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Naish Priory

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
La Aisshe; L'Aisshe; Naysshe; Naysshe Ferme; Nayssh; Nayshe; Nasshe; Naysh; Naysh Manor; Nash

In the civil parish of East Coker.
In the historic county of Somerset.
Modern Authority of Somerset.
1974 county of Somerset.
Medieval County of Somerset.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST53821386
Latitude 50.92236° Longitude -2.65826°

Naish Priory has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

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


Portions of a substantial house but never a priory. Circa 1400, with C19 and C20 additions. Local stone rubble with Ham stone dressings; stone slate and plain clay tile roofs between coped gables; stone chimney stacks, some octagonal with quatrefoil panel decoration. Three distinct medieval portions; the East wing a gatehouse with chapel over; the centre a minor single-storey link raised in C19; the West wing possibly the Guest House; no trace above ground of main Hall. North front now 2-storeys, with attic to West wing, no set bay pattern. The gatehouse has pointed C15 moulded arched doorway with label, the stops badly eroded; the doors a very fine pair of late C15, with 6-panel applied sub-arcuated tracery, and central arched wicket (matching pair from South side at Taunton Museum); above an angled oriel window of 1-2-1 cinquefoil cusped lights, with miniature battlements and C19 pinnacles over quatrefoil panel band, the underside being of 2 fan vaults, the bosses of which cut into door label; right at ground floor level a 2-cinquefoil cusped arched light window under a square label; corner offset buttresses. Central unit has 3 windows, two below and one above, near copies of this last but of C19, separated by a string course; the upper window set into simple gable with cross and urn finials. The West wing is taller, and could be an earlier building. At ground floor a 2-light window similar to those of centre wing, above off-centrer a singe cinquefoil cusped arched light under square label, above again a plain rectangular window, and to right of building two simple charfered narrow rectangular stairlights; corner angled offset buttresses, with plain rectangular window with trefoil head at first floor level. Southwards from West wing projects a 1910 wing (in June 1983 known as Priory Cottage and tenanted), smaller in scale but with design in harmony: next section of South elevation of C19 late, then projecting stair wing of circa 1820. The East gable has a 2-light mullioned and transomed window of very early C15 type, and is crowned by an apparantly C15 octagonal chimney. Along the North facade, about 1.5 metres from house, with returns each end, wrot iron railings, probably of C1820, about 500 metres high with collared gently spiked tops, set on rubble stone wall about 700 mm high. The interior much modified with work of many dates. In East wing, ground floor, the rear gateway arch and jambs are panelled, and the East room has a blocked 4-centred doorway in East wall and an inserted fireplace in North wall; the ceiling-roof of the chapel above considerably restored, also in South wall of this room, a squint window. The centre wing late C19 in character. The West wing has simple collar beam trusses, with straight principals having curved undersides, and curved windbraces. The house probably built between 1400 and 1410 by a member of the Courteney family, who had court and ecclesiastical connections, especially with Henry IV and Joan of Navarre, and are represented on corbel heads to the East gable windows. Tradition spears of a ruined portion (possibly the hall), and of fragments therefrom being used in West Coker Hall 1839-42. (Listed Building Report)

This was no priory but probably two parts of a high quality house whose hall and other domestic buildings have disappeared leving a small gatehouse with chapel above and, to the west, a second building, possibly a guest house. The two surviving buildings were joined together in the nineteenth century to make a single range, and much of the architectural detail may have been recovered from the demolished hall range. Such details suggest an origin in the early years of the fifteenth century. (Dunning 1995)

Included by Dunning in a gazetteer of 'fortified houses and moated sites' although no other castle studies author has described it as fortified. Presumably included because of the architectural importance and the surviving feature being a gatehouse. The does not seem to be any suggestion of a moat at the site. The house was the residence of the Courtenay family include William Courtenay Archbishop of Canterbury and Sir Peter Courtenay, who was a garter knight. It may well therefore have been dressed up with both with military symbolism such as battlements and with more overtly religious symbols, such as carved figures, the later leading to the mis-identifiaction of the house as a priory.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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