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The Chantry House The Dower House, Brympton

Description: The Chantry House The Dower House

Grade: I
Date Listed: 19 April 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 263466

OS Grid Reference: ST5194115398
OS Grid Coordinates: 351941, 115398
Latitude/Longitude: 50.9360, -2.6853

Location: Brympton Avenue, Brympton, Somerset BA22 8TD

Locality: Brympton
Local Authority: South Somerset District Council
County: Somerset
Country: England
Postcode: BA22 8TD

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Listing Text

10/16 The Chantry House or The Dower
By tradition a chantry priests' house, but probably a dower house for Dame Joan Sydenham, now used as museum. Mid C15,
modified early C17. Ham stone ashlar; stone slate roof between coped gables with gabletted finials; stone chimney
stacks. Two storeys; south elevation to churchyard 6 bays. Above, cinquefoil-cusped 2-light windows in hollow-chamfer
recesses with flat arches and square labels bays 1, 3 and 4, bay 2 blocked, the cusps shaved off bay 4; to bay 5 a 4-
centre arched single-light with label, and to bay 6 a 2-light window with uncusped pointed arches and incised spandrils
under flat head, these two last also with labels; below, near-triangular arched moulded doorways bay 1 and between bays
5/6; to bays 2, 4 and 6, and two to bay 3, are 2-light semi-circular-arched light windows under flat heads and labels,
with matching single-light bay 5: to bay 2 and between bays 5/6 formerly were garderobes. West gable has similar
semi-circular arched light window below, with label, and above a deep 2-light cinquefoil cusped window with plain
transome, under square label. North elevation of 6 bays: bay 1 has blocked 2-light window below, blank above, with
chimney stack with offsets and pair of octagonal stacks with moulded caps; to left of bay 2, and to bays 3, 4 and 5 are
2-light mullioned and transomed windows with pointed arched lights, incised spandrils and square labels, all at upper
level, one similar window without transome lower bay 5: to right of bay 2 an octagonal plan stair turret with small
doorway in north face, cinquefoil cusped light in north-east face, and above a string 3 pairs of lights with square
labels to north-east, north and north-west faces, surmounted by battlemented parapet; to lower bay 2 left a moulded
pointed-arched doorway without label, and to lower bays 3/4 and 6 are moulded near-triangular arched doorways, the
latter rather wide. North elevation has a segmental- pointed archway with pair of boarded gates below, and above two
2-light mullioned and transomed windows under labels. Inside, the west half was formerly the first floor hall with
services below, now one space with gallery around following a 1923 restoration and reshaping; open framed ceiling of 5
bays, collar-trusses with 2 tiers purlins and 2 rows cusped windbracing; gallery has fragments, including balusters, of
C17 work; at upper level a wide cambered-arched fireplace in south wall, and nearby a triangular arched doorway to
former garderobe. The eastern half appears to have had a solar and a principal bedroom on first floor, reached by the
stone newel stair in the north turret, the only former access to first floor, with servants rooms below; here are
4-bays of a different roof type, with some kingpost and curved braced trusses, with 3 tiers arched windbraces, one
inverted; above are 2 timber-framed wattle and daub partitions with original doorways and also small sections of plink
and muntin partitions: in centre rood on display a fine C14 door - origin uncertain: east rood to first floor has a
decorative plaster ceiling of c1625, with central pendant and frieze; an almost flat-arched moulded fireplace of c1520,
with overmantel of 4 quatrefoil panels. An unconventional layout for the period, but which is explained by its concept
as a dower house, for which purpose it was refurbished c1625; by the early C18 it was used as stabling; currently it
serves as a museum, with emphasis on cider-making. (Pevsner, N, Buildings of England, South and West Somerset, 1958;
Country Life, 26 November 1898, 30th November, 1907, and articles by Christopher Hussey 7 and 14th May 1927).

Listing NGR: ST5194215397

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.