MEM21964 - Guvenor House, The Wardrobe and Well Cottage, High Street, Dulverton (Building)


The Wardrobe occupies a 19th Century frontage on the High Street. To the rear of this frontage is a two storey, 17th-18th Century, plain vernacular style house. The property is also known as Guvenor House, which was one of Dulverton's inns.

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Full Description

The Wardrobe occupies a 19th century frontage on the High Street. The three bay first floor elevation has tri-partite sash windows with a blind centre bay. To the rear of this frontage is a two storey, 17th-18th century, plain vernacular style house, built of stone rubble with timber lintels and casement windows. [1] The Governor's House was built in the early 1700s, replacing two small houses. In the late 19th Century, Thorne Brothers, drapers and outfitters took on and extended the premises of Ocock. The business was sold in 1951, and became Mackneys. In 1975, the business was sold. The two houses built next to Governor House (now The Wardrobe), were at one stage, a public house called The White Lion. [2] 18 High Street/ Guvenor House used to be joined together with Guvenor's Hall and Well Cottage, as well as the rear cottages (which were originally stables). It was one of Dulverton's 18 pubs and is supposedly called Guvenor's House due to the local Guvenor using the estate as a place to stay when too drunk to travel. It was also a hatters, supplying Covent Garden, and at one point, Guvenor House and Guvenor's Hall were joined together as a tailors. R.D. Blackmore is said to have written some of Lorna Doone in Guvenor House. In the 19th Century, the entirety of the middle of the house (floors, walls, ceilings) were removed and the shell of the house was rebuilt. Some of the foundations subsided, but have now hit bedrock; because of this none of the walls or floors are straight, all slope towards the middle. [3] Castlemoor and The Wardrobe are now in the premises that housed the Thorne Brothers and Mackneys. Castlemoor is in the extension. The western end of the building is private residence, and has a sign above the door naming it Guvenor House. [4] The building was subject to rapid survey in 2011. Guvenor House appears to be a large late 18th or early 19th Century timber-framed townhouse and must have been one of the grander houses in the centre of the town. It may be a rebuilding or remodelling of an earlier property. It has a rendered elevation to the street rising to three storeys under a hipped slate roof. The main doorway lies at the centre of the double-fronted fa├žade and opens into a large room heated by a large 19th Century fireplace. A beam running across the ceiling may betray the previous site of a partition that divided the room into a corridor and room alongside, though this is perhaps unlikely. A stairway to the rear has 19th Century features but details suggest these are modifications of an earlier structure. The plan of the house survives intact on the first and second floors and while the fireplaces have all been replaced, it has some early features. The doors on the second floor may date to the late 17th and early 18th Centuries and may have been moved from the floor below, which has 19th Century doors. The roof structures were originally arranged in a 'U' shape but the rear section was rebuilt to cover the rear of the house, probably in the 19th Century. Mary Siraut suggests this may be the 'General's House', constructed on the site of two earlier properties in 1748, though in its present form the house represents an extensive remodelling of c.1800. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Fisher, J.. c.2003. Dulverton Conservation Area Appraisal. p17.
  • <2> Monograph: Dulverton and District Civic Society. 2002. The Book of Dulverton, Brushford, Bury and Exebridge. Halsgrove. P.18, 19, 28, 31, 43, 102, 155, Photographs.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. Dig Dulverton, Harrison, J. 23/02/2011.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. Glover, F. 20/04/2011.
  • <5> Report: Parker, R.W.. 2011. Historic Building Surveys of Buildings at Dulverton, Somerset. 8-9.



Grid reference Centred SS 9134 2782 (21m by 30m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS92NW

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Record last edited

Apr 24 2013 1:34PM


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