Potterne manor of the bishop of Salisbury

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

There are no visible remains

NamePotterne manor of the bishop of Salisbury
Alternative NamesPoterne; Courthill; Great Orchard
Historic CountryWiltshire
Modern AuthorityWiltshire
1974 AuthorityWiltshire
Civil ParishPotterne

Probable site of the Bishops' of Salisbury Manor House at Potterne which is known from documents to have been occupied in 1297, was uncovered during an exploratory excavation which revealed the much robbed foundation of possibly the chapel or barn mentioned in medieval documents see illustration. The impression given is of the debris of a collapsed stone-tiled roof and trench for large cut-stone foundations. Possible flooring in the form of a 2ins thick layer of chalk overlay the uncovered area. Two probable post and holes could have been for supports of a lean-to extension.

Finds were not stratified in the much disturbed ground but included encaustic floor-tile fragments, roof-tile (some possibly 13th/14th century), nails, door studs, ox shoe and animal bones. Domestic pottery was dated 13th/14th century and 16th/18th century. No indication of building on air photographs. (PastScape)

The bishops of Salisbury also had a deer park on their manor at Potterne. This lay to the south east of the village, around the modern Potterne Park Farm. The moat at SU 0102 5742, just north east of the farm, was probably formerly occupied by the park keeper's lodge. (Payne 2003)

A 17th-century survey provides an indication of the size and scale of the old episcopal manor house, which must also reflect its general character during the late medieval period. This description (see McGlashan and Sandell 1974, 89), dated 1649, states that the manor house was:

built with free stone thoroughly tiled containing seven rooms belowe the stairs, i.e. one hall and kitchen, one parlour, one larder, one milke house and pantry house and one cellar, and seven rooms above ye stairs i.e

one faire chamber over the hall, another faire chamber over the parlour and over the kitchens and other chambers with it and two chambers more in the new buildings.

There was also:

a large house or building well walled and well covered with stone for the most part of it . . . which contayneth in breadth about 25 foote and in length about 80 foote which is called ye chappell now fitte for a barne. And one faire barn containing 8 baies or rooms of building built with free stone with timbers covered with tyle. Wanting some reparation in the coverings. And one orchard well stored with fruit trees containing by estimation one acre . . . the backside and yards about the same house containing about 2 acres. (Payne 2002)

Gatehouse Comments

Geophysical survey, by N. Payne, in 2001 located the manor in a field known as Great Orchard next to Courthill House.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST993584
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Smith, P.L., 2013, The Bishop's Palace at Salisbury (Reading: Spire Books) p. 184-87
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 627-9, 695
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 167, 168, 184
  • Pugh, R.B. and Crittall, E., 1953, VCH Wiltshire Vol. 7 p. 207- (tenurial history) online transcription
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 334, 411 online copy


  • Payne, Naomi, 2002, 'A recent geophysical survey on the site of the residence of the medieval bishops of Salisbury at Potterne' Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol. 95 p. 274-78 online copy
  • 1976, Wiltshire Archaeology and Natural History Bulletin Vol. 20 p. 8-10
  • McGlashen, N.D., and Sandall, R.E., 1974, 'The bishops of Salisbury's house at his manor of Potterne' Wiltshire Archaeology and Natural History Magazine Vol. 69 p. 85-96, 101-5 online copy
  • Jones, W.H., 1876, 'Potterne' Wiltshire Archaeology and Natural History Magazine Vol. 16 p. 260 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1334-38) Vol. 3 p. 498 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Richard II (1377-81) Vol. 1 p. 9, 10 online copy


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) p. 165-72 (available via EThOS)