Butcombe History

Butcombe is a typical Somerset house, complete with a 14th century 3-bay medieval open hall, heated by an open hearth fire rising from the ground floor to the soot’d roof timbers.  The house is predominantly built of local materials, the beautifully coloured Mendip and Draycot stone, along with mullioned windows and door arches, and exposed timbers throughout.

The parish of Butcombe is evidently an ancient settlement since it was established at the time of the Doomsday Book in 1066.  There have been many changes and additions to the building over the years, including a 17th century service wing and kitchen, still today retaining some of the original doors and cupboards.

 

In the early 16th century an additional 3 rooms were added to the house creating a master chamber.  Today the chambers still contain Tudor oak doorframes, arches and are accessed by a stunning worn spiral stone staircase.  A secret Priest hole has been discovered within this chamber.

 

Butcombe Farm itself has its own wood, ‘Hangman’s Wood’ so called as it is believed that George Jeffreys (the infamous Hanging Judge Jeffreys) hanged several people there in the 1680’s.  His brutal reign as Lord Chanceller under King James II led to 320 hangings, and the Judge was said to have lived at Butcombe Farm for a brief period.

Butcombe Barrow Just to the southwest of the barrow, on the top of the hillock, another slight mound can be made out, with some rocks visible sticking out of the ground. Was this once possibly a cairn, with some form of entrance structure from the northwest, or some other Iron Age construction ? From this point, the two rocky outcrops curve in and converge to a linear feature which can clearly be seen running down the hill to the south east, and there are a few reasonably large stones still sticking out of the ground marking its position. This structure is aligned directly to the Fairy Toot barrow, and to this day still makes a part of a county boundary. An excavation was carried out here in 1946, and many remains of iron age occupation were found around the hilltop.

 

Today, Butcombe is no longer a working farm but is used as a family home.

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