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©  John Boothroyd ARPS

IoE Number: 483594
Location: 23 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*

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 662-1/6/311 (East side) 12/11/53 No.23 GV II* Detached house, now part of Wells Cathedral School. Built for William Parfitt, Chapter Clerk, 1819. Doulting stone ashlar, hipped Welsh slate roof behind parapet, ashlar chimney stacks. Neo Classical style. A symmetrical double-depth plan with central hall and lateral staircase to the left, with a bold central porch. EXTERIOR: 3 storeys, 3 bays, the centre bay brought forward slightly. Plinth with ground and first-floor sill strings, cornice between first and second floors, pilasters to cornices and between bays, panelled at second floor level, attic storey and parapet. Ground floor has large 15-pane sashes with architrave and hood moulds, the first floor has smaller 12-pane in plain reveals, and the second floor has 6-pane casement windows, that to bay 2 altered. The enclosed porch, on 5 steps with end plinths, has a pair of narrow panelled doors under a plain transom-light, with thin architrave and moulded cornice, between flat pilasters in antis, and panelled end pilasters, carrying an entablature with slightly pedimented centre blocking; the returns have 8-pane sashes. To the N is a projecting flat-roofed section containing the staircase. INTERIOR: partly inspected. A square entrance hall has a rear wall with canted corners, with 3 arched openings and paired panelled doors. To the left is the open geometrical stair with plain stone treads, and a decorative wrought-iron balustrade to a wreathed hardwood handrail with wreathing. The ground-floor rear left room has bowed ends and a very large tripartite 4:12:4-pane sash. A secondary stair has a solid string and stick balusters. The stone-flagged basement has an apsidal rear corresponding with the hall layout, with 3-light segmental-headed lights to grilles. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the site was for long occupied by a house belonging to the Abbot of Muchelney. The building, which stood on the front of the site, was said to be 'decayed' in 1469, and there were later sub-divisions of the property, which for a long period was used by the Vicars Choral. In 1819 a large new house was built for William Parfitt, the Chapter Clerk, and at this time remains of older buildings were removed. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners bought the house in 1933 from a butcher who, it was feared, might spoil the property by turning it into a garage with forecourt petrol-pumps. It was leased to the Cathedral School in the 1960's. A very formal facade, demonstrating the designer's acquaintance with current architectural fashion as led by Sir John Soane. (Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-: 169; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 327).

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