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Old Bowlish House, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

A visit which keeps on revealing. Built around 1618, this Grade II* clothier’s mansion was modernised by the Georgians c.1735 and the Victorians c.1860. A Palladian frontage and stone mullioned rear windows are two of the external features which enclose finely proportioned rooms, original fireplaces and a magnificent heavily-carved Jacobean openwork scroll oak staircase which winds through all three of its floors.

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Originally built as both a family home and the visible expression of the wealth of a branch of the Strode dynasty, which owned the late medieval sheep farm after which the locality is named, the house saw a tempestuous history in the Civil Wars, during the 18th and 19th centuries and when occupied by the Navy in the second world war.

Today, the house is very much a family home, having been lovingly renovated by the Keys family, and has been featured in both Period House and Period Living magazines as well as on BBC Radio Somerset. You will leave your visit understanding an unexpected tapestry of wool, wars, Huguenots and a ghost or two.

Tour features

Owner-narrated tour of the exterior: five moderate-sized gardens, (each with its own challenges including a large ruin); workers’ homes; former industrial buildings and other remains in the hamlet; and interior: lots of original features, fine furniture and memorable art, as well as a thoroughly-researched architectural, locality and occupant history.

December tours include house decorated for Christmas with Jacobean, Georgian and Victorian examples. Sample seasonal food, music and readings from each period. Log fire.


Fascinating; the façade of your home is a dream; the inside is remarkable. A very special house ... a heart-warming afternoon.


The house is ½ mile outside Shepton Mallet off the road to Wells and about 20 miles south of both Bath and Bristol.

It is served by bus routes which run between Shepton Mallet and Wells. The nearest train station is Castle Cary, approximately 10 miles to the south-west and a car journey of about 20 minutes. The closest airport is Bristol, a journey of about 40 minutes by car.

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Useful information

Price £14.00
Duration 2.5 hours

Cream tea. December tours include seasonal food.

Special restrictions

No dogs. Because our properties are old and fragile, unfortunately we cannot include children under 14.

Disabled access

Ground floor only.

Tour dates

Date Time Availability
Mon 17 Dec 2:30 pm Spaces available
Thu 20 Dec 2:30 pm Spaces available


To book a tour of this property on one of the tour dates click the tour booking button below. To request a group visit of this property with your party or club on a specific date click the Request a group visit button.

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