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-England’s Oldest Continually Occupied House 2003-08-28

Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities.

A manor house dating from before 1150 has been named as Britain's (sic) [actually, competition was restricted to England] oldest continually occupied house.

Saltford Manor House, in Saltford, near Bristol, took the title from a list drawn up for Country Life magazine. Writer Dr.John Goodall considered suggestions from readers and national experts before naming the property as his choice. Present owner James Wynn, who has lived in the house since 1997 with his wife Anna and their two daughters, said:

'I was not surprised to find that we were one of half a dozen, but I was surprised that they thought we were the oldest — surprised and pleased. It is an extraordinary thing'.

He said the original house was built in the Norman era and that the features still include a Norman window, a Norman archway, a Tudor fireplace and a 17th century kitchen. Mr.Wynn, 50, added:

'It makes me feel part of some extraordinary time line. You can see the history — that is why I love the place'.

To draw up the list, Dr.Goodall excluded certain categories of building. The principal royal palaces were ruled out, as were church and monastic buildings converted to domestic use, although some ecclesiastical residences were allowed.

To qualify, the property had to have physical evidence of its age incorporated within it, have always been a house, never fallen totally into ruin and currently be lived in as a house. He said many properties nominated by readers dated to the 13th and 14th centuries, but nothing built after about 1200 was seriously in competition for the prize — which excluded any Scottish, Welsh or Irish building.

Among the many buildings discussed in the article, special mention was made of Berkeley Castle, which Dr.Goodall said did not properly qualify as a house but had been occupied by the Berkeley family since the construction of the present keep in the 1150s.

Also disqualified but meriting special mention was the [Jesuit] Deanery at Durham, formerly the prior's lodging, adapted from a late 11th century monastic dormitory block.

Manor named oldest continually occupied house, Ananova 2003-08-27 We 12:30
TheGuardian On-line


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