Almshouse (or hospital) built by George Abbot, local boy and Archbishop of Canterbury for twelve men and eight women. At the time of its construction Abbot would have been rubbing shoulders with King James I and the future Charles I. Inigo Jones was introducing the Palladian style to England at the Queens House in Greenwich and the Banqueting House in Whitehall. Abbot, however, chose a very traditional standard Jacobean style for his hospital that is reminiscent of the gatehouses at Hampton Court. With the exception of similar structures at Oxford and Cambridge it has been described as the “last great gatehouse in the country and very nearly the best” (Pevsner).
It is still a hospital and for that reason there is limited access at specific times. It retains fine original funishings and panelling and the superb, original Jacobean doors are “some of the best in the country”.
The Duke of Monmouth stayed the night here on his journey to London, trial and execution. He was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor following his invasion to depose King James II.