The Court House


The Court House was built of hamstone in the late 15th century by Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, as a place where the Manor Court could be held.  

In 1662 William Strode of Barrington bought the manor of Martock, and established a school  ‘for the breeding up of youth in the fear of God and good literature’.  Over the door of the Court House is the Strode coat of arms & motto - 'Martock, neglect not thy opportunities’. The first School Master was Charles Darby, who had at one time more than 100 pupils. Daniel Defoe visited the school during his tour of England between 1724 & 1726, and he recorded his experience with dismay, since the boys' broad Somerset accent apparently rendered a familiar Bible reading incomprehensible to him.

By 1860 the house, now rented to the church and referred to as ‘Church House,’ was the venue for several local activities. The Martock Penny Bank moved in, a Lending Library was set up, and the Temperance Society met there. Throughout the 1900s it was used by Scouts, Guides, Brownies, the Martock Women’s Institute, and Martock Young Farmers. During WWII the ground floor was used by Miss Avery as a private school.

The acquisition by the Parish Council of the Parish Hall in the 1960s dramatically reduced the need for 'Church House' as a public meeting place, thus in the 1970s it was sold into private ownership, and reverted to being ‘ The Court House’.  Subsequent work undertaken inside the building throughout the 1980/90s restored it to its period.