Parish House

Baltonsborough, Somerset

Overview

One of a very few medieval church houses to survive, The Parish House was built in about 1500, with fine views from the windows of the main room of the 15th-century church.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • Outside Dining FurnitureOutside Dining Furniture
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
4
4 nights
£481 equivalent to £30.06 per person, per night

At the heart of Baltonsborough village

This is a rare example of a church house that has remained in the ownership and use of the parish. We were brought in to preserve this link and to take on its care. Built in about 1500, on the edge of the churchyard, it has long served the village of Baltonsborough for meetings and festivals, both formal and convivial.

Arched trusses rise overhead

We improved the parish meeting room on the ground floor, which still has its great hearth across one end. Above, in the part you can stay in, was a long room with an open arch-braced roof. The Tudor churchwardens exercised great economy in their building works and no timber is heavier than it need be. When this floor was later fitted out for a tenant, similar frugality ensured that the alterations were minimal and undamaging. The long room was divided by an oak partition, which we have kept, but the graceful arched trusses still rise over your head on each side of it. The inside is a sampler of the carpenters’ art, where modern craftsmen have carefully repaired ancient work. There is a fine view of the church from the windows of the main rooms.

‘Blissful, enchanting and deeply peaceful. Will never forget lying in that great bed on a sunlit morning with blossom and church song blowing in through the window.’

From the logbook

Floor Plans

Map & local info

Parish House stands close to the church in the small village of Baltonsborough, a few miles south of Glastonbury. There is good walking to be had in the Mendip Hills and the market town of Shepton Mallet is nearby.

Parish House is an excellent location for exploring Somerset. Days out around for all the family to enjoy include the East Somerset Railway and Wookey Hole Caves, both within 40 miles drive from Parish House. Somerset Rural Life Museum is in Glastonbury, and closer to Parish House, offering a fascinating insight into how people lived in this area of the south west. 

Wells Cathedral has been described as perhaps the mose beautiful cathedral in the country, and well worth a visit. Historical highlights not to miss include the Jesse stain glass window, the ancient (and still working) clock, and the wells in the Bishop's Palace Garden. 

At Glastonbury Abbey, just 15 minutes drive from Parish House, you can experience one of the oldest and most fascinating abbeys in England, visit the supposed burial site of the legendary King Arthur and enjoy stunning walks around over 30 acres of grounds. 

Glastonbury is of course home to one of the biggest and most famous festivals in the world, and under 20 minutes drive from Parish House. 

Look out for The Vintage Bazaar held at Frome, where you can find a  market selling vintage clothes and jewellery, antiques and much more. 

Good local pubs with real ale include The The Rose and Portcullis  and The Lion

Goodfellows Seafood Restaurant and The Good Earth vegetarian restaurant are also recommended in the local area. 

To find out more about things to do during your stay at Parish House, please see our Pinterest Page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    From the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Castle Cary – 8 miles. 
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is one parking space adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and a coal burning stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of coal, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are not particularly steep.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed).
  • Is there higher than expected background noise?

    Yes the property has very close neighbours.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

One of the few medieval church houses to survive

The Parish House is one of the few medieval church houses to survive and one of the very few indeed still in use as a parish meeting place. On the outside it is now disguised as an ordinary cottage in a row, but inside there is a great medieval fireplace and a splendid medieval roof.

In May 1989 the Landmark Trust received a letter from the Rev. B.H.Adams, Vicar of Butleigh, a neighbouring parish run together with Baltonsborough, asking for help. He said that the Baltonsborough church house had for a long time been occupied by a verger, but he had died and the house needed so much spent on it that the church could not afford it and would have to sell. What worried him was that the ground floor room was used as a church room and he would like to keep it. Would the Landmark Trust be prepared to buy the house, and let the parish keep the ground floor room?

The Landmark Trust was interested in such an historic little building and realised how important it was that its original use should continue. The arrangement was agreed and the Landmark Trust bought the freehold.

By great good luck the next-door cottage, Church View, came up for sale at the same time and the Landmark Trust bought that too. About a third of the original church room, which was the main room on the first floor, extended into it and during the restoration that part was taken back into the Parish House. When it was repaired Church View was re-sold with covenants.

Work started in 1993 with the Landmark Trust’s own craftsmen repairing the roof. It was furnished and ready for visitors in September 1995.

For a short history of Parish House please click here.

Restoration

Removing the 17th-century ceiling

When the Landmark Trust took over the building the first priority was to regain the experience of entering the original church room. To achieve this the 17th-century ceiling was removed. The dormer windows remained, blocked up, but the attic went and the fine medieval roof could be enjoyed once more. The trusses were intact but they needed re-pinning and repair and Leonard Hardy, who has worked on several Landmark buildings in the West Country, put a lot of work into them.

They and the wall plates were cut about especially where the dormers were inserted and in those areas, as you can see, there is new work and a new wall plate on the south side.

The Landmark Trust by this time had bought Church View and it was possible to extend the first floor of Parish House into it, taking down the wall between the two and rebuilding it further west, so that all the trusses except for the one that was pulled down when the old church house became two cottages, are now in the Parish House. On the ground floor the party wall remained where it was before. The partitions and passages which had accumulated during its life as a cottage were removed except for one original 17th-century wooden screen on the first floor, found within later plaster-work. It was repaired and now divides the sitting room from the main bedroom.

Steel tie-rods were inserted in several places where the walls showed signs of leaning outwards.

No access was now needed between the new ground floor parish room and the Landmark part of the building, so the staircase was removed and re-built in a straight and simple form in the north wing. At the top of the old staircase there had been three different levels, now there is one. The door between the new parish room and the north wing lean-to was blocked up.

The first floor in the north wing was uncomfortably low so the level of the first floor was slightly altered. A new front door for the Landmark part of the house was inserted. On either side of the door in the kitchen is a limestone shelf that was probably used for maturing cheeses.

Fairly extensive general repairs were needed: the house was re-roofed, using all the old 'double Roman' tiles that were sound; the window-frames were rotten and had to be renewed. One window, in the north side of the main bedroom was given a mullion window, like those that were there originally, the others are like the 18th-century windows that replaced the mullions, but they have leaded lights. New oak floors were laid in the first floor rooms, and the house was re-wired. The wirescape that festooned the front of the house was removed and the wires run underground.

A plaque by the front door saying the house was built circa 1539 by Richard Whiting last abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, was removed as inaccurate. The Parish House was almost certainly built before 1539 and was not built by any abbot, but by the parishioners of Baltonsborough.

Much thought was given as to how the rooms should be used. At one time the kitchen was going to be next door to the sitting room, with both bedrooms in the wing. but in the end a ground floor kitchen with direct access to a sheltered sitting out area seemed obviously right.

Outside, a carpark was made and Church View was given a garden separate from the Parish House. On the south front the low stone wall was removed and a path of stone flags laid.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.