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©  John Boothroyd ARPS

IoE Number: 483581
Location: POLYDOR HOUSE, 3 THE LIBERTY (north side)
  WELLS, MENDIP, SOMERSET
Photographer: John Boothroyd ARPS
Date Photographed: 04 May 2001
Date listed: 12 November 1953
Date of last amendment: 12 November 1953
Grade II*

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

WELLS ST5446 THE LIBERTY 662-1/6/299 (North side) 12/11/53 No.3 Polydor House GV II* Large detached house, formerly known as The Organist's House. C15 fragments, with C16, C17, C18 and C19 additions and alterations. Random rubble with Doulting stone dressings, partly rendered and colourwashed, Welsh slate gabled roofs, most gables coped, ashlar chimney stacks. PLAN: a C15 hall house subsequently much modified, now has large staircase hall with parlour to right; to the left a 3-bay full-height C17 extension of 3 bays, and to rear of main range in parallel a wide addition of C17 or earlier. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys with partial attic and cellar, 2 bays, and 2 storeys 5 bays. The first, unrendered section has a 3 light ovolo-mould timber-framed window to lower bay 1, and casement windows to lower bay 2; first floor has 12-pane and 9-pane sashes in moulded stone architraves, the attic 3-light chamfer-mullioned casement in chamfered surround without label, set in a lofty coped gable. The principal 5-bay front, rendered and colourwashed, is slightly higher, and has part-height buttresses with offsets to the right of bays 1 and 2; the remaining bays are set back slightly, lower bays 4 and 5 and the five first-floor windows are 12-pane sashes in plain openings, lower bay 1 has a 4-light chamfer mullioned and transomd window with square label, and bay 3 has a blocked 2-light mullioned window. Entrance in bay 2, with a 6-panel door in heavy beaded architrave with fine shell hood over frieze and ornamental brackets. A number of timber windows in the rear elevation, and one C16 window with hollow-chamfered mouldings and label, with traces of a trefoil-headed window with incised spandrels. INTERIOR: the main door, on early hinges, opens direct to the large entrance hall which embraces the former service rooms to the left, and has, to the right of the doorway, an open-well early C18 stair, probably from the 1719 alterations; it has quarter landings, 3 turned balusters to each tread with scrolled ends to the open string, fluted newels, and a swept handrail. The ceiling has a cable-mould cornice. In the rear wall is a lofty 2-light stone casement with transom and cusped lights, part of the earliest fabric. To the right the parlour has a 4-compartment ceiling, the beams having later added plaster mouldings. There is a 4-centred stone doorway giving to the basement. To the left the C16 extension has a spiral staircase in the NW corner. This section is reported as having an arch-braced collar roof with 3 purlins and chamfered wind-bracing, with a pair of carved corbels with angels holding shields. The rear range includes a spiral stair through full height, and a 2-light early leaded wood casement in a very thick wall. This range has a ground-floor room with C17 panelling, and a heavy cornice to a plastered ceiling with fielded panels; the fire surround has an eared architrave. HISTORICAL NOTE: the house has had a very varied history. The name derives from the C16 Humanist Dean, Polydore Vergil, but he is not known to have lived in this house. The site is first recorded as being occupied in 1317; the new occupant in 1719, Dr Hunt, was given permission to '... make such alterations in repairing the house as he might think fit...', and this date would seem appropriate to the main staircase. In 1866, the Organist's old house being ruinous, he took over No.3, and thereafter it was long known as 'Organist's House'; since 1966 it has been leased to the Cathedral School. Sketch plan and drawings in VAG report. (Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-: 21-27; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 328; Williams Cmdr: Vernacular Architecture Group Report: 1978-).

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