MEM24275 - Fernlea, Wootton Courtenay (Building)


The building dates from the 1860s by George Burnell, although it may contain the fabric of an earlier structure. The first floor housed a Temperance coffee tavern, accessed by stairs to the rear of the property. It later became a tea rooms and grocery store.

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Full Description

Fernlea (or Fern Lea) is a large, single family dwelling whose northern and eastern elevations form a corner at the T junction of the Timberscombe to Luccombe road with the road to Borrow via lower Wootton, within Wootton Courtenay. The 2014 Conservation Area Appraisal states the building is a substantial late 19th or early 20th Century gabled house in the Arts and Crafts style with exposed stone ground floor, rendered upper floors and mainly sash windows. It is a 3.5 storey detached dwelling with six bedrooms and a double garage. It has two large extensions to the west (a single storey double garage) and to the rear (a 1.5 storey extension). It is roofed in slate with clay ridge tiles and has red brick chimney stacks and cream render. It has a complex interior plan. The building was apparently constructed on the site of an old cottage by George Burnell in the 1860s; it is not known whether any of the original structure was incorporated into the new property. The land was leased to be used for a dwelling house or coffee tavern. George was a strict temperance man and built steps up to the first floor of the house in the late 1890s to give access for men to drink coffee and play dominoes. The premises were sold in 1934 and used as tea rooms and a grocery store, known as the Tea Garden and run by Mrs Slade (George Burnell's aunt). The steps are still extant, although the upstairs access door has been blocked for some time. [1] Facing the corner is an early 20th Century gabled house with exposed stone ground floor, rendered upper floors, and mainly sash windows. [2] The building is shown on the 25 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, subdivided into two properties. [3] A house is shown here in a similar footprint on the Tithe Map for Wootton Courtenay as one property. It is labelled 333, which the Apportionment describes as "Gillams Cottage and Garden", owned by The Right Honorable Lord Sherborne and Thomas Hole Senior, and occupied by the latter. N.B. This is probably the "old cottage" mentioned by [1]. [4,5] The 2018 Conservation Area Appraisal contains a similar description to that written in 2003, saving that it states the building is "a substantial late19th- early- 20th century gabled house in Arts and Crafts style" [2]. The property was described as of local interest. [6] Fernlea is built on the site of an old cottage and was constructed in the 1860s by George Burnell. The land was leased for a house or "coffee tavern". George was a Temperance man and built a flight of steps to the rear of the house in the 1890s to give access to the first floor, where men drank coffee and played dominoes, as an alternative venue to the Dunkery Hotel up the road (MEM24762). The building was sold in 1934 and became a tea rooms and grocery store, since becoming a house. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Report: Mackinley, A.. 2018. Fernlea, Wootton Courtenay: Design, heritage and access statement.
  • <2> Report: Fisher, J.. 2003. Wootton Courtenay: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. 14, illustration 13.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <4> Map: 1844. Wootton Courtenay Tithe Map and Apportionment. Land parcel 333.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1999-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 28 August 2019.
  • <6> Report: Pratt, N.. 2018. Wootton Courtenay Conservation Area: appraisal document. 20, 56, illustration 20, 39.
  • <7> Monograph: Ball, D.. 2007. Wootton Courtenay. Peter Ball. 75.



Grid reference Centred SS 9380 4337 (16m by 14m)
Map sheet SS94SW

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Record last edited

Sep 17 2019 9:00AM


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