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Latitude: 51.2345 / 51°14'4"N
Longitude: -2.5217 / 2°31'18"W
OS Eastings: 363669
OS Northings: 148500
OS Grid: ST636485
Mapcode National: GBR MT.2JY3
Mapcode Global: VH89V.77QG
Entry Name: Ashwick Court
Listing Date: 2 June 1961
Last Amended: 10 March 2016
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1058473
English Heritage Legacy ID: 266404
Location: Ashwick, Mendip, Somerset, BA3
Civil Parish: Ashwick
Traditional County: Somerset
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset
Ashwick Court, a house dating from the C17, but refronted and remodelled in the C18. There is a wing of 1928 to the west, by Rolfe and Peto, and another of 1996-8 to the east*; this later extension is not of special interest and is excluded from the listing. Substantial alterations were undertaken throughout the house in the 1990s, with the removal of all or most of the internal structure.
Small country house, originating as a C17 farmhouse, but refronted and remodelled in the C18. There is a wing of 1928 to the west, by Rolfe and Peto, and another of 1996-8 to the east*; this later extension is not of special interest and is excluded from the listing. Substantial alterations were undertaken throughout the house in the 1990s, with the removal of all or most of the internal structure.
MATERIALS: rubblestone, rendered and painted, but with the dressings – door and window surrounds, quoins, and moulded eaves cornice – in Bath stone ashlar, unrendered. The brick stacks are rendered. The hipped roofs are slated; there are dormer windows to the roof, recently replaced. The majority of the windows are sashes, largely C20 replacements. The mullioned windows have iron casements.
PLAN: the main house is of two storeys with attic and basement, and is roughly square on plan, with the principal entrance to the south; the house is in two parts, the rear, slightly lower part representing the original C17 building, and the front being largely C18. The ground on which the house is set slopes northwards, so the northern entrances are at basement level. The wings provide rooms on the ground floor and in the basement. An 1880s lean-to* runs alongside the rear part of the house to the west, and continues northwards, abutting the cottage* standing to the house to the north; neither of these structures is of special interest. The area between the house and cottage is enclosed on the east by a wall*, which is not of special interest.
EXTERIOR: the principal elevation is three bays wide and two storeys high, with a central entrance. The stack, rising from the centre of the back part of this section of the building, is visible from the front. The entrance bay, in which the ashlar is unrendered, is defined by shallow pilasters; the entrance is protected by an enclosed mid-C19 stone porch having a round-headed arch with emphasised keystone and a convex cornice. Within, the doorcase has a bolection moulding, and the brackets remain which held the doorway’s original hood; the front door is a modern replacement. Set above the porch is a stone plaque bearing the Strachey arms, with the motto: ‘Cælum non animum’ (taken from Horace’s Odes, the line ‘Cælum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt’ translates as, ‘The sky, not the soul, is changed for those who rush over the sea’). The ground-floor windows have been enlarged, probably in the early C20, but the first-floor windows retain their original proportions and their pediments – segmental to the centre, and triangular to either side. The wings, though of different dates, are symmetrical and similar; these were designed to complement the style of the house: each has exposed quoins and a stone parapet partly concealing a pyramidal roof. The 1928 wing, to the west elevation, has a single window to the south, matching those to the ground floor of the main house, and to the west, a large Venetian window at ground-floor level, and two mullioned windows, one blind, to the basement. On the west elevation, above the wing, is a cruciform stone window, probably C17, with a C18 triangular pediment. On the east elevation the equivalent window has a triangular pediment, but the window has sash frames. The western elevation of the rear part of the building is partially obscured by the lean-to*. Above this there is a stone window opening to each floor, the upper one having a hoodmould, apparently formed from the remains of a C19 moulding. The rear, north elevation, is formed of three gables, with a stack rising from the east and west gables. The central entrance appears to have originated in the C17, with a pointed segmental arch and heavy keystone; there is a 1990s addition of a bracketed cornice in a C18 style. Above this are two windows lighting the rear stair, the upper window being round-headed; the windows are connected by a stone surround. To the west there is a mullioned window at ground-floor level, with two small windows above. On the eastern elevation of the rear section there is a window to each storey; the lower windows are large C19 or C20 openings, but the one above is smaller, with a moulded surround, and is probably earlier.
