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Medieval Manor Houses
in Wiltshire
Part 1
By Michael Ford


Bewley Court OS.173 (ST926685)

Can be found between MELKSHAM and CHIPPENHAM and East of Lacock at Bowden Hill on a minor road. The house can be seen over the entrance gate.

The oldest parts of the structure are 14c and 15c including the hall with some timber framing and its roof. Externally the main features are a fine oriel window, a porch and battlementing.

Bradfield Manor OS.173 (ST896830)

North of CHIPPENHAM at Hullavington off a minor road. An end on view can be had from the road but this does not do the house justice.

The Manor dates from Domesday times with Earl Harold as its Lord and was granted to Roger Mortimer by the Crown.

In the 14c the Manor was in the hands of the Earl of March and on his death in 1398 passed to his daughter Ann who married Richard Earl of Cambridge and then on to their son Edward. The Crown took possession in 1461 with his succession as Edward IV. The house must have been built in its present form around this time.

John Collingbourne owned the property from 1472 on the death of the previous owner John Russell. His heir William Collingbourne conspired against Richard III and wrote the rhyme ‘The cat and the rat and Lovell our dog rule all England under a hog’ and for this was executed in 1484. The house stayed with the Collingbournes until 1545 when Edmund Collingbourne, Councellor and Chaplain to Henry VII, died. It passed by descent to John Whistler who sold it out of family ownership in 1771.

The house was restored in 1930 by Major Storey whose architect was Sir Harold Brakspear.

The house has a very Gothic look with two full height transom windows. The roof to the 15c hall still survives in the loft.

Great Chalfield Manor House OS.173 (ST860632)

North East of BRADFORD-ON-AVON on a minor road from which an excellent view can be enjoyed.

This is one of England’s most perfect medieval manor houses, a superb group of picturesque buildings including the church, gatehouse, barn, mill, service buildings, moat and bridge.

The House is now owned by the National Trust and may be visited from May to October. The guided tours are at set times and it is important not to miss the start.

The exterior of the house features beautiful oriel windows and a fine porch and doorway with a coat of arms on the corbel. There is some timber framing at the rear.

Inside the hall, screen and solar are complete. Look out for the stone looking mask squints.

The house was rebuilt be Thomas Tropnell between 1467 and 1480 round a courtyard. Thomas died in 1488. His Great-granddaughter Ann married John Eyre in 1550 and they continued to live in the house.

During the Civil War a Parliamentary garrison occupied the property from 1644 to 1646.

The house was in a sorry state at the start of the Victorian era and the East wing was demolished in 1838 except for the North wall with its oriel window. Between 1905 and 1912 Robert Fuller employed Sir Harold Brakspear as his architect for restoration of the property. He gave the Manor to the National Trust in 1943 with a suitable endowment for its upkeep. His family still have their home there.

King John’s1 House OS.184 (ST945178)

South East of SHAFTESBURY in Tollard Royal, the old Capital of Cranborne Chase.

The heart of the house is c.1240. It has a first floor hall and both 13c and Elizabethan windows. The structure shows some timber framing externally.

The house belonged to General Sir Augustus Pitt-Rivers the ‘Father of Archaeology’ in Victorian times from 1889 and it was he who examined the house in detail, rediscovering its 13c and Elizabethan heart. He uncovered some excellent windows of those times.

This is one King John’s House which is believed to actually have associations with King John.

Note

1. The term ‘King John’s House etc.’ generally bears no connection with King John himself, it is just a name given to any ancient structure where little is known of its history.

Medieval Manor Houses in Wiltshire N-Z
Other interesting Medieval Houses and Buildings
Other Buildings with Medieval Origins


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