ABBOTS SHARPHAM, GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET, BA16 9SA
A splendid, medieval manor house and grounds with a rich history and a quiet, peaceful setting in beautiful countryside with views to Glastonbury Tor.
Abbots Sharpham encompasses a large house with extensive accommodation, a self-contained wing, beautiful, well landscaped gardens, a tennis court, indoor swimming pool, original coach house and stables (with planning consent) and outbuildings.
The land totals about 20 acres including a deer park, meadows and woodland.
Also available are 2 cottages, farm buildings and up to 245 acres of organic arable and pastureland.
The property stands in beautiful countryside, a few miles beyond Street and Glastonbury, approached from a small country lane with no through traffic. A drive leads past the deer park to the house which stands in landscaped grounds with splendid views across open countryside directly to Glastonbury Tor.
Abbots Sharpham, is a handsome and historically significant property, Grade II* listed with a unique stepped- down design and a range of distinctive features. Demonstrating its evolution over the centuries, it is a blend of blue lias and Doulting stonework under terracotta pantile roofs of varying pitch with coped verges.
Internally there are many architectural details from the various historic periods. These include extensive flagstone flooring, oak, elm and old pine timberwork, plank and muntin screens, diamond paned lights, stone mullioned windows, splendid fireplaces and impressive carved armorial freestone panels bearing heraldic devices. These include the Prince of Wales three feathers, the “cruet” emblem of Richard Bere, the portcullis (Tudor) and the Harlequin, as well as one of the few remaining coats of arms of Glastonbury.
These characteristics create a wonderfully romantic home and they have been complimented by practical works over the last 30 years or so. These have included re-roofing, much re-wiring and a complete upgrading of electrical wiring with full current certification. Maintenance of drainage to compliance standard. The installation of new boilers and underfloor heating in part, plus fully sensored external lighting and a cctv system.
The principal entrance to the house is by a substantial oak door with elaborate scrolled medieval hinges beneath a slab hood. There are six reception rooms, an orangery, a farmhouse kitchen, domestic offices, an estate office, 8 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.
The entrance hall has a staircase with a fine balustrade and double doors opening into a music room with an open stone fireplace, elm floorboards, a store cupboard, coving, and stone steps flanked by two pillars into the library. This is a quiet peaceful room with diamond paned windows, oak bookshelves, a concealed cupboard, a secret door and a massive stone fireplace and a cloakroom.
The secret door leads into the estate office which high speed internet and monitors for the CCTV network. Approached from this room is another outside door and a workshop and boot room plus a side door to the gardens.
Returning to the library, a door leads to the drawing room with flagstones, fireplace, 16th C oak beams, a wine cupboard and stone mullioned, diamond paned windows with two opening to a terrace.
Leading from the drawing room is a sitting room used mainly as a study with doors to both the entrance hall and the kitchen.
Leading south from the Drawing room, a timber archway flanked by alcoves opens to a hallway with an outer porch and garden door, flagstones and 17th and 18th century panel screens to the great hall. This stunning room has a high vaulted, oak arch braced ceiling, heraldic shields, stone flooring with underfloor heating, a minstrel’s gallery leading to a small personal solar with vaulted ceiling. There are stone mullioned diamond paned windows and a massive chimney breast above an inglenook fireplace which is flanked by a staircase with a door off a half landing to a balcony in the orangery.
The kitchen has fitted cupboards, carefully constructed from a 19th century pine chemist shop with marble and mahogany worktops with inset double sink unit and gas hob with a converted electric Aga. These are all set around the large central table in the farmhouse style. A hidden door in the panelling allowing direct access to the great hall.
Leading off the kitchen is a utility room with adjacent laundry and a rear lobby (which can link into the Long Hall).
A double story height oak structure with large diamond double glazing, sandstone flooring, underfloor heating and an automatic watering system. It faces southwest with folding doors to a terrace.
A staircase with Tudor balustrading rises from the entrance hall to a landing on the first floor.
The first bedroom faces east with views to the Tor and has an en-suite shower room.
A passage and steps lead to a second bedroom which has views east and west and a panelled en-suite shower room.
The landing continues to the main bedroom, (purported to be the birthplace of Henry Fielding) which is panelled with a fireplace, dressing room, a deep wardrobe, and an en-suite bathroom.
The staircase from the great hall leads to a landing with a bedroom with space for a double bed and a built-in bunk bed perfect for a child. This room also has a shower room.
The landing continues and serves two other bedrooms and a bathroom and continues through to the main staircase from the hall.
There are two large bedrooms on the second floor.
The Long Hall
This is an east wing, with a separate oak entrance door and links through internally to the rear lobby of the main house. It provides additional accommodation the house and can be used as a self-contained apartment if required. It includes -
The hall - another large and splendid room with a stone fireplace, plank and muntin screen, a high vaulted ceiling with beams and a splendid galleried bedroom with steps to a small window, perfect for viewing the Tor. There’s also a kitchen and a shower room and the wing has underfloor heating.
Gardens and grounds
The entrance drive leads over a private stone bridge into the property between the deer park and a meadow, along a 150m tree lined drive to tall stone pillars and shortly beyond onto the gravelled driveway to the house. This driveway forks to the stables and continues to
the rear, with stone garage and potting shed. The front garden being lawned with shrubs and a splendid cedar of Lebanon and weeping willow.
Abbots Sharpham has magnificent gardens on the western side of the house. Immediately approached from the house is a wide terraced area with a wisteria clad pergola and lawns together with
a stone grotto with dipping tank and Lion’s Head feeding a shallow rill.
