Blackford Bishops Palace

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameBlackford Bishops Palace
Alternative NamesParadise Field
Historic CountrySomerset
Modern AuthoritySomerset
1974 AuthoritySomerset
Civil ParishWedmore

Orchard lying behind the junction of the village street and Blacksmith's Lane is traditionally known as "The Bishop's Palace". Comprise the E and W sides of a moat c300ft across, still containing water. Excavations within and across the moated area revealed parts of a stone floor, robbed wall trenches, roofing materials (including nails), C13-C14 pottery, a silver penny of Edward I, and three pieces of RB pottery. The excavator concluded from contemporary registers etc that this is the site of a late C13-C14 episcopal manor house, demolished by Bishop John Harewell in 1380-90. In 1966 only the moat and slight unsurveyable traces of banks within the moated area remain. The moat is bounded on the W side by a hedge and is dry apart from a pond in the SW corner which has been partially filled in by rubble on the E side. A resistivity survey showed a complex of buildings (over 50m long) in the northern part of the moated area. The main approach appears to have been from the south through a gatehouse from which a path leads across the platform to the building. There is also evidence for a wall on the inside of the moat with another possible gatehouse in the north joined to the other buildings. The pathway entered the largest room in the building, presumably the hall, to the west of which there appear to be at least 8 further rooms. A room projecting from the E of the hall can be identifiable as the chapel by comparison with the better known site at Banwell. To the north of the hall is another large room, or possibly an enclosed yard. (Somerset HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST410478
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 673
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 170
  • Dunning, Robert, 1995, Somerset Castles (Somerset Books) p. 52
  • Ramsey, F.M.R. (ed), 1995, English Episcopal Acta X, Bath and Wells 1061-1205 (Oxford: University Press) p. xxx


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, 'A resistivity survey on the site of the residence of the medieval bishop of Bath and Wells at Blackford' Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Vol. 146 p. 13-8
  • Rendell, I.M, 1963, 'Blackford (Wedmore), 'The Bishop's Palace'' Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Vol. 107 p. 72-8

Primary Sources

  • 1907, Calendar of Manuscripts of the Dean and Chapter of Wells (Historical Manuscript Commission) Vol. 1 p. 147, 167-8, 180, 204-6, 303 online copy


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) p. 90-97 (available via EThOS)
  • Payne, N.A., 2001, resistivity survey on the site of the residence of the medieval bishops of Bath and Wells at Blackford, near Wedmore, Somerset (unpublished Bristol University fieldwork report in HER files (PRN 15162))