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Godlingston Manor

In the civil parish of Swanage.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: SZ01498021
Latitude 50.62171° Longitude -1.98037°

Godlingston Manor has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are major building remains.

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


An important medieval house, incorporating a circular tower, probably defensive in origin. Purbeck Stone walls. Purbeck Stone roof. Stone chimney stacks. According to the RCHM the tower is contemporary with the main part of the house, ie c1300, but from the junction of the 2 structures it appears to be of earlier origin, and may perhaps once have had a timber hall. The main house is of typical medieval form, with an entrance leading into a through-passage. West of this was the service block, with the tower leading off its west end. East of the passage is the hall, originally open to the roof, but floored over in the C17. East of the hall is the parlour/ solar block, roofed at right angles to the hall, but rebuilt after a fire in the C19. When the hall was floored over the rear wall was rebuilt and a staircase block built at the north end of the through passage. (Hutchins, however, states that in the C18 the rear doorway was still visible.) In the C18 a new kitchen wing was built to the rear (north) of the service block. The interior has been drastically remodelled, all the roofs being renewed, and retains few early features, although a C17 fireplace has recently been uncovered in the wall between the hall and the parlour. The tower has a blocked external door at the front, and arrow-loops in the 2 upper storeys. Its conical roof is covered with Purbeck Stone. On the main south front, the ground floor of the house has a doorway with a pointed trefoil arch, leading into the through- Passage. West of this, in the service block, is a 3-light stone mullioned window on the ground floor. On the upper floor, a dormer, with hipped roof, has a similar window. The hall has 2 stone mullioned windows, of 2 and 3-lights. Above these are 2 dormers, with hipped roofs, and stone mullioned windows. All these windows are of C17 date. The parlour has a 4-light stone mullioned window, with a similar 3-light window above it, all of C19 date. In the gable the head of an earlier medieval window has been re-set. The C18 kitchen wing is of 2-storeys and has some stone mullioned windows and some modern casements. (Listed Building Report)

At a very early period Godlingston became the property and seat of the family of Talbots, who afterwards owned it for several generations.
There are considerable remains of an old mansion still standing, the house is low and meanly built of rubble stone with scarcely any ornament, but it's antiquity gives it some interest.
Hutchins tells us there was anciently a chapel here, which in his time made part of it, but if such was the case it has been wholly destroyed (Hutchin).
Now known as Godlingston Manor. The front door may be 13th century and the main part of the southern wall, the back (north) is probably 14th century. The oldest part is probably the tower in the west and the latest part is a slight extension on the east which was added in the 17th century. No information was obtained upon the site of the chapel (F1 JR 09-AUG-52). (PastScape)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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