Close by is a wildflower garden with false acacia trees leading to the staddle-stone terrace with a Mulberry tree and an extensive herbaceous border.
In front of the dovecote is a box hedge parterre, playing card garden, (look for the joker) and the area sheltered by high stone walls with espaliered cherry trees. Continuing in the garden are a small croquet lawn, the sunken garden and a rose clad pergola. This part of the garden is in the shelter of a stone building and verandas which makes an idyllic retreat.
The 17th century ‘six eye waggon house’ includes a pizza area and kitchen, shower room and loo and a large indoor swimming pool. The pool is heated by an oil boiler and a heat exchanger.
The pool is a great place to relax after tennis. The all-weather court being on the south side of the house overlooked by the terrace and orangery.
Beyond the pleasure gardens is an exceptional organic vegetable garden with extensive raised beds for vegetables and fruit and a greenhouse with heating and watering systems. Beyond the vegetable garden is a walnut orchard paddock with a field shelter.
The land with the house includes just under 20 acres being mainly permanent pasture with English hardwood trees and includes the oak paling and estate fenced deer park and other meadows.
Also available are up to 245 acres of organic arable and pastureland.
About the area
Abbots Sharpham stands in beautiful countryside, a few miles beyond Street and Glastonbury, approached from a small country lane with no through traffic. A drive leads past the deer park to the house which stands in landscaped grounds with splendid views across open countryside directly to Glastonbury Tor.
Glastonbury has been a religious centre throughout history and back into the times of legends. The Celtic monastery evolved into one of England’s wealthiest and most influential abbeys and the town grew up alongside it. Today it’s a small but thriving town and a major tourist venue, welcoming thousands of visitors each year. Medieval Glastonbury - designated a conservation area - clusters around the evocative ruins of the Abbey.
Five miles from Glastonbury is Wells which is the smallest city in England (population 10,000). Its centre is the marketplace (local markets twice a week) surrounded by medieval buildings including the Cathedral and moated Bishops Palace.
Immediately to the south of Glastonbury is Street (2 miles), a small town with Roman origins, a Quaker history linked to the Clark family of shoemakers and now the home of Millfield School.
Within an easy drive of Glastonbury is the small but well-known town of Bruton, known for its verdant countryside, the Hauser & Wirth arts centre (hosting modern art exhibitions), the Newt with its splendid country house hotel and magnificent gardens and of course the superb restaurants and varied high street shops.
There are other excellent private and state schools including Wells Cathedral School, Downside, All Hallows and the Bruton and Taunton schools.
Rail: About 12 miles southeast is Castle Cary station with a main rail line to London.
Air: About 24 miles north is Bristol International airport.
Car: About 11 miles east is the M5 and miles east is the A303 to London (a 2-hour drive).
Abbots Sharpham is an historic park near Glastonbury dating back to the Bronze Age. The first known reference to Sharpham (Scryphamme) is a grant by King Edwig to
the Thegn (lord or squire) Aethelwold in 957. Sharpham then passed in and out of the hands of the Abbots of Glastonbury for the next 275 years. In 1191 King John bequeathed the park to the Abbots of Glastonbury by placing his bejewelled gauntlet upon the Abbey altar. In 1330 Abbot Walter de Monington enclosed Sharpham as a deer park with an oak and chestnut paling fence of some 4 miles circumference. The park would also have had a rich variety of farming and husbandry with tenants keeping cattle and sheep, whilst the monks would have had fishponds, farmed rabbits, hawked and produced a variety of crops which would no doubt, have included spelt, providing food for the guests of the Abbot of Glastonbury’s table.
In 1512 Abbot Bere, the Papal legate of Henry Tudor (V11) built a magnificent manor on the site of ‘but a poor lodge’. Later, Sharpham became the favoured manor of Abbot Richard Whiting. In 1539 Henry V111’s commissioners went to Sharpham and arraigned the Abbot in the kitchen – now the drawing room. From there they took him to be tried for treason and he was then hung, drawn and quartered upon Glastonbury Tor.
Sharpham was granted to Sir Edward Seymour, the 1st Duke of Somerset, who became Lord Protector to Henry VIII’s son, the “boy” King who became Edward V1th. Sir Edward Dyer, the poet and courtier to Elizabeth 1st was born here in 1541. For a hundred years the ownership of the estate was disputed with Sir John Thynne of Longleat, who had been a private secretary to Sir Edward Seymour.
By the mid 1600s the estate was held by the Gould family and in 1707 Henry Fielding was born to Lt. Col.Fielding.
He was the author of the satirical novel Tom Jones, and later, founder of the Bow Street Runners.
In 1701 Davidge Gould rebuilt the stable block and carried out other substantial works and added the weathervane on the house (1733). There were no male heirs, and a daughter married the Earl
of Cavan who in the early 1800s let the property partly to the Laver family (one of the largest cattle dealers in the west country in the nineteenth century) and partly to Thomas Hawkins, the renowned geologist and palaeontologist. His collection, including the much debated, ichthyosaurus, was sold to the Natural History Museum for £3,000 in 1834.
The property was let to tenant farmers for many years and was regarded as one of the finest farms in Somerset in the 1880’s employing 26 men and 7 boys. It was bought by Roger Saul, the founder of Mulberry, and his wife Monty in 1977,
Freehold with vacant possession. Grade II* listed.
Mains water and electricity. Private drainage.
There’s a right of way over the section of the drive leading to the entrance drive
Local Authority- Somerset Council www.somerset.gov.uk
House EPC Band E
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