The centre of Tintinhull has numerous old buildings many of them cross passage farm houses. It is likely that they are positioned on sites that have been occupied since at least medieval times. The distribution of old houses is concentrated along all three of the Y shaped fork of roads at the village centre. This indicates that this pattern of roads dates back to the same period of settlement. According to Somerset Vernacular Building Research Group surveys the oldest standing houses appear to be from the 1500s. The distribution of these together with buildings indicated in later documents or 18C Estate maps have been superimposed on the Tithe map for illustration and can be viewed here.
Now take a tour of a selection of the village’s historic buildings and features.
One of the more architecturally distinguished of the village houses. The eastern part, the original farmhouse, dates from 1630. It was extensively altered and enlarged early in the 18C when it was occupied by Andrew Napper, younger brother of Thomas Napper, Lord of the Manor, living in Tintinhull Court. The house has C17th. origins (a long range, one room deep, with a cross wing at the south end), surviving east front with mullioned windows. It has a gable end date stone 1630 with initial N for Napper and put lock holes for scaffolding.
This early 18C extension on the West side has 3 rooms and an entrance front of 5 bays. This symmetrical two-storeyed elevation of Ham stone ashlar is an unusually perfect example of its size and period. The 3 central bays are flanked by pilasters and surmounted by a pediment containing a circular window. The central doorway, with Tuscan columns and a segmental pediment, was entered from a walled forecourt, angled piers to this are crowned by stone eagles.
It has rusticated angle pilasters, stone mullioned and transom windows and a hipped roof of stone slates with attic dormers. Called The Mansion throughout the C19th.,., with gardens developed by the botanist Rev. Dr. S.J.M. Price (1898) and by Mrs. F.E.Reiss (1933), it passed to the National Trust in 1954.
The Steps, Farm Street
Re-sited here from the Fosse Way. They are reputed to have originally been where the Mail Coach stopped. The steps are deeply worn on top and underneath.
The Dower House , Farm Street
Built in 1685 for Honour Napper. Two storeys and attics, with a symmetrical seven-bay front of Ham stone ashlar and a tile and slate stone roof. The two light stone mullioned windows, surmounted on each floor by a continuous hood-mould, appear to be 20th C replacements of wooden mullioned windows. Central doorway has a four-centred arch and a segmental-headed porch with oval window above. Internally the range consists of 3 rooms with a fourth in a rear wing. The original chimney has the remains of a smoke chamber beside it.
The Dower House in the 19th C
The arched and pedimented carriage entrance to the right was introduced when the house was gentrified ca. 1936.
Note the Sun Insurance Plaques Nos.666933 and 760615
Architecturally it has similarities to Francis House, both have beautiful masonry, dressed and laid in regular courses, and a continuous hood-mould running above the windows joining the doorway to them.
Francis House, The Green
Date stone, 1603 Richard Smith. Ham stone ashlar construction 3 unit cross passage with inner room extended to form a cross wing – present layout probably the original form.
Framed ceiling. Stone mullion windows with ovolo mouldings. Hood mould with step and return ends to the ground floor windows. External evidence of a bread oven. Note the wheel stone at the farm gate.
The Whipping Post
Situated on The Green, as were the stocks. The Green may have been the early venue for the Manorial Court and certainly offenders were punished here.
The Cattle Shed, Vicarage Street
We believe this to be a C18/19th relict. It has been surveyed and recorded by the group. More details from Denny Robbins
The Dairy House, St Margaret’s Road
Ca.1600. The original plan form- 2 storey, 2 unit and central entry cross passage has only been noted in 2 other SVBRG surveys, both in Long Load. Old front door. Has a former smoke hood. Space for cheese hoist in dining room, ca. 17th C. Panes of early glass. Roof with smoke black thatch.
Internal evidence shows this was originally a small medieval priests house. The Abbot soon ousted the priest and so commenced the substantial extension of the property over a period of 600 years.
It was known as The Parsonage up until the 19th C. although it ceased to function as such in 1529, being leased after 1530. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1539, the monastic estates passed to the Crown and the Manor of Tintinhull was let to Sir William Petre, Secretary of State, and sub let to Sir John Cuff, farmer of the tithes. In 1546 Edward Napper was assigned the lease and continued to sub let.
In 1559 Nicholas Napper inherited the lease from his brother and in 1669 Thomas, a direct descendant, purchased the manor title and the family finally moved into the house.
Church Street Cottages
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
In 1497 a Church house was built, even rebuilt, out of subscriptions including one from the prior of Montacute for 20/-. This encompassed a brewhouse and a bakehouse and in 1531 was replaced by a stone building. It was converted into poor houses (each with 12 ft x 12ft area) in 1763 and part of it later became the village school.
Built in the early C13th. as an aisle less chancel and nave with a substantial tower. It contains early C16th. pew ends, a Jacobean pulpit with canopy and encaustic tiles celebrating the marriage of Gilbert de Clare and Joan Plantaganet in 1290. The bells were recast by bounty of the people in 1539. During the Civil War in 1645 at the time of the Battle of Langport, Cromwell’s troopers destroyed the windows. Possibly because the troopers saw the Church as having military potential.
The Stonyn Door
This was brought from the ruins of the Norman Castle at Montacute as part of the repairs to the churchyard wall in 1518. It has texts in Latin which read ‘Let us go into the house of God rejoicing and Truly this is a holy place’.
Cross passage early C16th, 1 ½ storey build. Smoke bay. Jointed cruck. Originally cob, post and truss construction. Remains of rod and daub walling survive.
Front elevation rebuilt/re-fenestrated, walls and roof raised, mid 17th C – done in 2 stages, the left before the more symmetrical right. Plank and muntin partitions, framed ceiling. Possibly cheese loft at rear.
A Non Conformist Chapel was built onto the left side of the building in 1869.
A bit of an enigma; with mid C16th origins. The east end is either the remnant of a 3 unit house or was a 2 unit gable entry establishment. This was upgraded in the early C17th, raising the walls to provide 2 full storeys, re-fenestrating the South front and adding the cross passage and kitchen end. Ca. 1800 the north wing was added as a dairy/cheese room with a cheese loft over.
At one time this was part of the 33 acres in Tintinhull belonging to Exeter College, Oxford. Deeds exist to C14th
Possibly has similar origins to College Farm. Ham stone ashlar on a rubble plinth; stepped coped gables, originally thatched roof. Later slated and now clay tiled. Contains inglenook fireplaces (with 1602 date) , newel stairs, and heavily chamfered beams. Appears to be 3 unit, cross passage in plan, but may have originated as a 2 unit, gable entry house in the mid C16th. The rear, south wing, a service room, may have been integral at this time.Possibly upgraded C17th. with installation of the fireplaces during the Tudor Ice Age.
Prepared by D Robbins and E Lorch for SVBRG tour July 2004
Modified for TLHG web site October 2004 and 20 July 2022