Part of a fortified house at Holditch Court.
Reasons for Designation
Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gun ports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, utility and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. They are a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples. The part of the fortified house at Holditch Court survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, development, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 January 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes part of a fortified house situated within a farmyard on a gently sloping hillside overlooking the Blackwater River close to its confluence with the River Axe. The part of the fortified house survives as a three storied roofless rectangular plan tower with a projecting circular stair-turret in the south west angle and stands to a height of approximately 8m. There are many visible put-log holes to the external faces and the line of the former spiral stair case is visible on the internal faces of the stair-turret. Once part of the fortified house belonging to the Brooke family it is probably of 14th - 15th century date. Thomas Brooke was granted a licence to crenellate in 1397. The tower is Listed Grade I.