Chilton Priory Priory Road, Chilton Polden, TA7 9AH

Sold @ Auction £1,010,000

Bedrooms 8 Bathrooms 5 Reception 4

  • NOVEMBER 2015


This is an imposing Grade II listed stone built Freehold country house built in the "grand country house" manner creating the appearance of a gothic castle fortress. Construction started in the early nineteenth century and since then the accommodation has been extended, at various periods, and has now evolved into approximately seven thousand square feet of living space. The accommodation is mainly arranged over two floors with further turret rooms in the main tower with a viewing deck at the top to provide panoramic views of the Somerset countryside including Glastonbury Tor and sweeping around to the Somerset levels and the Bristol Channel with the Welsh Hills in the background. Clearly the house contains a wealth of period features including ceiling cornices, a tower, a chapel, an ice house and a cloistered garden. In Addition there are sizable garages/ coach house and an historic green house. Set in approximately 15 acres of lawns, shrubberies and paddocks the property is approached by a sweeping driveway which leads to a very generous parking area with a wide terraced entrance to the house. Although in need of up grading this is truly an outstanding family in an idyllic rural setting.

*** SOLD BY AUCTION IN 2015 ***


Chilton Polden is an idylic rural Somerset Hamlet boasting many facilities including public house, church and playing field. Primary schooling is at Catcott with secondary at Crispin School together with Milfield School and Strode College in Street, approximately 7.5 miles distant whilst junction 23 of the M5 motorway is approximately 6 miles.

Glastonbury - 10 Miles
Bristol Airport - 25 Miles
Bristo -38 Mile
Wells - 15 Miles
Bath - 34 Mies
Taunton - 18 Miles


On the market for the first time since the 1980's and whilst having received a schedule of maintenance on the exterior of the property it does now require complete modernisation.

The property fulfils the aspirations of those seeking an "English Country Home" in a truly rural idyll with manageable family accommodation spread over two floors.

It could be ideal for commercial/institutional purpose (subject to obtaining any necessary consents)

Its picturesque setting is an ideal location for a Boutique style hotel or a wedding destination (subject to obtaining any necessary planning and other consents).


Please note that there is an additional cottage and 25 acres paddock for sale as Lots 33 and 34 in the same sale.


Basement Floor Priory = 13.26 sqm
(Below Tower)
Basement Floor Priory = 14 sqm
(Boiler House – reduced headroom)
Ground Floor Priory + Garages / workshop / store = 234.24 + 222.90 = 457.14 sqm
First Floor Priory = 194.75 sqm
Second Floor Priory = 13.26 sqm
Total Floor Area = 13.26 + 14 + 457.14 + 194.75 + 13.26 = 692.41 sqm
(7453 sqft)


Historical notes provided by our clients which we feel may be of interest to prospective buyers;


Although the buildings are collectively known as “Chilton Priory”, there is no historical evidence to suggest that it was ever a priory. However William Stradling, the original owner of the building, named it a “priory”. Why he had decided to name it as such is undocumented. What is known though is that at some time it was used in part as a museum and as a facility for the Masons Lodge to which Stradling belonged. Where the building known as the original priory is mentioned within this Report it will be referred to herein, in inverted parenthesis as the “Priory” The priory as it stands today comprises the original “priory” erected in 1838 and a later addition built around 1910 thus enlarging the priory to become a country house and private residence. Some time after the Second World War a series of outbuildings (garages, stores and workshops) were added to the East of the extended property. The erection of these buildings was in most probability phased starting in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s following through until sometime in the 1960’s. This resulted in the formation of a courtyard garden at the priory, which incorporates a stone walled Cloistered garden feature. The “priory” was originally a folly, designed and erected by William Stradling and a Mason by the name of John Bowden. Stradling, a local Antiquarian and relic collector had intended the “priory” to house his personal collection art and antiquities that he had found in and on neighboring land. His intention was to erect the “priory” using it in part as a private museum to exhibit his assortment of relics, such as ancient pottery, Roman coinage, and armour to the public. He also used it by what was known as the “Free and Accepted” masons lodge referred to by him as the ‘Lodge of Perpetual Friendship in his book “A Description of the Priory at Super Polden” Although not intended solely as a private residence, a craftsman by the name of William Halleday did occupy the “priory” for an unknown length of time.
Historical research shows that Stradling owned a Castle in South Wales for which he used as his ancestral home. He also documents being able to see this Castle from the priory tower on a clear day.


The “priory” consists a single storey wing attached to a three-storey tower. The wing comprises a Nave (small Chapel), Oratory and a small Southern Porch with bedrooms and a bathroom to the north. These bedrooms later changed use to a hall and cold store. The tower to the West was originally intended to be used as bedrooms but was later used as general storage rooms. Stradling had purposely designed the tower to be disproportionate in size to classical proportions in order to increase usable floor space internally. Stradling with the help of Bowden had acquired various materials from ecclesiastical buildings and large country properties. Designed in Gothic style architecture, the tower has diagonal corner buttresses with offsets, an elegant octagonal turreted staircase taken from the Church of Shepton Mallet. The two lower stone mullioned and transomed windows on the ground floor were taken from an old house belonging to a Church at Chedzoy On the second floor, single light windows with cusped heads, an iron casement to each, and a string below battlements with gargoyles. It is said that the three windows on this floor were made from part of the stone of the Castle on Enmore. Pinnacles from Langport Tower were also used as an architectural feature as well as a gable finial from the Church at Chedzoy. The three windows of the Nave, which are lancet windows with cusped heads, were formed of the fragments of those of the Chedzoy Slapeland Chapel.


