MSO10264 - Manor House, Wootton Courtenay (Building)


The house was apparently built in the early to mid 17th Century and remodelled in the 18th Century, when the front wall of the high end of the house was rebuilt forward of the original wall.

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Full Description

House. Early-mid 17th Century; remodelled and extended 18th Century; 20th Century alterations. Rendered stone and cob. Slate roof with gabled and hipped ends. Stone rubble Lateral stacks at rear with set-offs and gable-end stack, all with later brick shafts. PLAN: 3-room and through-passage plan, the hall heated from a fireplace in a lateral stack at the back, large inner room/parlour on left with gable-end fireplace and low east [right] end probably originally unheated. Remodelled and extended 18th Century, when front wall [dated 1763] of high end was rebuilt forward of the original wall, a wing was added to the rear of the high end, the end of the wing an outbuilding, and a lateral stack built at the rear of the formerly unheated low end room, which was subdivided axially in the 20th Century. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 3-window south front; two windows on left in projecting high end of house with inscription under eaves, M H 1763; 20th Century 2-light casements with leaded panes; open-fronted porch in angle to right of centre with slate lean-to canopy and original ovolo-moulded wooden doorframe, the head cut away to take larger plank door with cover-moulds and wrought-iron strap hinges. Rear north, main range has two stone lateral stacks with set-offs and brick shafts; porch in angle of tonguing on right, which has circa early 19th Century 3-light casement on first floor with beaded panes. INTERIOR; Through-passage has small hatch in ceiling and plank-and-muntin screen on upper side with scratch-moulded muntins; similar screen between halt and parlour with ovolo-moulded head-beam. Hall has deeply-chamfered axial beam and half-beam at front with large hollow step stops, fireplace at back with dressed stone jambs and later cambered stone arch and early 19th Century panelled window shutters. Parlour ceiled and with 18th Century field-panel window shutters. Re-used Tudor arch doorframe behind parlour, by staircase with stick balustrade and chamfered newels. 18th Century roof over main front range has principals halved and crossed at apex and halved, lapped and pegged collars. Similarly constructed roof to rear wing. An interesting example of a early-mid 17th Century house, remodelled in the 18th Century. [1] English Heritage Listed Building Number: 489766. First Listed on 10 September 2002. [2] The building was visited in May 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [3] The Manor House entrance has an early large oak framed ovolo moulded door opening but this has been altered in a later restoration. It has a vertical plank door with ribs but may also be a late 19th or early 20th Century replacement. The Manor House is built of rendered stone and cob with a slate roof. It is believed to have originated as a early to mid 17th Century three room and cross passage plan building, remodelled and extended in the 18th Century with the inscription "M H 1763" under the eaves. The interior contains early features such as a plank and muntin screen. [4] The 2018 Conservation Area Appraisal contains a similar description to that written in 2003 [4]. [5] It was noted in 1830 that there was no manor house in Wootton Courtenay. [6] The building is depicted on the Tithe Map for Wootton Courtenay and labelled 304, with trees to the rear of the property. It is described in the Apportionment as "Churches House and Orchard", owned by The Right Honorable Lord Sherborne and occupied by William Bradford. [7] At the end of the 19th Century the annual rents on the Wootton Courtenay estate were paid to the estate agents, Messrs Hawkes and Andrew of Williton at an annual dinner hosted "at the cottage on Church Steps". Manor Cottage was part of the Wootton Courtenay Estate and was sold at auction by James Huntly Dutton on Wednesday 14th April 1921, as lot 28. A picture of the cottage is shown in the sales particulars.[8] The building was subject to research as part of a planning application for listed building consent; this does not include a floor plan. The house was built in the early 17th Century on a site that may have been in use previously. It may have been built for the owner of Wootton Courtenay Manor, Thomas Stewkeley, as a base in the area, or for a tenant. The house may have been the centre of administration for the manor and definitely was later. The property was built as a two storey three room and cross passage house, to serve as a yeoman's dwelling. The front wall of the house has been moved outwards and it is possible a stair turret was situated behind the sitting room or dining room, possibly where the rear porch is now. The front door frame is very low and it is suggested this may predate the house; it has a 17th Century door and the frame was altered to accommodate it. The cross passage ceiling is of lath and plaster and it has a plank and muntin screen in good condition, including the incised "HN 1724". The sitting room was the hall and has two axial chamfered beams dating from c. 1600 as well as further plank and muntin partitions and a fireplace with an late 18th or early 19th Century segmental arch replacing the original lintel. The dining room (parlour) features a reused 17th Century doorway, with a later door cut to fit. The kitchen may have had a granary above. The phasing of the property requires further documentary research and it is not clear whether the rear west wing predates the main southern elevation or perhaps the wall facing the churchyard was part of an earlier building; the wing is offset from the house into the main churchyard and the workmanship here is of very good quality, forming a retaining wall for the churchyard. It was suggested to be unlikely that this was the Church House as these often became the parish Poor House, which for Wootton Courtenay is recorded separately as MEM24747, on the other side of the churchyard. The house is rendered and slated; these are asbestos at the front, previously tile. It may originally have been thatched. The report confirms that a room on the right of the entrance was used for the rent audit discussed by [8]. [9,10] The building is shown and labelled on the 2020 MasterMap data. [11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Index: 10/9/2002. 5th amendment of the 34th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset).
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. CJ Webster, Historic Environment Record Officer, 28 November 2005.
  • <3> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <4> Report: Fisher, J.. 2003. Wootton Courtenay: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. 8,12 illustration 9,11.
  • <5> Report: Pratt, N.. 2018. Wootton Courtenay Conservation Area: appraisal document. 14, illustration 14, 34.
  • <6> Monograph: Savage, J.. 1830. A History of the Hundred of Carhampton. 349.
  • <7> Map: 1844. Wootton Courtenay Tithe Map and Apportionment. Land parcel 304.
  • <8> Monograph: Ball, D.. 2007. Wootton Courtenay. Peter Ball. 12, 15, 71 illustration 13, 16, 23, 71.
  • <9> Monograph: Stoate, G.L.. 1996. Lord of the Manor: an investigation into the ownership of the manor of Wootton Courtenay 1066-1920. H. Galloway.
  • <10> Report: Richardson, I.. 2006. Manor House, Wootton Courtenay: A Report on the Historic Features with some Documentary Research. 2, 3, 5-8, 17.
  • <11>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #41339 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9383 4339 (16m by 22m)
Map sheet SS94SW

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Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 444/0/10006
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 17507

Record last edited

May 6 2021 10:09AM


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