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Major repairs to Halsway Manor completed

— 16 Oct 2018 by Mark Raby


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Grade II* listed Halsway Manor set in six acres of grounds in the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

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Window repairs included replacing glazing, redecorating, fixing lead cames, ensuring proper functioning of sashes for ventilation and to avoid drafts. Finials, copings and high level gargoyles and hunky punks were inspected for the safety of the public.

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Repointing of stone work – mixes for mortars and pointing were selected from several samples to achieve a harmonious appearance with the surroundings

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New sandcast lead covering to roof valleys will ensure the Manor remains leak free for years to come. Rooflights provide safe valley access for maintenance. Rebuilt and flaunched chimney top

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Replacement sandstone step. This will weather to a matching colour in a short time.

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The Great hall was cleared of unnecessary lighting and decades of electrical wiring and paraphernalia attached to the walls, and conserved in its historic grandeur.

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The beautiful Barrel vault roof dating from c.1600 lit with new discreet LED lighting

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One of the historic bedrooms. Halsway Manor and its mews house can sleep up to 65 people.

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Corridors were decorated to harmonise and hide services

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Extensive renewal of heating and hot water services to serve over 40 beds and function rooms whilst having minimal impact on historic fabric

halsway conservation stonework doorway

The Heritage Lottery funded repair works and renovations to Grade II* listed Halsway Manor have been successfully completed.

Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding the project was given the go ahead in the Spring of 2018 and specialist heritage contractor Ellis & Co began work to restore and repair the fabric of the historic buildings.

The history of Halsway Manor dates back to the Domesday book although at this stage the Manor House is likely to be in a different location. The first phase of the existing building was instigated by the Stradling family who held the estate over eight generations for over three hundred years. The family history includes Sir Edward who fought at the battle of Agincourt and Sir William who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and became a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Western wing was added to this medieval Manor House in the latter half of the 19th Century in a Victorian phase of building largely following the medieval style with Victorian embellishments. A later owner in the early 20th Century William Mitchell of Stephen Mitchell Tobacco Company put his wealth into renovating the interior of the buildings with panelling and decorative plasterwork he sourced from other manor houses that were undergoing demolition. The building is a truly magnificent example of a mix of high architecture and vernacular Somerset architecture.

The Manor entered its current phase of occupation and use in the mid 20th Century under Frances Gair Wilkinson who set up Halsway Manor Society with its aim to promote and research traditional English folk dance music and song and to operate the Manor as a residential centre.

The Manor currently houses the National Centre for Folk Arts, which holds a wide range of residential folk courses, from storytelling, to music to dance, and arts & crafts. The beautiful historic bedrooms, panelled bar, great hall, dining room and other areas needed work to conserve and restore them as well as to upgrade the services to meet current standards.

Maintenance and repair work to the roof, rainwater goods, masonry and fenestration ensure the Manor can continue to exist in a good state of repair for the community both nationally and internationally to enjoy. And with more effective and sustainable service facilities the Manor will become efficient to run and can more effectively meet the needs of visitors.

Jonathan Rhind Architects are delighted to have been involved in the project and were able to offer specialist advice, prepare specifications, obtain permissions and consents, monitor contracts and deliver the project in a timely manner. To read about similar projects we have worked on please see our projects page or to read more about Halsway Manor and the National Centre for Folk Arts, please see their website.

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