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Norton sub Hamdon manor house

In the civil parish of Norton sub Hamdon.
In the historic county of Somerset.
Modern Authority of Somerset.
1974 county of Somerset.
Medieval County of Somerset.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST471159
Latitude 50.94059° Longitude -2.75548°

Norton sub Hamdon manor house has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


In 1421 the king's escheator for Somerset assigned to Anne, the widow of Sir Thomas de la Pole, formerly lord of the manor of Norton sub Hamdon, her proper share in the manor house. This comprised a ground-floor room on the south of the farmyard, a first floor-room above the stable called 'le hayhous', the third part of the great garden. And that part of the garden was defined as 'that part of the garden which is on the east part of the same beginning from a certain ash tree growing in the great ditch by the entrance of the same garden, and thence stretching through the garden by a certain apple tree leaning over the ditch on the north of the same garden'. Lady Anne also received the rents of several tenants, a water mill and a third of the profits from the stone quarries.
In 1555 a survey of the manor included the 'capital messuage', that is the manor house and its site, 'situate and built by the parish church there', a field called Court Close and a dovecote. The dovecote still stands by the parish church. The moat may now be under the buildings of Court Farm. (Dunning 1995)

A small-scale research excavation was directed by R. A. Croft for Somerset County Council and the Norton-sub-Hamdon Local History Group. The main objective of the project was to locate a large building shown on the Tithe map of c1839 on the western side of the parish church which local tradition identified as a possible site for an earlier manor house. The fields to the north were subject to archaeological evaluation in 1994 in advance of the construction of a new school building and playing fields. These had located traces of a medieval ditch and recovered a sherd of 13th-century Saintonge pottery. (Somerset HER)

There are slight but extensive earthworks around the church and as far south as Courtfield House, Norton sub Hamdon. The field is marked 'Court Close' on the 1839 Tithe Map. One of the buildings shown facing the lane to the church may be the Medieval manor house which was demolished in the mid 19th century. The earthworks may represent the remains of the manorial complex. (PastScape ref. Ellison 1983)

Included by Dunning in a gazetteer of 'fortified houses and moated sites' although no other castle studies author has described it as fortified. Certainly rather more than a homestead moat but nothing to really suggest any fortification, such as a gatehouse or wall walk, other than the 'great ditch' which may not have been an encircling moat.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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