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Horton Court

Chipping Sodbury
Post Code : BS37 6QR
Telephone : 01179 372501
Admission Cost Admission Charge

Horton Court is a stone-built manor house set on the western Cotswold escarpment.

The house is owned by the National Trust and the main part, built in the early-16th century and remodelled in the late-19th and 20th centuries, is not open to the public.

However, two extremely unusual appendages to the house make a trip to this part of the country well worthwhile. Beside the house is a late-12th century stone hall and in the garden is an early-16th century loggia.

The builder of the Norman hall was Robert de Beaufeu, Rector of Horton and Prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral from 1150.

The single-storeyed hall is aisless with enriched Norman doorways and small round-arched windows on the north side (the windows on the south are later).

This remarkable building, with its 14th century arch-braced roof, may be the oldest rectory in Britain. It was used by the Rectors of Horton until the 1520s when William Knight, a chaplain to Henry VIII, and later Bishop of Bath and Wells, built the core of the present house at right angles to the older structure.

The maindoor way is decorated with Renaissance motifs which were becoming fashionable at court at that time.

More unusual is the garden loggia, constructed by William Knight to the south of the house (this feature is sometimes refered to as an ambulatory but this is a misnomer). Knight had studied law in Italy where such structures were used for outdoor dining but a garden loggia was surprisingly cosmopolitan for early-16th century Gloucestershire.

The building has six late-Gothic shaped arches under a roof of stone slates. Inside are four stucco busts of classical figures, such as Hannibal.

In the reign of Edward VI the Horton estate was secularised and the land was acquired by the Paston family from Norfolk who held the estate until the 19th century.

Following this time the property changed hands several times until it was given to the National Trust in 1946. Today Horton Hall is in the care of a tenant.

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House Features
Stone manor house, Norman Hall
Opening Times
2009: Closed for renovations.
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