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©  John Boothroyd ARPS

IoE Number: 483593
Location: PLUMPTRE WITH FRONT BOUNDARY WALL, 21 THE LIBERTY (east side)
  WELLS, MENDIP, SOMERSET
Photographer: John Boothroyd ARPS
Date Photographed: 19 February 2003
Date listed: 12 November 1953
Date of last amendment: 12 November 1953
Grade II

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WELLS ST5446 THE LIBERTY 662-1/6/310 (East side) 12/11/53 No.21 Plumptre, with front boundary wall GV II Canonical house, now part of Wells Cathedral School. Probably 1737, for Dr Francis White, porch and detailing to front of early C19. Rendered with ashlar dressings, Welsh slate roof between coped gables, ashlar chimney stacks. PLAN: symmetrical double-depth plan with central hall through to staircase at rear. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys with attics, 5 bays. Plinth, rusticated quoins, eaves cornice with secret gutter. Twelve-pane sashes in moulded architraves, with flat hoods to ground-floor windows. Entrance in bay 3, with a flat-roofed open stone porch with paired neo-classical pilasters carrying an entablature with cornice, on 2 steps, over a 6-panelled door in architrave. Hipped slated-roofed dormers with 9-pane sashes. The rear has, at centre, a large 30-pane arched sash, with thick early glazing bars. INTERIOR: a splendid open-well staircase has 3 balusters to each tread, the central one twisted, scrolled carved tread-ends, and painted dado panelling. The large arched window has panelled reveals. The ground floor left room has a niche with elliptical head, and multi-facetted cornice; the room to the right has tall fielded panels above a dado, and a wide elliptical arched opening with keystone. In a back room is one Gothick window, and the kitchen has a large fitted painted dresser. The upper floors not inspected. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: extending from the south-west corner of house to front, then northwards along front boundary, a stone boundary wall in random rubble with ashlar pitched copings, averaging approx 1.1m high, having gateway opposite entrance door with plain square pilasters, adding to setting of house and the important streetscape. HISTORICAL NOTE: there are various references to C15 tenancies on the site, and to a new house of c1470. On 4 January 1737 the Dean and Chapter considered '... a plan modell (sic) or draught of a design for new building or repairing the canonical house now ... in possession of Dr. White...', and although there is no direct evidence that this was carried out, the detail of the current fabric would tend to confirm that as likely. After a brief period as Dean Edward's residence from 1963, the house was leased to the Cathedral School in 1966. (Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-: 76; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 327).

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