The Tribunal


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014714

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of The Tribunal
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 20:30:49.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: Glastonbury

National Grid Reference: ST 49930 38978


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The medieval town house known as The Tribunal in Glastonbury survives, with much of its original burgage plot, in the High Street of a now much visited town. The present house dates from the early 15th century though excavations around the house have provided evidence for an earlier, 12th century, timber building. The present house retains many of its original architectural features. Evidence for the status and changing fortunes of the inhabitants of the Tribunal is known from excavation to be preserved in the burgage plot beneath later occupation material.

The High Street in Glastonbury is thought to have been the central focus of the medieval market town from at least the 12th century, and the Tribunal is the earliest surviving building. Although the position of burgage plots is preserved in the present property boundaries, later development is likely to mean that this plot is the best preserved. The house is situated opposite the well known and much visited Glastonbury Abbey.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a medieval town house and curtilage in Glastonbury High Street c.14m to the north of the medieval precinct of Glastonbury Abbey.

The house is a stone built late medieval town house on two storeys. The doorway on the High Street leads into a screens passage, to the side of which is a front room. There are also a middle and a back room on the ground floor. Above is a front and back room. To the rear are the remains of a long, enclosed, burgage tenement with a well.

The main doorway to the tribunal has a four-centred head on the left and an eight-light window on the right. Above are two-light windows, and a canted bay window in the middle. All heads of the window lights are four-centred. Some linenfold panelling of the screen passage is now in the front room. The front room has moulded beams. Behind it is a passage with a small window and a spiral staircase. The back room has Elizabethan thin-ribbed plaster patterns between the beams and a fireplace with a high mantleshelf. There is a 15th century back window with hood-mould on busts. On the upper floor the front room fills the whole front of the building. The roof has been almost entirely rebuilt. The kitchen was added as a separate back wing in the Elizabethan period.

The earliest part of the present building dates from the early 15th century. The house is reputed to be the courthouse of the abbots of Glastonbury, and was used during the Monmouth Rebellion trials by Judge Jeffries. The street facade was inserted to replace a timber front by Abbot Bere, who was Abbot of Glastonbury from 1493 to 1521. After the Dissolution it became a dwelling, and a wing was added at the back. The burgage plot at the back of the house is now a garden except for the furthest end which was compulsorily acquired by the local authority and now lies under a car park. A small scale excavation was carried out in 1992 adjacent to the west wall of The Tribunal. This revealed evidence of a timber building of probable 12th century date below later medieval stone foundations. The excavation confirms that the middle room on the ground floor is best seen as an infill and stairwell between two existing free standing buildings. They suggest that the back room on the ground floor was a kitchen separated from the main house as a fire safety precaution. In the building, modern light fittings, stud walls, the modern spiral staircase, display boards, blinds and storage heaters are all excluded from the scheduling. In the garden, light fittings, the storage hut, the stone path and concrete flower containers are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included. The far end of the burgage plot which is under a car park is not included in the scheduling because of ground disturbance in this area.

The monument is Listed Grade I and is also in the care of the Secretary of State.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 22075

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hollinrake, C N, Glastonbury Tribunal 1992, (1993), 7
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, (1958), 181

End of official listing