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Wiltshire Community History

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Urchfont Manor

Urchfont Manor Date Photo Taken 2009
Uploaded 02/03/2009 12:02:52
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Map Latitude 51.31187110345953 : Longitude -1.9500410556793213
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

Urchfont Manor House was first mentioned in 1487. One major 16th century landowner was Robert Noyes who built up land in Urchfont and Eastcott. The land passed to William Pynsent who built the house around 1687. It incorporates parts of a 15th century house and was altered in 1700 and 1767. There is Flemish brickwork with stone quoins and dressings and seven bays with a hipped roof. Pevsner regarded it as one of the best houses of its type in Wiltshire.

In the earlier 20th century the Manor House was owned by the Watson Taylor family but by the 1930s it had been bought by Hamilton Rivers Pollock. He and his wife were greatly involved in village affairs and he photographed and filmed farming practices in the county that were disappearing before the advance of tractors and mechanisation.

Urchfont Manor was loaned to the London County Council in World War Two for use as a hospital school for evacuated children with tuberculosis. The older children had lessons in the breakfast room and the younger group in the converted stables. The afternoons were usually spent walking in the village. The house and garden were kept in good order. All the old staff were retained and the best china and furniture was stored at Christies. The school was disbanded after D-Day and the house was returned to the Pollocks until 1946 when it was sold to Wiltshire County Council. It then became Urchfont Manor College (an adult residential college) and was the first of its kind to be opened by a local authority in the country. Residential courses, day course and conference facilities have been offered at the College ever since.

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