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Whitminster House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Whitenhurst; Wheatenhurst

In the civil parish of Whitminster.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO75970905
Latitude 51.77960° Longitude -2.34962°

Whitminster House has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.

Description

Medieval core probably a hall house with solar in south east corner, enlarged probably by Richard Bird in late C16, and extended early C17 to north by his daughter. Extended to west in late C17 by Lloyd family, refaced with sash windows to west and south by Richard Owen Cambridge 1740-50, further remodelled to west and south in Tudor style by Wilton family from 1867, occupied by Teesdale family since 1884. Roughcast faced blue lias to east and north, ashlar faced to west and south, mostly stone slate roof, large rendered stack with moulded stone cap in angle to south east, ashlar original end stack to early range now a ridge stack, 3 diagonally set ashlar flues on ridge stack to north west of C17, C19 ashlar stacks to west and south ranges. Large E-shape with double central range and small 2-storey porch between projecting end ranges. Mostly 2 storeys and attic. Entrance front to east has 3 gables recessed between projecting gabled ends wings each with nearly full height wide canted bays of C18 with sashes. Two gables to left are earlier and have hollow moulded scattered 2- light stone mullions, some restored and some with square hoodmoulds. C17 ovolo mouldings to right. Each gable has pair of roses in pargetting at apex from early C17, very unusual for Gloucestershire. Junction of C16 and C17 work is obscured by 2- storey gabled porch probably of C18 with moulded ashlar round archway and single stone framed light over, with inscription tablet between with words "PER DOMINUM" beneath cornice breaking forward over small consoles, probably moved from above early C17 inner door which has similar style hood, ovolo moulded and stopped jambs, and original studded plank door with large strap hinges. South and west fronts both in Tudor Gothic style with mostly 2-light stone mullions and transoms. South front has replaced plain gable to far right, small central coped gable with kneelers and central stack over single-storey embattled porch with roll-moulded 4-centred archway and hoodmould. West front had 5 gables reduced to 4 in 1860s with large nearly central gable remodelled from 2 over main bedroom and drawing room with slightly projecting 3-light bay with embattled blocking course, and large projecting gable to right with 2-storey triangular bay. North side mostly still with C18 sashes and with small bell turret with bell dated 1739. Interior retains features from all periods including moulded beams of C16, very large chamfered kitchen fireplace arch probably of early C17 (date 1618 inscribed but could be earlier). Library in south west corner panelled in 1740s with original fireplace and contains bookcase probably made in early C19 within room, stair on east side also probably of 1740 or possibly earlier with twisted balusters, ramped handrail and moulded dado, and lit by very ornate tripartite moulded skylight probably of 1860s. Panelled room of C18 in north east range. South and west ranges contain large remodelled Victorian rooms with elaborate plaster cornices still unspoiled by layers of paint, that in the drawing room to west being especially fine. This room has original William Morris wallpaper of 1884, white marble fireplace with complete inlay of Minton tiles probably of late 1860s, many original fittings such as curtain rails, mirrors, shelves and fire screens probably contemporary and possibly designed for the room. Stairwell also has original C19 wallpaper and elaborate plas- ter cornices. The house is a very interesting example of the development of a small country house. It is set near the junction of the Stroudwater and Gloucester and Sharpness Canals with the River Frome in its grounds, the first 3 miles of which were made navigable by Richard Owen Cambridge in 1740s. (Listed Building Report)

Whitminster House is a three-story building mainly of stone and partly rough-cast. The lord's court in 1288 stood above the Frome where it ran past Calfhay, and was therefore on or very near the site of Whitminster House. It was recorded as a chief house with a courtyard in 1336, and in 1347 Humphrey de Bohun received licence to crenellate the dwelling-place of his manor of Wheatenhurst, which appears to have been occupied by a tenant by 1397. Two rooms, with a stone gable-end, were added to the house in 1424, and the roof of the steward's chamber and wash-room were mended in 1479. The medieval house may be represented by the south-east corner of the surviving house, which is built of stone on an L-shaped plan; the range running north may mark the medieval hall and that running east the solar block. The range running north was extended apparently by Richard Bird after 1591, and includes a large stone kitchen chimney with a wide segmental fireplace arch on which the date 1618 has been scratched. The extension was built as three stories; the earlier building was raised to three corresponding stories at a different date, but whether earlier or later is uncertain. The two-story porch on the east side where the extension joins the older building has features of c. 1600, but the whole of it looks as though it has been moved and the upper part blocks one of two mullioned windows also of c. 1600. (VCH)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1347 Dec 22 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

As with most houses granted a licence to crenellate this manor house is like other manor houses not granted licences to crenellate in having little evidence of being fortified. In fact the most remarkable thing about this house is the apparent lack of a moat, although building one for this house would have been easy. Although now seemingly isolated is beside the parish church and the clear ridge and furrow visible on the air photo shows there was a settlement here.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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