About Hamswell

Hamswell was one of the three manor houses in the parish of Cold Ashton granted to the Priors of Bath in AD 921 by Athelstan, the first king of all England. The Priors owned it until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535.

Robert Whittington took a lease on the manor house in 1543. He was a descendant of the famous Dick Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London, who "turned again." His grandson, William Whittington was finally able to buy the house and the estate in 1622 and the family owned the house and the estate for over 300 years. The battle of Lansdown was fought nearby in 1643.

During the last century the occupants included Lord Justice Maugham, the Lord Chancellor and brother of the novelist Somerset Maughan.

The house is a private home and is now lived in by Rupert Legge, a novelist, his wife, Victoria, a designer, and their family.

Strange Coincidence
Rupert's ancestor Sir Thomas Legge was the first Lord Mayor of London, elected Mayor in 1347. He too was elected Mayor three times, but as far as we know he did not have a cat.

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Hamswell House - Architecture

Hamswell House as it stands today is 16th century with 17th and 18th century remodelling. The early Jacobean façade with its elaborate carved stone portico is a fine example of the English Renaissance. The garden façade is Queen Anne with a stone shell hood on brackets carved with acanthus leaves and beasts above the door.

The orangery in the grounds is 18th century with high arched windows and a Cotswold stone roof. The extensive gardens are terraced with a network of decorative stone walls and feature a pergola, an ornamental canal and a knot garden. The house is set in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the end of a long drive.

Hamswell House - Filming

The house is a popular film location and has been featured in Tess of the D'Urbervilles starring Eddie Redmayne and Gemma Arterton, Skins, Casualty and Agatha Raisin. Eddie Redmayne is on the horse.