INTERIOR: the interior has been very substantially altered in the C20, in both 1928 and 1996-8. In 1996 the central stair was removed and a new cantilevered stone stair beneath a coved ceiling was built in the rear part of the house, where there had previously been a stair between basement and ground floors only; it is thought that the walls enclosing this space largely remain. The entrance hall to the south of the building was enlarged by the removal of the central stair; new openings were made in the north wall at the same time. The bolection-moulded stone chimneypiece and hob-grate are thought to date from the same phase. The western drawing room was extended and remodelled in 1928, with the removal of part of the original western wall; in 1996 the fireplace was moved from its opening at the centre of the original room to the centre of the new space, and a carved timber chimneypiece in a C18 style inserted. The 1996 wing to the east contains the new kitchen. To the north-east of the house the study has a C17 stone chimneypiece, with a wide, chamfered, arched opening and a triangular keystone; the opening is fitted with an early-C19 hobgrate. The room also has an early-C19 cornice with a rose motif to the corners, and early-C19 reeded window surrounds, with panelling and shutters. The room to the north-west has an C18 carved timber chimneypiece with a C18 hobgrate; these may be original but are thought more likely to be later insertions. The room also has window panelling and shutters. On the first floor, in the south-west bedroom, the western stone cruciform window is visible, with its convex mouldings. The window panelling and shutters in this and the south-east room are modern replacements. The northern roof spaces have largely been converted to living space; however in the central section the principal pegged timbers remain, with purlins; the C18 coved eaves cornice belonging to the north wall of the south part of the house is visible. The southern part of the roof was not accessible. The basement retains its stone flags. In the south-east room, formerly the kitchen, the opening for the former range can be seen, but the room does not have other historic features. The former larder, to the south-west, has been partitioned, but retains alcoves for shelving. The north-east room may have been a small servants’ hall or sitting room – the room has an early-C19 chimneypiece and alcove shelving, and a buffet recess; the window shutters and panelling are also early-C19. The north-west room has been extended westwards into the western lean-to extension*, which is not included in the listing; the stone-mullioned window is visible to the north.
*Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act of 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historical interest.
The origins of the building now known as Ashwick Court date back to the C17, and some fabric of that period remains, but substantial remodelling has taken place at various times during the building’s history. Owing to its name it has been supposed that the house might have been used as a court house, and there is a tradition that it was used for Judge Jeffery’s Bloody Assizes in 1685. However the current name did not come into use until the mid-C19, and the re-naming is thought simply to reflect the gentrification of what was originally a farmhouse. The house was refronted in the C18, with other alterations taking place at that time. In 1823 the Manor of Ashwick was bought by Richard Strachey, and the house remained in the Strachey family, though leased to tenants, until 1924. The lean-to on the west side of the building was constructed in the 1880s. In 1928 the local architects Rolfe and Peto were employed to build an addition to the drawing room on the west side of the house. A two-storey wing was built on the east side of the house in 1996-8, at which time substantial internal alterations were undertaken to the interior of the building. The cottage standing to the rear of the house, and now linked to it by the late-C19 lean-to, probably dates from the C18, with alterations. The courtyard between the house and the cottage was created during the C19, with the construction of the lean-to, and the wall to the east by 1886.
Ashwick Court, a house dating from the C17, but refronted and remodelled in the C18, with extensive C20 additions and alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as a substantial house dating from the early C17, with an elegant and C18 principal frontage;
* Historical interest: as a well-documented house, having origins as a C17 farmhouse, with subsequent gentrification illustrated by its architectural development;
* Group value: with the adjacent listed stable building, and with the nearby Church of St James, listed at Grade I.
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