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Wanswell Court

In the civil parish of Hamfallow.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO69030115
Latitude 51.70728° Longitude -2.44917°

Wanswell Court has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The moat at Wanswell Court survives in a relatively undisturbed condition, despite the presence of later buildings. Buried deposits on the island will include the remains of medieval structures, and will contain archaeological information relating to the the construction and subsequent occupation and use of the moated site. The fishpond also survives well. Fishponds were of considerable importance during the medieval period as they provided a good source of protein during the winter months when fresh meat was unavailable. They are usually associated with manorial, monastic or royal residences and provide a good indication of the status of its builders. The fishpond to the north of the moat will therefore provide important information about the status and economy of the moated site. Within the moat and fishpond, waterlogged deposits are expected to have preserved archaeological remains relating to the occupation and use of the site, along with organic material which will provide information about the economy of the site and the local environment during the medieval period. The proximity of the moated site to Berkeley Castle and the likely continuity of occupation at the site place it at the forefront of research into medieval settlement and occupation in Gloucestershire.
The monument includes a moat and fishpond, within two areas of protection sited on a gentle south facing slope 2.2kms north of the castle at Berkeley. It comprises a sub-rectangular moat of unusually large size enclosing a late medieval manor house, with a large fishpond immediately to the north. The moat is 74m wide at its widest point in the south west corner, and 9m at its narrowest, measuring between 1.5m and 2m in depth. The moat surrounds an island measuring 106m north-south and 56m east-west. At the southern end of the moated site there is evidence for an external bank rising about 0.5m above the land to the south, along with some revetting of the southern side of the moat consisting of stone blocks. The fishpond to the north of the moated site is roughly triangular, measuring 140m north-south with a maximum width of 42m and a depth of between 2m and 3m. The moat was created by damming a stream flowing from Holywell Spring immediately to the north of the site. The stream flowed into the moat through its north west corner, and the western arm is exceptionally wide, and is thought possibly to have been used as an additional fishpond. The unusual shape of the moat was devised in order to take advantage of the topography of the area, as the southern arm was created by the construction of a long bank or dam which holds the water in a natural depression. The northern and eastern arms of the moat are, by comparison, relatively narrow. At present there are two causeways, one each across the western and eastern arms of the moat, with stone bridges set opposite each other immediately to the south of the present house. The large area in front of the house would have contained ranges of lodgings, stables and service buildings, for which there is no visible evidence above ground, although they are expected to survive as buried features. A house is believed to have stood on the island from before 1256, when a licence was granted for a chapel to be erected at Wanswell. The core of the existing manor house,which is a Listed Building Grade I, and which stands at the northern end of the island, is a hall house of around 1450-1460 with additions of early 16th and early 17th century date. (Scheduling Report)

Large detached house/farmhouse. Core a hall house of c1450-60, with additions to north east of early C16 and to west of early C17. Core partly rubble stone, partly coursed and dressed stone, C17 wing faced in roughcast with long and short flush quoins. Cotswold stone slate roof except for range to north of hall which has a slate roof, scattered stone stacks. Original range has small projecting gable to left with canted bay window on ground floor, double chamfered pointed stone archway with studded plank and batten door with decorative strap hinges, two 2-light stone mullion and transom windows, one with trefoil heads, the other lower and with cinquefoil heads, and large lateral stack between. Canted bay marks small panelled room, rest forms the open hall, 25' x 22' with 3 bay collar and tie beam roof and 3 tiers of wind bracing. West end has arched entrance to former screens passage, and to right 4-centred stone arch to stone spiral stair. Cinquefoiled window at east end marks high table end and has staggered stone window seat and embattled wall plate on wall behind possibly indicating presence of former gallery above the parlour in bay behind this wall. Parlour has 4-light cinquefoil-head stone mullion window with king mullion and moulded stone square hoodmould. Window projects slightly and in depth of wall to either side are 2 squint holes. Moulded beams in parlour. Room to north east has crossing elaborately moulded beams and original stone fireplace. C17 wing has 2 cross gables to west, all gables coped and with stone finials. 2 windows, 4-light ovolo moulded wood mullion and transom windows, leaded, on ground and first floor, and 2 or 3-light wood mullions in attic, all with flush quoins. Additional 2-light window in centre lighting wood newel stair within. 2 small C20 lean-tos on west wall at ground floor level; both with stone slate roofs. Porch originally stood in front of main entrance to hall, removed but possibly not originally part of hall as hoodmould to adjacent window was partially removed to accommodate porch wall. (Listed Building Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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