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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 the century.
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 owners.
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.