Allerford Museum (Old School), Allerford, Holnicote Estate

Record ID:  115223 / MNA138268
Record type:  Building
Protected Status: None Recorded
NT Property:  Holnicote Estate; South West
Civil Parish:  Selworthy; West Somerset; Somerset
Grid Reference:  SS 9046 4699
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Single room attached to cottage, opened 9 July 1821. It worked on the monitor system and was an example of early provision of education on an estate. Single storey, thatch roof over cob walls.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • COAL SHED (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PRIVY HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SCHOOL (Early 19th C to Late 20th C - 1821 AD to 1983 AD)
  • WORKSHOP (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • TOILET (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • MUSEUM (Late 20th C to Early 21st century - 1985 AD to 2050 AD)


High, single storey reversed 'L'-plan building, with School Cottage ( 115,102) butting onto the west end. The original school house forms the foot of the 'L'. This was two storey, the first floor was removed in the late nineteenth century, but the original openings remain. The roof ridge is also 'L'-shaped with a full hip on the south end of the school house. There are three vents with cowls in the ridge. The two first floor school house windows are raked dormers. Two internal lateral stacks are on the south wall of the school room, a rear external stack on the rear ( east) wall of the old school house, also a corner stack. Lean-to porch on front of school, and small lean-to in the angle of the 'L'. A wall butts onto the south-west corner of the school house, enclosing the east end of the playground, the main part of the latter is on the south side of the school. A modern lean-to and a smaller one are on the rear of the building and give rear access.

The school bell, with a decorative metal bracket, on a wooden support, hangs above the playground on the front of the school.

Roof thatch, with leaded valley and flashing. Above the school house dormer windows - two rows of double roman tiles. Porches - double roman tiles. Walls cob with render over, on a stone plinth, limewashed with black tar band. Small porch weatherboarded. North lean-to - brick.

Built by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, opened 9 July 1821. From Rev. Stevenson's diary ( transcribed by Lady Acland) 'went down to the New School at Allerford on the National Plan, which opened this day with about 36 children.' New school house completed 1882 ( from The Storey of Allerford School by Jan Ridler). Upper floor of old school house removed to make junior room. 1884, new stores and chimneys provided ( ibid). 1890, four new windows made the school lighter ( ibid). The school was closed in 1983 ( ibid). The museum started in 1985 ( lease in Estate Office). 1988, rear extension built ( ibid).

Important Features:
External appearance with thatched roof and school bell ( 1821).
Matchboarding and cupboard under west window in schoolroom ( late 19c.).
Plank doors ( 19c).
Four windows of schoolroom ( 1890).
School house rear first floor window with leaded panes ( early 19c.).

In a good state of repair.


Lavatory: Single cell lean-to on workroom G. Roof of double roman tiles over walls probably of brick. Late 20c, not shown on 1972 O.S. Map SS 9046, Scale 1:2,500). In a fair state of repair.

Privies for School, now shoemaker's workshop and store: Single storey two cell building, the privies for the school, probably divided in the late 19c and replacing a privy entered through a doorway ( now blocked) from the playground ( probably the little building on the 1889 O.S. Somerset Sheet XXXIV.2, Scale 1:2,500). Roof of double roman tiles with matching ridge, rafters resting on a square ridge piece. Walls rubble stone, mainly red sandstone, with weatherboarding on front. Important features: external appearance, lath and plaster ceiling, plank and batten doors. In a fair state of repair.

Coal Shed, now workshop: Single storey gabled building, was open to west, has been altered several times ( marked on 1889 O.S. Somerset Sheet XXXIV.2, Scale 1:2,500). Roof pantiles with double roman ridge, extra row of tiles on south end of west pitch to cope with the irregular shape. Rafters rest on ridge board and in tops of walls, which are of red sandstone with squared in blocks and quoins. Rear built onto earlier wall of grey and green river stone. This seems to have been slightly curved, remnants of it survive on the east side as well. Stub of the latter runs north with a blocked doorway in it. Important features: external appearance. In a fair state of repair.

Machinery Shed: Modern, single pitch roof, single cell, built to give shelter to agricultural machinery held by the museum. Built after 1985, when the Museum Trust took over the buildings. Roof corrugated iron over walls of vertical rustic planks on wood frame. In a good state of repair.

Hobby Horse Shed: Long, narrow, modern shed with single pitch roof, built to house and display the hobby horse. Built after the museum was started in 1985. Roof modern square cross-section iron sheeting over walls of horizontal planks. [1]

The school at Allerford was built in 1820-21 by the Xth Baronet, who was very interested in education. He had already built the school at Broadclyst and it worked on the monitor system, it seems likely that the same methods were employed at Allerford. Luccombe may have been different as it was a much smaller building. The school is thatched, as is the original cottage which went with it. Eventually with over 100 children attending, the cottage was turned into a schoolroom for the infants and a new school-house was built at the west end in 1882. The school closed in 1983. The original school and cottage are now tenanted by the West Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Museum and holds a rural life collection. [2]


  • SZN1138 - Vernacular Building Survey: Isabel J Richardson. 1993. VBS: Allerford Museum. [Mapped feature: #181046 ]

  • SZN48220 - Unpublished document: Isabel Richardson. 2001. Holnicote Estate Archaeological Survey, Somerset. 115223.


None Recorded

Other Statuses and References

  • Conservation Area
  • National Park

Associated Events

  • ENA3149 - Field Survey, Archaeological Survey of the Holnicote Estate 2001
  • ENA10577 - Heritage Assessment, Vernacular Building Surveys within the Holnicote Estate, 1991-1997

Associated Finds

None Recorded

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