MSO12661 - Withiel Florey House, Withiel Florey (Monument)


The site of a 18th Century gentry house and park, known from documents, is visible as slight earthworks.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

Under Withiel Florey Collinson [1] states that `a very neat house and gardens in this parish belong to Thomas Stawel, esq.' The site of the house was pointed out by Mr D Wright (Castlehill Farm, Withiel Florey) at SS 9859 3348. Day and Masters map of Somerset [2] clearly shows a house here, as does the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 1 inch map of 1802-3 [3]. The latter shows a substantial `L'-shaped structure approached from the east by a short, straight drive. Around the house are various enclosures presumably gardens and orchards. By the time of the Tithe Map (1839) the house has gone and the field in which it stood is called `Rookery' [4]. The origin of the house is unclear, but it seems likely that it was built in the second half of the 18th Century, and that it was a minor gentry house. The Stawell family history [5] makes it clear that the Stawell connection with Withiel Florey began in 1776 when Thomas Stawell married Amelia Bryant of Withiel Florey. The house may well date from this time. Whilst there is no contemporary description of the house and its setting, the various map sources combined with the fragmentary remains on the site allow a tentative picture of what was there to be built up. The house lay on the floodplain of the narrow valley of the River Haddeo. It was approached from the lane to the east by a short drive, the beginning of which was embellished by a wide turn in off the lane now marked by a pronounced mound at the edge of the field. The house was surrounded by gardens and orchards only represented on the ground by fragmentary scarps. To the south of the house was a stone footbridge (now mostly buried within a hedgebank) and at least two stone revetted ponds, now confused both by the changing course of the river and by modern fishponds to the south. From here southwestwards was a chain of three large ponds, two of which are shown on the Tithe Map and one on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25 inch mapping of 1889 [6]. These have now largely disappeared. At the end of the chain of ponds is Blagdon Cottages (MSO8886), a pair of estate cottages, obviously constructed as an eyecatcher to be seen from the house. [7] See RCHME interpretative plan and report. [8] The site was visited in March 2013. It was noted to be under permanent pasture, as described by the RCHME survey and no additional comments were made. [9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Monograph: Collinson, J.. 1791 (2006). The History and Antiquities of Somerset. Archive CD Books Ltd. Volume 3, p 295.
  • <2> Report: Wilson-North, R.. 1998. An 18th Century House and Park at Withiel Florey. RCHME.
  • <2> Map: Day and Masters. 1981. Map of Somerset 1782. SRS. 76.
  • <3>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1802. Ordnance Survey drawing 42 part 1 - Minehead 16. 3 inch : 1 Mile (1:21,120). Pen and Ink. [Mapped feature: #34177 ]
  • <4> Map: Pursey, R.P.. 1839. Withiel Florey Tithe Map and Apportionment. 6 chains = 1".
  • <5> Monograph: Stawell, G.D.. 1910. A Quantock family. . The Stawells of Cothelstone and their descendants, the Barons Stawell of Somerton, and the Stawells of Devonshire and the county Cork. Barnicott and Pearce. pp 137-8.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Somerset 58(6).
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 September 1998.
  • <9> Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit. S Blaylock, 13 March 2013.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1175528, Updated 5 May 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9857 3349 (203m by 142m) Very approximate mapping
Map sheet SS93SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 SE107
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1175528
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35874

Record last edited

May 5 2022 12:40PM


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