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Potterne manor of the bishop of Salisbury

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Poterne; Courthill; Great Orchard

In the civil parish of Potterne.
In the historic county of Wiltshire.
Modern Authority of Wiltshire.
1974 county of Wiltshire.
Medieval County of Wiltshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST99325845
Latitude 51.32527° Longitude -2.01118°

Potterne manor of the bishop of Salisbury has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


Probable site of the Bishops' of Salisbury Manor House at Potterne which is known from documents to have been occupied in 1297, was uncovered during an exploratory excavation which revealed the much robbed foundation of possibly the chapel or barn mentioned in medieval documents see illustration. The impression given is of the debris of a collapsed stone-tiled roof and trench for large cut-stone foundations. Possible flooring in the form of a 2ins thick layer of chalk overlay the uncovered area. Two probable post and holes could have been for supports of a lean-to extension.
Finds were not stratified in the much disturbed ground but included encaustic floor-tile fragments, roof-tile (some possibly 13th/14th century), nails, door studs, ox shoe and animal bones. Domestic pottery was dated 13th/14th century and 16th/18th century. No indication of building on air photographs. (PastScape)

The bishops of Salisbury also had a deer park on their manor at Potterne. This lay to the south east of the village, around the modern Potterne Park Farm. The moat at SU 0102 5742, just north east of the farm, was probably formerly occupied by the park keeper's lodge. (Payne 2003)

A 17th-century survey provides an indication of the size and scale of the old episcopal manor house, which must also reflect its general character during the late medieval period. This description (see McGlashan and Sandell 1974, 89), dated 1649, states that the manor house was:
built with free stone thoroughly tiled containing seven rooms belowe the stairs, i.e. one hall and kitchen, one parlour, one larder, one milke house and pantry house and one cellar, and seven rooms above ye stairs i.e. one faire chamber over the hall, another faire chamber over the parlour and over the kitchens and other chambers with it and two chambers more in the new buildings.
There was also:
a large house or building well walled and well covered with stone for the most part of it . . . which contayneth in breadth about 25 foote and in length about 80 foote which is called ye chappell now fitte for a barne. And one faire barn containing 8 baies or rooms of building built with free stone with timbers covered with tyle. Wanting some reparation in the coverings. And one orchard well stored with fruit trees containing by estimation one acre . . . the backside and yards about the same house containing about 2 acres. (Payne 2002)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1337 Aug 30 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1377 July 20.


Geophysical survey, by N. Payne, in 2001 located the manor in a field known as Great Orchard next to Courthill House.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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