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Description: Little Fort
Date Listed: 25 January 1956
English Heritage Building ID: 270455
OS Grid Reference: ST1214725813
OS Grid Coordinates: 312147, 125813
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0250, -3.2540
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ST1225 MILVERTON CP ST MICHAEL'S HILL (East side)
11/244 The Fort
INCLUDES: LITTLE FORT, ST MICHAEL'S HILL
House, now divided. Late C16, C17 and refashioned in early C19. Red sandstone random rubble, quoins, coped verges, decorative ridge tiles, C20 brick stacks. It has a "U"-plan with a central range, gabled outer wings at right angles, gabled two and a half storey turrets in the angles and a gabled central porch to both the principal and rear elevations. To the west, is an attached two storey range that is aligned west-east. The main building is 2 storeys with attics and has 7 bays. The early C19 cruciform windows of varying sizes probably replacing late C17 windows when the house was refashioned in c.1835; several C17 windows remain. Some hood moulds are also C19 replacements. The angle turrets have windows set at different levels from others suggesting that they were originally stair towers. The central porch has a 4-centred arch opening with moulded jambs and hood mould. There is a diamond shaped tablet in gable of this bay with rose; the property came to William Rose in 1680. The west range is of two storeys with a single storey lean-to at the west end. It is considered to be earlier in date than the rest of the house. It has been largely refenestrated, although there is a late C16 timber window in the rear elevation. This elevation also contains a vertical joint with quoins suggesting that the range may have been built against an earlier structure. The roof is now covered with slate, but its pitch and relationship with a window in the C17 cross wing indicates that the roof was likely to have once been thatched.
Interior: extensively renovated early C19. The main house originally seems to have consisted of a central hall with service end and cross wings, stair turrets and rear corridor with porch. The present early C19 stair way has been inserted in an existing C17 room at rear. The left hand principal room retains a C17 fireplace and has C19 panelling. In the attic are two 4-centred arch doorways and a section of internal lead guttering. Both cross wings have plaster barrel vaults and the roof structure above consists of a collared A-frame with trenched purlins of C17 date. The west range has deep chamfered beams in the left hand room and a stone fireplace. At the north west corner of the range is a former stair tower. One of the first floor rooms, has a late C16 4-centred arch fireplace with roll mouldings and set within the wall above are three cartouches of decorative plasterwork. A plaster ceiling has been inserted below the A-frame collared truss roof.
HISTORY: The Fort has quite a complex history; sources indicate that its name is said to derive from a mid-C13 owner, William de la Forters. In c.1560 the house was inherited by the Lancaster family from Basingstoke, and it passed, by marriage, to a William Rose in 1680. The understanding based on documentary research and investigation of the fabric is this: the west range (now forming part of Little Fort) was probably built in the late C16 and represents part of a larger, relatively high status, two storey house on a west-east alignment. In the C17 the eastern end of this building appears to have been demolished and then replaced with the construction of a substantial building with a U-shaped plan form. The surviving two or three bays of the earlier building were subsequently incorporated into this house, possibly functioning as the service range. Stonework in the rear elevation of the west range may however provide evidence for an earlier building on the site.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: This building has a most interesting and complex history;and was probably the manor house of Milverton. It represents a good example of a multi-phase house with features surviving form all the main periods, and also from its early C19 refashioning which adds to the building's interest.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Vernacular Architecture Group Report (Vernacular Architecture Group)
Listing NGR: ST1215525813
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.