Monkscider House History
© David Chadwick - G’eco printing  
Home History Accommodation Local attractions How to find us Contact us Tariffs
Monkscider House - an unusual name! A combination, I suppose, of local history - ( Cleve Abbey is just around the corner!), and the fact that the farmhouse had a cider press in it when we cleared away the ivy covering most of the front - and a family nickname. What was a half-derelict storehouse for unwanted farm equipment, and a temporary abode for pigs, is now a comfortable family home, with bags of space, in an ideal location on the edge of Washford. Monkscider House was originally a group of cottages in Washford Farm. The farm dates back to at least 1575 - according to records in Williton library. At the end of the 19th Century, the cottages were burnt out, and replaced with the storehouse, cider press and forge - knocking the cottages into one building.
Earliest photo of the cottages - late 19thC It was also a home for pigs - which inhabited the building until the 1960s, at least. We bought the building in 1998 - it was full of junk, old farm equipment and, of course, the cider press. Just two rooms, a store and a garage downstairs - and upstairs - zilch, except a load of rubbish, and an incredibly heavy corn thrasher! The cider press had to go, of course - sad, but it took up a lot of space, protruding into the second floor - and with it the series of pulleys that were used to drive it The ground floor - bricks covered with centuries of cider mulch, oil and pig manure and large slate slabs - had to be raised 9 inches. That meant that all doors and windows had to be repositioned. Half of the first floor timbers had to be replaced as well. The main roof was sound, though. 
The garage and rear store room were completely taken apart, and a complete new slate roof was built, and the wooden garage doors replaced by a stone wall and window. The lean-to, which used to house a forge, was converted into a large garage and, eventually, a studio. We found another large fireplace in the studio, which we opened out. Might put another wood-burner in there some time. A large fireplace was built in one of the store rooms - where the original cider barrels were kept - and after we had levelled the stone platforms that supported them. We used local Capton Quarry stone for this. The amazing thing about converting barns, is the amount of waste rubble you get. We shifted 100 tons in one day - when the yard was one foot deep in rainwater - and still had plenty left to level the garden.  Throughout we tried to retain the spaciousness of the interior. The double bedroom is very large - and vaulted - giving a lovely luxurious feel to it. The en-suite bathroom is also vaulted! The same spaciousness is found in the dining room, a traditional style country room, with a long central table great for emulating the feats of Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. - and a grand piano at the far end for those that like to relax tinkling on the ivories. Guests can also use the large sitting room with the huge stone fireplace for those cold winter evenings providing you dont mind throwing on the occasional log to keep it going!