Withington Manor

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop), and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWithington Manor
Alternative NamesWidindon; Whityngdon in Coteshold; Whittington
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthorityGloucestershire
1974 AuthorityGloucestershire
Civil ParishWithington

The Manor House at Withington, a possession of the Bishop of Worcester, was recorded in the 15th century, though now mainly 16/17th century. Dovecote, 17th century, square and gabled with a lantern. (PastScape ref. Verey 1970)

In the Middle Ages the bishops of Worcester frequently stayed on their manor of Withington during journeys through their large diocese. About 1182 one group of tenants owed additional labour services to meet the needs of the household when the bishop was in residence, and in 1288 a freehold estate at Upcote owed the service of carrying writs within the diocese. Godfrey Giffard, bishop 1268–1302, was a regular visitor and in 1271 had licence from the Crown, possibly not acted upon, to crenellate his house at Withington. A lease of the manor house and the demesne farm in 1476 reserved the use of the house for visits by the bishop, at which time the tenant was required to move into the gatehouse; the tenant also had to provide hospitality for the steward and other officers coming to hold the manor court at Michaelmas.

The manor house, called Manor Farm in the late 19th century and Withington Manor in 1998, occupies with its farm buildings a large site at north end of the upper part of Withington village; in the Middle Ages it may have comprised a complex of buildings, as the reference to the gatehouse in 1476 suggests. The earliest part of the surviving house is an L-shaped mid 17th-century building, partly ashlar faced, with twin gables on both the east and south facades. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

How much work, if any, was done with regard to the 1271 licence is unknown, although the gatehouse in existence in the C15 may suggest that some work was done. Bishop Giffard's previous position in royal government (He was Lord Chancellor 1266-68) would have meant having the status and royal favour of a patent letter granting a licence to crenellate would have been both easy to obtain and a de rigour status symbol, although this would probably have been reflected only decoratively in his house.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2 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 ReferenceSP030156
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  • Herbert, N.M. (ed), 2001, VCH Gloucestershire Vol. 9 p. 248- online transcription
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 466n8 (slight)
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 120, 167, 187
  • Dyer, C., 1980, Lords and Peasants in a Changing Society: The Estates of the Bishopric of Worcester, 680-1540 (Cambridge University Press)
  • Verey, David, 1970, Buildings of England: Gloucestershire Vol. 1 p. 484


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 518 (called Whittington)
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 228 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1913, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1266-72) Vol. 6 p. 580 online copy


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)