Thursday, 20 October 2016

Avishays Clock Tower, Chaffcombe

Avishays or Avishayes House (it seems to be spelt both ways in different sources) is located in the parish of Chaffcombe about half a mile south of the village.  It is also a mile to the east of the edge of the town of Chard.  The house was built in the 17th century but substantially altered 1745-59.  It was owned by the Sealy and Marwood families from 1697 until 1859 when it was sold to a Chard solicitor called Edward Clarke.

200 metres east of the house on Castle Hill and on the site of a ruined sham castle, a single storey decorative building was constructed from rubble stone and flint and dressed with Ham stone.  It was probably built for Edward Clarke  The parapet was castellated. It was a water tower supplying water to the house but also acted as an eye-catcher when viewed from the house. 

The building became known as the Monmouth Tower, in memory of Elias Sealy who owned Avishays at the time of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.  He supported Monmouth and narrowly avoided arrest after Monmouth's defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor by hiding in a tree in the grounds of Avishays.  The tower is also known as The Castle.

The clock tower was apparently added to the top of the Monmouth Tower in around 1985 by the then owner of Avishays, David Cavender.  The chiming clock, which has only one face, was made by Gillet & Johnson of Croydon and dates from the 19th century.

At the time of writing in October 2016 the Avishays Estate (main house, coach house, 3 lodge houses, 2 cottages, outbuildings, Monmouth Tower and 90 acres of gardens, paddocks and parkland) is up for sale for £4.7 million.

Avishayes House
Monmouth Clock Tower

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