Description: Court Farmhouse
Date Listed: 13 December 1985
English Heritage Building ID: 32694
OS Grid Reference: ST6630962724
OS Grid Coordinates: 366309, 162724
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3626, -2.4853
15-DEC-85 COURT FARMHOUSE
Farmhouse. The house dates from the early C19 with additions of the mid-C19 and second half of the C20.
MATERIALS: It is constructed of coursed stone rubble with dressings and quoins of Bath stone under a slate roof with raised, coped verges and stones stacks to the gable ends. There are further stacks to the service wing.
PLAN: Originally L-shaped on plan with a single-depth range running north-east/ south-west and a large range at right angles. To this, a dairy wing was added to the rear in the mid-C19. To the rear there are three-storey and split-level additions which date from the second half of the C20, including an addition over the former dairy; these are not of special interest.
EXTERIOR: The house is of two storeys and attics, with large, dressed quoins. The principal (south-east) elevation has symmetrical proportions and its masonry is laid in alternate courses of narrow and wide blocks. There is a large central porch on square columns of concrete blocks which was added in the C20, in front of a part-glazed six-panel door. The doorway is flanked by sash windows to the ground floor and there are three first-floor windows, all six-pane sashes and set in surrounds of Bath stone. The north-east return comprises a large rear range which has mostly segmental-headed windows with three-light casements. An area of coursed ashlar, probably re-used from an earlier building, marks the position of the stack to the central part of this range. To the rear is a late-C19 lean-to of one-and-a-half storeys, a C20 three-storey addition to the left and further additions beyond and to the north-west. These are built partly into the hillside and also over the former dairy wing; all have uPVC windows.
INTERIOR: The farmhouse retains much of its original arrangement of rooms. In the entrance hall, the staircase with its plain stick balusters and simple, turned newel posts survives. The reception rooms retain C19 joinery including six-panelled doors, architrave, and some window shutters. The large, rear range, which was probably a service wing, has to ground-floor rooms, one is now a kitchen, the other retains a large open-fireplace with stone surround and a re-used, early-C17 chamfered beam There is further early-C19 joinery to the first floor, as well as several original fireplaces with timber surrounds. The attic rooms have exposed collared trusses with staggered purlins.
HISTORY: Court Farm is believed to have originally formed part of the Hunstrete Estate, a large 3000 acre estate which came into the possession of the Popham family in the early C17. In a survey of 1759 the land which now comprises Court Farm was held by Henry Court. The farmhouse stands to the south-west of its associated farm buildings which are situated on lower ground and date principally from the early and mid-C19. Documentary and map sources indicate that there has been a house on the site since at least the mid-C18 but the position of this earlier building does not appear to correspond with the location of the current house which is first depicted on a map of circa 1825. An analysis of the fabric of the building indicates that it principally dates from the early C19. There is evidence for earlier fabric within the house including an early-C17 chamfered ceiling beam, but it seems likely that such materials have been re-used from an earlier building.
By 1861 Court Farm (Vale Court Farm as it was then known) was occupied by Joseph Harding (1805-76). In the mid-C19, prior to his move to Court Farm, Harding had been responsible for modernising the manufacturing process of Cheddar cheese and for introducing higher standards of dairy hygiene; he promoted his system all over the country. Harding instigated a series of improvements at the farm, probably to expand the dairy business, including the introduction of mechanisation and the construction of additional cow houses.
SOURCES: TH Architect, Historic Analysis and Justification, Court Farm, Marksbury, Bath (2009)
Kirsten Elliot, Farm Outbuildings, Court Farm, Marksbury. An Historical Survey (2009)
Gourmet Britain, Joseph Harding, http://www.gourmetbritain.com/encyclo_entry.php?item=2391 Accessed on 14 July 2010
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Court Farmhouse is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: a house of the early C19 where, despite the modern additions to the rear which are not of interest, much of the original plan and fabric survives, incorporating some earlier re-used materials
* Historic interest: techniques used in its construction provide evidence of local building traditions
* Interior: good survival of historic joinery and other features
* Historic association: as the home of Joseph Harding who was responsible for revolutionising Cheddar cheese manufacturing in the C19
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.