Medieval manor emerges from the earth

A medieval mystery of gigantic proportions has been uncovered by archaeologists – at a Somerset housing development.

For the foundations of a massive early manor house are emerging from the rich red soil at Bloor Homes’ site at Longforth Farm, Wellington. Experts had no idea it was there, and who its owners were, why they chose this sometimes waterlogged site, and why they left 600 years ago are still a mystery.

Just as tantalizing is the question of how the house came to be so completely stripped of virtually every piece of fine fabric. However much deserted buildings have been “robbed” of material in the past some sign of fine carving or dressed stone usually remains, even if in fragmentary form. Here only the tough knobbly local churt stone that built the foundations and lower walls remains. Read more.


Underhill (architect’s residence)
Holme, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England, UK; 1974

Arthur Quarmby
(photographs by Trevor Jones)

«The layout of the house has much in common with the medieval manor house. There is a large communal central space with four wings that contains private rooms. Bedrooms have slot windows so that it is possible to lie in bed and enjoy the view. The kitchen has a periscope supervising the main entrance which is tunnel-like with a circular sliding door. (…) The excavated material from the site was used for backfilling and bankings which are supported by reinforced concrete retaining walls around the house. The whole was then covered with turf and is now used by a small flock of sheep which not only save the labour of mowing but also fatten themselves nicely during the summer.»

see map

via “Concrete Quarterly, 116” (Spring, 1978)