We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

Saltford Manor House, Somerset

(51°24′19″N, 2°27′15″W)
Saltford Manor House
ST 685 6748
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Bath and North East Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes

2 February 2011

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=13902.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Saltford extends westwards from the left bank of the Avon between Bath and Keynsham (7kms from the former and 3.5kms from the latter), on either side of the main A4 between Bristol and Bath. Geologically, Saltford exploits (like many settlements in this area of north Somerset) an unusually large area of limestone bedrock: specifically Blue and White Lias of the Lower Lias division of Jurassic rock. The place-name signifies ‘salty=tidal ford’ although various weirs etc. now prevent the river being so up to this point. The church (q.v.) is at the N edge of the village only 300m from the river and at an altitude of 33m above OD, accompanied by this manor house dating from the Norman period and reputedly the oldest habitation in the country.

The manor house of c.1160 with many later alterations and additions was built by Earl William of Gloucester. The main range is the extent of the original Norman manor with cellarage and first-floor hall with solar to the E and parlour to the W; two two-light windows survive to the N and the E. The front is 17thc, but on entering Pevsner reports that there were huge ceiling beams and a Norman arch. On the E gable is a big carved beast. A second beast was found and is now on the door-hood.


DB records that 4 thegns held Saltford in 1066. In 1086, like much of N Somerset, it belonged to the Bishop of Coutances and was held by Roger Whiting. Saltford later formed part of the Honour of Gloucester.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

As a Romanesque-era secular building it is a great rarity with only a small number of parallels (eg Boothby Pagnell manor house, Lincolnshire). It is hoped that further investigation will take place to record the interior.


Historic England listing 1384672

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (Harrmondsworth, 1958), 254.