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In the grounds of the Present Manor are the foundations of the original house
which is referred to as Pittes Place in a deed dated 1603.The family of Le Pytt
are mentioned in a number of early documents of the 14th.Century. They later appear
as relations of John Ashe who is to dominate the village`s history.
The next important family are the Davisons who originate from Shepton Montague.
They purchase most of the village from Elizabeth 1 in 1603 for the small price
of £49. Henry Davison gives his mansion-Pittes Place to his son also Henry
in the same year. He prospers and buys the Mill and more properties in the village.
But it is his son in law-John Ashe who buys most of these from him as well as
lands in surrounding villages. By the time of Henry`s death in 1647 the house
and 207 acres are rented by his son-Joseph from John Ashe. This ownership passes
to John`s Grandaughter - Mary who sells it to her cousin-Anthony Methuen in 1713
for £3,500 with most of the village. In turn Anthony sells the house with
4 acres in 1716 to Robert Hayward.
The Haywards are wealthy Clothiers from Bagborough,which now forms part of the
Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet. Robert rents Freshford Mill from
John Ashe`s heir in 1695. But with the inheritance on the death of his father
in 1716 buys Pittes Place and its grounds. Shortly afterwards he employs the Bath
architect-Thomas Greenway to build a house back from the Street which he names
Freshford House. The old house is referred to as a "White Wool Loft"
and a building adjoining his new house as a "Scribbling Loft" in an
insurance policy of 1727.His son also Robert puchases the adjoining farm of Coombe
Bottom in 1739 and turns it into a pleasure garden. His daughter Elizabeth marries
the wealthy William Tugwell from Bradford-on-Avon in 1765 and move to Freshford
House (Manor).Her son George Hayward Tugwell inherits the properties but moves
to Widcombe and rents the house out to Henry Fisher and finally sells it in 1796
to Thomas Joyce.
Thomas Joyce was born in Freshford and then makes his fortune building factories
for the Woollen Trade and finally returns in 1796 when he purchases Freshford
House. He is a very successful entrepeneur who buys up many farms and buildings
in the neighbourhood including most of Freshford from Paul Methuen in 1807 for
£13,000. Thomas employs the Bath architect - John Pinch to dramatically
alter and add to the house, so that it now faces down the valley over fields and
properties which he owned. Thomas`s daughter Francis Maria Joyce who had married
her cousin-John inherited most of her father`s Estate. Her branch of the family
were never to live in the village and rented out their properties for most of
Freshford House(Manor) was to have many illustrious tenants which included Sir
William Napier and Sir Walter James during this time.
The house was finally bought in 1886 by a local Architect Thomas Player Isaac
who added the North Wing which gave the properties better proportions and also
renamed it - Freshford Manor. Once finished he moved to Abingdon and sold the
estate to the wealthy Banker-Percival Huth. The Huths appear to have enjoyed their
house and estate judging from a number of photographs which a descendant - Winston
Huth-Wallis still posseses of their time at Freshford.Percival and Marianne bought
up their 3 daughters and 3 sons in the village and it was not until 1918 that
the house was to go up for sale.
It was Edward and Sarah Hett who purchased the estate so that they could enjoy
their retirement in these tranquill surroundings. Edward was to die in 1927 but
his wife was to live there on her own until 1953 when she died at the age of 90.
The house was then to enter its darkest chapter when bought by a local builder-Herbrt
Doel. He wanted to demolish the house and build a number of bungalows in the grounds.
But it was the intervention of a neighbour-John Chesterman, who made the plight
of the house aware to a wealthy antique dealer. It was John Judkin who with Dallas
Pratt was to create the American Museum at Claverton. They would spend part of
the year at Freshford Manor. When John died in a road crash in 1963 the house
was to form part of the American Museum and the J.J.H. Memorial was established
there providing display cases for museums and exhibitions.Dallas Pratt would still
spend part of the year at the house, but when he died in 1994 it was in time put
up for sale and purchased by Neil
and Valerie Mattingly -the previous
Click on the oval pictures in the left frame to find out more about the owners-there
is still work to be done on this so please perservere.