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Historic England Research Records

Court Farm

Hob Uid: 197095
Location :
Somerset
Mendip
Wookey
Grid Ref : ST5179045620
Summary : Medieval palace of the Bishop of Bath and Wells at Wookey, on low lying land in a loop of the River Axe. The site was one of the first palaces of the Bishops and is first documented in 1224 when Bishop Jocelin was licensed to use oak trees from Cheddar forest for its repair. In a 1330s history of Wells it was written that the chapels and chambers of Wookey and Wells were built 'magnificently' by Jocelin. The main grounds were encircled by a moat, enclosing a large polygonal area of over five acres, with the palace in the northern part where Court Farm now stands. The farmhouse is the only upstanding building of the period. An area of earthworks to the east of the house indicates the site of former buildings, and although the moat has been largely infilled its course can still be traced in places as an earthwork. Major repairs to the palace were recorded in 1461-2, including the re-roofing of the hall with lead. A survey of 1557 recorded new buildings and rooms, and the present farmhouse has been identified as part of the new build. The moat is believed to date from after this date as it is not mentioned in the survey, although it is depicted on the 1839 Tithe Map. The grounds were entered from the south east where a gatehouse stood. On one side were an ox house, hay house, stable and pigsty while on the other were a cow house and walled barton of two acres. Lynchets and banks suggest sub-division of this aprt of the grounds. Within the grounds were a garden behind the house, a barn, two bartons, an orhard, fishponds and a dovecote.
More information : [ST 517457] COURT FARM [TI]
Remains of EPISCOPAL MANOR HOUSE [GT]
MOAT [GT]. (1)

Court Farm House, Wookey incorporates all that remains of a 13th century moated Episcopal Manor House, including a fragmentary doorway of c 1230 which probably led into the chapel. The front of the building is probably early 16th century. (2-4)

Externally the house is of little architectural interest. See GP/AO/66/243/8.

The moat which formerly encircled the house has been completely destroyed. On the west it has been built over and the southern side has been filled in.

Within the former enclosure are several low banks forming small plots and a trackway which probably indicate a post Reformation usage of the field. (5)

In 1971 a pipe trench cut at ST 517457 revealed a substantial unmortared wall c 1.3m wide with foundations c 2m deep,
possibly the boundary of the Bishop's manor house. In front and west of it was a probable ditch 10m side. (The map reference, though it may be only general, suggests that the trench was on the west side of the site and that the ditch discovered was the old moat). (6)

ST 517457. Site of Episcopal Manor House. Scheduled. (7)

Court Farmhouse,Grade II* (8)

RCHME architectural survey (9)

Scheduled. (10)

Mr Winstone (a professional architect) and Mrs Winstone became owners of Court Farm in 1996, since when an ongoing programme of research and repair has been conducted. The work is in three phases and will probably take 10 years to complete.

Phase 1 is the retiling of the stable roof, repairing floors and reducing garden levels.

Phase 2 will be the stabilisation of movement in the 14th century cloister which is now the prilncipal range. A second objective is to regain the end bay of the parlour.

Phase 3 is attended to address the kitchen, former bakehouse and dairy.

Mr Winstone possesses various records relating to the works, including:

architects drawings for the lsted building consent,
photographs,
an index of finds from 1996,
continuous diary relating to the works from 1996,
an issue record sheet,
an article on the architectural development of the Bishop's Palace by Mr Winstone, (1999), relating the 157 description of the palace to the reconstruction plan, (publication in Somerset Record Society Proceedings pending). (11-13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1960
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Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : 2470.11.A, Jan 1960
Page(s) : 32
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : The Rescue of Court Farm, Wookey
Source details :
Page(s) : Dec-14
Figs. : FIG
Plates : PHOTO
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Wookey Manor and Parish 1544-1841: Somerset Record Society (Joan Hasler)
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Source Number : 13
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter: John Winstone 4 Jan 2000
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Source Number : 3
Source : North Somerset and Bristol
Source details :
Page(s) : 344
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 23
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 82 (1936)
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JP 12-JUL-66
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Council for British Archaeology : Group 12 (Wessex) & Group 13 (South West) : Archaeological review
Source details :
Page(s) : 42
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6 (1971)
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments) Ancient Monuments Record Note October 1982
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Mendip District, Somerset 29/01/1987
Page(s) : 85
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Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : RCHME Architectural Survey 1998
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Source Number : 10
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 26/09/1995
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval (Before 1224)
Monument End Date : 1224
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Became a residence between 1224 to 1330
Monument End Date : 1330
Monument Start Date : 1224
Monument Type : Bishops Palace, Domestic Chapel
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Repaired 1461-1462
Monument End Date : 1462
Monument Start Date : 1461
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Farmhouse built
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1462
Monument Type : Farmhouse
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Recorded as extant in 1557
Monument End Date : 1557
Monument Start Date : 1557
Monument Type : Gatehouse, Oxhouse, Hay Barn, Stable, Pigsty, Cow House, Barn, Dovecote, Lynchet, Orchard, Farmhouse, Fishpond
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Moat not extant before 1557 to 1839
Monument End Date : 1839
Monument Start Date : 1557
Monument Type : Moat
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SO 493
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27961
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 268186
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 45605
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 54 NW 31
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 54 NW 31
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-07-12
End Date : 1966-07-12
Associated Activities : Primary, COURT FARM
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, COURT FARM
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LONG ORCHARD, COURT FARM
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, COURT FARM, WOOKEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, COURT FARM
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, COURT FARM (STABLE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND EAST OF COURT FARM
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RESIDENCE OF THE FORMER BISHOPS OF BATH & WELLS
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT COURT FARM
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT PREYWATER ROAD
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT COURT FARM
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31