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Gerbestone Manor

by Philip Shaddock
Thanks to Chris Tweed for finding this.

In the page I wrote about the Milverton Shattocks I talk about the wealth of Malachi Shattock (1752-1831), who died "without issue" and distributed his wealth to his siblings and their children. There is no better measure of his wealth than one of his properties,  Gerbestone Manorm and its extensive agricultural lands, consisting of 193 arable acres, 63 acres of meadow and pasture, 2 acres of woodland, 11 acres of homestead and acres, including in all likelihood, Gergestone Manor, which was virtually in ruins at this point. It also included 100 to 200 acres of Common Land at Gartnell.

What you see at left is an ad placed in a local paper advertising this very large property for rent as a farm. 

But it is Gerbestone Manor, presumably referenced as the "homestead," that is of special interest. 


The Manor, Gerbestone Lane, West Buckland

When Malachi Shattock rented the property in 1814, the house was largely in ruins, although it did have tenants living in part of the house. You can get an idea of the beautiful setting it stands in from this Google link. The surrounding area is idyllic farm and country.


Gerbestone Manor is now owned by a London investment banker who has turned the property into a corporate retreat and wedding venue. But early in the 20th century it was a much loved home for the Lloyd Fox family, who were members the Fox Brothers family that were the major employers in Wellington at Tonedale Mills, and eight other mills creating cloth from wool. The Lloyd and Griselda Fox family comprehensively restored the Manor beginning in 1924, employing the architect Hubert Lidbetter. Griselda Fox writes a wonderful story about the Manor in this article. She tells us of the state the farm was found in 1924 when they bought the farm, looking for a quiet, rural retreat where they could raise their family. The rural, agrarian past and its communities were already a long lost memory when she wrote the article in the early 20th century, which makes her accounts of life at the Manor that much more poignant. Worth the read.


The manor dates back to medieval times, 1235 AD. It has its own Wikipedia page:

Gerbestone Manor in West Buckland, Somerset, England was largely rebuilt in the late 16th century, although some fabric from the 13th century house remains. It is a Grade II listed building.

The house has been owned by a succession of families of local gentry and is now used as a wedding venue and for corporate events. The main two-storey chert stone building is accompanied by various outbuildings including barns and a mill.

The Gerbestone estate was created around 1235, when a local knight "Gerebert" was granted an exemption from paying taxes by Bishop Jocelin of Wells. In 1333 Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury granted a licence for the addition of an oratory. It then passed through a succession of owners and leaseholders until the 1580s.

The current building was largely constructed in the late 16th century including the use of chimneys for the first time. It was further enlarged, with the addition of wings to the house and additional staircases, in the 17th century when owned by the Wyndham family of Orchard Wyndham. In 1612 the owner was Thomas Frances, who married Suzanna, daughter of George Luttrell of Dunster Castle and later it was owned by John Ewell. Suzanna Francis's children married into the families of other local landowners including that of Francis Popham and supported both sides during the English Civil War. In 1693 the house was mortgaged by Nicholas Frauncies and then sold to Sir John Elwell whose descendents lived there until 1894 when it was bought by William Temlett Marke.

Further restoration was undertaken in the 1920s and 1930s by Hubert Lidbetter, for the Lloyd-Fox family who were the owners at the time, which included a new staircase and windows and the removal of all the plaster on walls and ceilings. During World War II the house was used to accommodate 30 evacuees.

In 2007 the house was bought by the investment banker, Spencer Weir, for £2,5 million.
The long barn was converted, with attached watermill, in 2014 and is now used as a wedding and events venue. The main house can sleep 24 guests.

The historical records from the manor are held by the South West Heritage Trust.



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