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Latitude: 51.2118 / 51°12'42"N
Longitude: -2.6453 / 2°38'43"W
OS Eastings: 355019
OS Northings: 146045
OS Grid: ST550460
Mapcode National: GBR MN.3X79
Mapcode Global: VH89S.3SCW
Entry Name: Polydor House
Listing Date: 12 November 1953
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1383163
English Heritage Legacy ID: 483581
Location: Wells, Mendip, Somerset, BA5
Civil Parish: Wells
Built-Up Area: Wells
Traditional County: Somerset
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset
ST5446 THE LIBERTY
662-1/6/299 (North side)
Large detached house, formerly known as The Organist's House.
C15 fragments, with C16, C17, C18 and C19 additions and
alterations. Random rubble with Doulting stone dressings,
partly rendered and colourwashed, Welsh slate gabled roofs,
most gables coped, ashlar chimney stacks.
PLAN: a C15 hall house subsequently much modified, now has
large staircase hall with parlour to right; to the left a
3-bay full-height C17 extension of 3 bays, and to rear of main
range in parallel a wide addition of C17 or earlier.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys with partial attic and cellar, 2 bays, and
2 storeys 5 bays. The first, unrendered section has a 3 light
ovolo-mould timber-framed window to lower bay 1, and casement
windows to lower bay 2; first floor has 12-pane and 9-pane
sashes in moulded stone architraves, the attic 3-light
chamfer-mullioned casement in chamfered surround without
label, set in a lofty coped gable.
The principal 5-bay front, rendered and colourwashed, is
slightly higher, and has part-height buttresses with offsets
to the right of bays 1 and 2; the remaining bays are set back
slightly, lower bays 4 and 5 and the five first-floor windows
are 12-pane sashes in plain openings, lower bay 1 has a
4-light chamfer mullioned and transomd window with square
label, and bay 3 has a blocked 2-light mullioned window.
Entrance in bay 2, with a 6-panel door in heavy beaded
architrave with fine shell hood over frieze and ornamental
A number of timber windows in the rear elevation, and one C16
window with hollow-chamfered mouldings and label, with traces
of a trefoil-headed window with incised spandrels.
INTERIOR: the main door, on early hinges, opens direct to the
large entrance hall which embraces the former service rooms to
the left, and has, to the right of the doorway, an open-well
early C18 stair, probably from the 1719 alterations; it has
quarter landings, 3 turned balusters to each tread with
scrolled ends to the open string, fluted newels, and a swept
handrail. The ceiling has a cable-mould cornice. In the rear
wall is a lofty 2-light stone casement with transom and cusped
lights, part of the earliest fabric. To the right the parlour
has a 4-compartment ceiling, the beams having later added
plaster mouldings. There is a 4-centred stone doorway giving
to the basement.
To the left the C16 extension has a spiral staircase in the NW
corner. This section is reported as having an arch-braced
collar roof with 3 purlins and chamfered wind-bracing, with a
pair of carved corbels with angels holding shields.
The rear range includes a spiral stair through full height,
and a 2-light early leaded wood casement in a very thick wall.
This range has a ground-floor room with C17 panelling, and a
heavy cornice to a plastered ceiling with fielded panels; the
fire surround has an eared architrave.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the house has had a very varied history. The
name derives from the C16 Humanist Dean, Polydore Vergil, but
he is not known to have lived in this house. The site is first
recorded as being occupied in 1317; the new occupant in 1719,
Dr Hunt, was given permission to '... make such alterations in
repairing the house as he might think fit...', and this date
would seem appropriate to the main staircase. In 1866, the
Organist's old house being ruinous, he took over No.3, and
thereafter it was long known as 'Organist's House'; since 1966
it has been leased to the Cathedral School.
Sketch plan and drawings in VAG report.
(Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-:
21-27; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and
Bristol: London: 1958-: 328; Williams Cmdr: Vernacular
Architecture Group Report: 1978-).
Listing NGR: ST5501946045
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