Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

Mendip (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 55188 45983



ST5445 ST ANDREW STREET 662-1/7/243 (North side) 12/11/53 No.2 Tower House


Large detached house in grounds. Early C14 and C15, with C18, C19 and C20 modifications. Local stone rubble, with Doulting ashlar dressings; roof is slated to E but pantiled to rear slopes, and formerly had stone tiles, brick chimney stacks on stone bases. PLAN: a long N/S first floor hall range, with an undercroft to the S end, an added bay with tower at N end, and a short projecting wing to the rear (W), opposite the later main staircase. In the internal angle is an inserted lean-to addition, with a circular stair turret at the N end. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys with attic, E elevation (facing the Liberty), 5 bays plus the north-east corner three-storey tower. Bay 1 has a 15-pane sash window with thick glazing bars at mezzanine level, with a 6-pane casement and a slim casement to lower ground floor and 6-pane casement under eaves. Bay 2 has a partly glazed entrance door in moulded wood frame with plain timber hood, above it a small 8-pane and a large 18-pane sash window. Bays 3 and 4 have large 12-pane sash windows, and bay 5 has a 12-pane sash to the ground floor, with a 2-light mullioned window, having cambered arched lights and a square label, to first floor; a similar mullioned window without label under eaves. The tower has small stair windows, with a south-east corner turret corbelled out above first floor level, and a plain parapet. Sundry alterations in stonework this face, infill under a segmental relieving arch over the entrance door, a relieving arch over the bay 4 ground-floor window and a long jamb to the right, straight joint between bays 4 and 5. North wall of turret has a 2-light mullioned window at second floor level, with curl end square label, similar window without label in main north gable to house. The main gables are coped. South gable (facing St Andrew Street), has two 18-pane sash windows to the ground floor, one set in the moulded head and jambs of an earlier 2-light window, the other has a semicircular arch and deadlight over, slim window to left in moulded opening. Above in the gable a blocked 2-light Decorated traceried pointed arched window with transom, the outlines of the tracery marked on rendering. The wing westwards, set back one bay from the S end of the main range, has 2 bays with 18-pane sash windows, doubled to ground floor bay 1. INTERIOR: the main range has a dog-leg stair opposite the main entry. To its left a 3-storey range on undercroft; at first floor the square room has a cusped rere-arch to a former stone-mullioned tracery window matching that above, and has C16 panelling. The main ground floor is divided, with a corridor to the W side, the main hall above has a fireplace at the N end, and openings to the tower and to the former staircase. The tower has a spiral staircase, and a further spiral stair is contained in a turret to the W of the hall at the N end. The main roof is in 4 bays, with heavy cambered collars to arch braces, principals halved to a diagonal ridge-piece, 2 ranges of wind-bracing, and chamfered purlins to run-out stops; between the purlins at mid-bay is a post in the plane of the roof. The brattished plate has a frieze with pierced quatrefoils. In the wing is a 2-bay roof-frame in identical detail. The ground floor of the wing, a kitchen, is entered through a late medieval door with vertical plank on horizontal, and has a stone-flagged floor, and a 4-compartment ceiling with moulded beams. There is also, to the S, a wide 4-centred arch with panelled soffit, containing a later door. The attached lean-to to the N includes a bread-oven, but without stack. HISTORICAL NOTE: the house is sometimes known as the House of the Master of the Fabric, (see e.g Parker, op cit), but there is no documentary evidence to support this; it was allocated as the Precentor's House in 1338, but from 1734 became an ordinary canonical house, and a 'Bishop's Rib (qv 'The Rib'). At the end of the C19 it was the house of the Vice-Principal of the Theological College, one of whose daughters, Elizabeth Goudge, the novelist, was born here. The house is now in private ownership. It retains one of the best early fabrics in the city. (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 326; Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-: 128; Parker JH: The Architectural Antiquities of the City of Wells: London: 1866-: 26).

Listing NGR: ST5518845983


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

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Books and journals
Bailey, S, Canonical Houses of Wells, (1982), 128
Parker, J H, Architectural Antiquities of the City of Wells, (1866), 26
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (1958), 326


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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