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Rugbourne Farm, Bristol, Somerset

A small, early Renaissance (C17) ex-manor house, farmed until 2002 when the current owners bought it as their home, saving it from imminent collapse. Architect Andy Paterson, with the help of his wife Zanna (lecturer specialising in Renaissance drama), has lovingly repaired it, and work is still being completed on the second floor.

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Andy and Zanna are only the third owner-occupiers, which to some extent explains why Rugbourne is substantially unchanged since it was first built, and retains its architectural and tactile integrity.

It is noted for its most famous tenant, William Smith, who began the first ever stratological map of Britain in this house, an excellent print of which is on view. He called Rugbourne ‘the birthplace of English geology’.

Tour features

The whole house including cellar and attic. Visitors are welcome to spend time outside after the tour, including picnicking in the farm garden, orchard, wood and pasture (13 acres).


... wonderful house … a dwelling in which you can enjoy living yet retains most of the features of a manor house built in the 17th century. It was an honour and a joy to see where [William Smith] did much of his work … the chance to explore a bit of living history.


From the A39 (travelling south from Bath towards Wells) in High Littleton, take the westward fork (downhill in the middle of the village) out of the village, signed Timsbury Road ‘to Timsbury’. Parks and Recreation field on your left, exiting the village, and just after the ‘no speed restriction’ sign you will see a black and white 1950s sign ‘To Rugbourne Farm from where William Smith, Father of English Geology lodged…’ Follow that track (left from the public lane) and at the bottom you will find the house.

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Useful information

Price £14.00
Duration 1.5 - 2 hours

Tea and cake

Special restrictions

No stilettos because of uneven floors, friendly, well-behaved dogs allowed.

Disabled access

Step up on front path but we can provide a ramp if requested.

Tour dates

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  • Booking

    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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