service buildings ranged around the walls. C20 Garage entrance to L. To
the R and abutting the main block, a C20 coped and gabled wing with mullioned windows.