Restoring The Lodge in Church Lane
By Mike and Christine Bowden – May 2017
The Lodge in Church Lane built circa 1650 is the old porter’s dwelling that is at the entrance to the now lost Timsbury House mansion of Tudor origin. This was the seat of the Somerset Samborne family who owned much of the surrounding lands.
The Lodge – Rear 1970 Rear 2017
The Lodge – Front 1970 Front 2017
When we bought the Lodge in 1970 it was in a state of ruin and deemed beyond economic repair, needing to be gutted, leaving only the shell and roof timbers. When we had time to research its history, there being no original documents.
I came across a 1899 book called ’Genealogy of the Family Samborn’. I found Maudley Samborne born circa 1628, baptised in Nunney. He altered the main Timsbury House as he feared that the weight of the stone roof was too heavy for the walls. The two-story house was converted to three by reducing the ceiling heights and by adding external buttresses.
With the left-over stone he built his porter’s lodge circa 1650 and which is now a key remaining part of Timsbury’s history.
Maudley died circa 1680 having sold the rest of the estates of Timsbury in 1658 to Alexander Popham, the house remaining with the Sambornes till its demolition in 1961. Its site was used to build the top end of Southlands Drive estate in 1971.
As the old photos show, we had to lovingly rebuild this wonderful 3 storey house over years, preserving the shell and features where possible, such as the magnificent chimney stacks, entrance porch and door, and stone window frames. The white lias stone walls are 2ft thick and the front was built with large stones with false courses cut in to make them look consistently smaller. The roof timbers are 3 king post arrangements made up of 12×4 and 6×4 timbers, wit the rest of the timbers being of similar sizes.
1825 copy of the 1784 tithe map – The Lodge is 265 and Timsbury House 264.
We are pleased to see the uncovering of the gate pillars (on the right) which restores the aspect of the main House entrance, which is now our driveway (on the left).
Maudley Samborne, son of Thomas Samborne 1601- 1636
Maudley interestingly avoided prosecution for treason for failing to join war efforts in 1649. Later he was ‘allowed and confirmed a coat of arms’ in 1672
Maudley Samborne was sequestered in 1649. He petitioned against this saying ‘he had done nothing or engaged in ye last war’. Yet doubting he may have done some act may have made him liable to sequestration by parliament he paid a fine of 16th of his estates of £210 – so he managed to keep his head and survive.