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COURT FARM

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Medieval palace of the Bishop of Bath and Wells at Wookey, on low lying land in a loop of the River Axe. The site was one of the first palaces of the Bishops and is first documented in 1224 when Bishop Jocelin was licensed to use oak trees from Cheddar forest for its repair. In a 1330s history of Wells it was written that the chapels and chambers of Wookey and Wells were built 'magnificently' by Jocelin. The main grounds were encircled by a moat, enclosing a large polygonal area of over five acres, with the palace in the northern part where Court Farm now stands. The farmhouse is the only upstanding building of the period. An area of earthworks to the east of the house indicates the site of former buildings, and although the moat has been largely infilled its course can still be traced in places as an earthwork. Major repairs to the palace were recorded in 1461-2, including the re-roofing of the hall with lead. A survey of 1557 recorded new buildings and rooms, and the present farmhouse has been identified as part of the new build. The moat is believed to date from after this date as it is not mentioned in the survey, although it is depicted on the 1839 Tithe Map. The grounds were entered from the south east where a gatehouse stood. On one side were an ox house, hay house, stable and pigsty while on the other were a cow house and walled barton of two acres. Lynchets and banks suggest sub-division of this aprt of the grounds. Within the grounds were a garden behind the house, a barn, two bartons, an orhard, fishponds and a dovecote.

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