Godlingston Manor

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House, and also as a Possible Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameGodlingston Manor
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDorset
Modern AuthorityDorset
1974 AuthorityDorset
Civil ParishSwanage

An important medieval house, incorporating a circular tower, probably defensive in origin. Purbeck Stone walls. Purbeck Stone roof. Stone chimney stacks. According to the RCHM the tower is contemporary with the main part of the house, ie c1300, but from the junction of the 2 structures it appears to be of earlier origin, and may perhaps once have had a timber hall. The main house is of typical medieval form, with an entrance leading into a through-passage. West of this was the service block, with the tower leading off its west end. East of the passage is the hall, originally open to the roof, but floored over in the C17. East of the hall is the parlour/ solar block, roofed at right angles to the hall, but rebuilt after a fire in the C19. When the hall was floored over the rear wall was rebuilt and a staircase block built at the north end of the through passage. (Hutchins, however, states that in the C18 the rear doorway was still visible.) In the C18 a new kitchen wing was built to the rear (north) of the service block. The interior has been drastically remodelled, all the roofs being renewed, and retains few early features, although a C17 fireplace has recently been uncovered in the wall between the hall and the parlour. The tower has a blocked external door at the front, and arrow-loops in the 2 upper storeys. Its conical roof is covered with Purbeck Stone. On the main south front, the ground floor of the house has a doorway with a pointed trefoil arch, leading into the through- Passage. West of this, in the service block, is a 3-light stone mullioned window on the ground floor. On the upper floor, a dormer, with hipped roof, has a similar window. The hall has 2 stone mullioned windows, of 2 and 3-lights. Above these are 2 dormers, with hipped roofs, and stone mullioned windows. All these windows are of C17 date. The parlour has a 4-light stone mullioned window, with a similar 3-light window above it, all of C19 date

In the gable the head of an earlier medieval window has been re-set. The C18 kitchen wing is of 2-storeys and has some stone mullioned windows and some modern casements. (Listed Building Report)

At a very early period Godlingston became the property and seat of the family of Talbots, who afterwards owned it for several generations.

There are considerable remains of an old mansion still standing, the house is low and meanly built of rubble stone with scarcely any ornament, but it's antiquity gives it some interest.

Hutchins tells us there was anciently a chapel here, which in his time made part of it, but if such was the case it has been wholly destroyed (Hutchin).

Now known as Godlingston Manor. The front door may be 13th century and the main part of the southern wall, the back (north) is probably 14th century. The oldest part is probably the tower in the west and the latest part is a slight extension on the east which was added in the 17th century. No information was obtained upon the site of the chapel (F1 JR 09-AUG-52). (PastScape)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSZ014802
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  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 66
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 130
  • Pevsner, N. and Newman, J., 1972, Buildings of England: Dorset (London) p. 412
  • RCHME, 1970, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 2: south-east (HMSO) p. 294-5 no. 12 (plan) plate 157 online transcription
  • Hutchin, J., 1861 (3edn org. pub. 1774), History of Dorset Vol. 1 p. 669 (Facsimile edn by EP Publishing produced 1973)


  • Wood, Margaret, 1950, 'Thirteenth-century Domestic Architecture in England' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 105 supplement p. 14-15


  • Dorset County Council, 2011, Dorset Historic Towns Survey: Swanage Download copy