Stradling had kept a figure clad in priestly robes, which he had found in the ruins of St. John’s Chapel Bridgwater, in a niche in the porch. It is supposed to have been part of the tomb of one of the family of De Brewers, but such figure cannot be found there now. The iron clad oak door, which still exists, formerly belonged to the Church of Stoke Courci and is dated Circa 1616. A holy water basin, referred to by Stradling has since been removed


In the eastern window there is great variety of ancient stained and painted glass as described below. In the upper compartment is a mutilated figure representing Eleanor, Queen of Edward the First. On the right side is a bust of Edward the Third and below it, a group taken from a chapel founded by Cardinal Wolsey, representing King Henry the Eighth, a Lady Abbess and a Monk. “The lower compartment once saw a Cherub, of the reign of Edward the Third. It is looking up to a mutilated figure of St. Michael the Archangel.”It appears that through damage, this panel has been replaced by plain glazing. “On the left is a fine bust of Saint James. Under it are the letters T.B. and a date of 1579, surrounded by a wreath of curious and rare ivy leaves. On one side are the letters R.W. for Richard Whiting, last Abbot of Glastonbury; and the other letter B. for Richard Bere, also an Abbot.” Italic quotes taken from Stradling’s book. The border round the lower compartments is formed of the broken glass taken from Glastonbury Abbey, at the destruction of that “venerable edifice”, (as Stradling describes it). There are a variety of shades of the rare pink and ruby glass in this window. Above the original fireplace is a sculpture of what is known as the “Magna Mater” a Portland Stone carving by Katherine Maltwood that depicts Mother Nature. This sculpture is of historical significance as it was her first major work and one that was commissioned by Elbert Hubbard, a notable figure in American Arts & Crafts Movement during the early 1900’s. It is believed that three of these sculptures were made, one retained at the “priory”, one at the Roycroft Institute in East Aurora, New York and a third original carving was taken to Canada during her time of emigration with her husband John Maltwood in 1938. This is now believed to be held at the Katherine Maltwood Museum known as the Thatch Museum.


The addition of a country house extension in approximately 1910 allowed the then current owners of the property (Major Francis Kennedy and Mrs. M. Jones) to convert the existing priory into a place of residence, retaining the existing “priory” to the rear or North as a public attraction. Designed as an imitation medieval church by the Architect Fredrick Bligh Bond in Tudor style architecture, the house has an unsymmetrical, irregular façade and floor plan. Externally, the house is built from coursed and square rubble, embattled parapets with a flat bitumised roof. A glazed single storey conservatory to the West wing has subsequently been demolished.


Located underneath the tower and accessible from the outside only, there is a small crypt where Stradling had kept various antiquities there found by Samuel Hasell in the ruins of the Villas of Littleton, Hurcot, Pitney. Subsequently, when a residence, this crypt was used as a coal store.
In addition to this, a second basement may also be found under the dining hall of the extension, now housing a central heating boiler.


The top room of the tower was once an observatory where Stradling had observed the coastal features of the Southwest, South Wales and across Bridgwater and Glastonbury. It is also documented that this observatory was used as a signaling point to a second sister tower a considerable distance away. It is also said that the observatory was a signalling point for communicating with other lodge members. The panoramic view that may be obtained from the tower top takes in one cathedral, thirty-five churches and chapels, Glastonbury Tor, Wellington Monument and the lighthouse at Bingham. During the period around 1925 it was the tower observatory where Katherine Maltwood drew inspiration for the Glastonbury Zodiac


Chronological Table of Priory Owner/Occupiers

Date Owner and/or Occupier Occupied As;

1836 - 1861 William Stradling “Chilton Priory”
1861 - 1889 Commander Robert Anstice Stradling “Roseville”
1889 - 1906 Mrs. Durston “Roseville”
1906 - 1910 Whiteside Kennedy “Chilton Priory”
1910 - 1919 Major Francis Kennedy “Chilton Priory”
1919 – 1938 John and Katherine Maltwood “Chilton Priory”
1939 - Unknown Leslie Somerville Abbot “Chilton Priory”
Unknown Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Palmer “Chilton Priory”
Unknown Mrs. H.N. Reynard “Chilton Priory”
Unknown Mr. Smith “Chilton Priory”
1980’s – To date Mr. John Nike “Chilton Priory”


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The seller's minimum acceptable price at auction and the figure below which the auctioneer cannot sell. The reserve price is not disclosed and remains confidential between the seller and the auctioneer. Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction.


Pre auction offers can be only submitted by completing the OFFER FORM which can be downloaded within the online legal pack. Please send the COMPLETED form to – olly@hollismorgan.co.uk Please note offers will not be considered until you have viewed the property and the COMPLETE legal pack has been released. In the event of an offer being accepted the property will only be removed from the auction and viewings stopped once contracts have successfully exchanged subject to the standard auction terms and payment of the buyers premium to Hollis Morgan.

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