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.
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.