Overton Court House

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are no visible remains

NameOverton Court House
Alternative NamesThe Well House
Historic CountryHampshire and the Isle of Wight
Modern AuthorityHampshire
1974 AuthorityHampshire
Civil ParishOverton

Farmhouse and courthouse to the Bishop of Winchester, now house, and attached former outbuilding. 1st half C16; early C18; late C18, and early C19. Timber frame with plastered wattle and daub infill, part replaced by brick infill, entrance (south) elevation of red brick in header bond, otherwise mostly in Flemish bond, with blue headers to left return. Some flint. Concrete tiles to roof with clay tiles to attached former outbuildings. 2 storeys; partial cellar to front range. Rear (north) range the former farmhouse of 3 bays, comprising probably parlour, open hall (at centre) and services; the right bay rebuilt as a bakehouse and store late C18; and a narrow ½-bay added at left end. Projecting southwards from this range is the former courthouse wing. This was separately framed, but the two ranges are linked, it was originally of 4 bays with a cross-passage at north end. In the early C18 the southernmost bay was truncated and the whole refronted, incorporating a 3 x 3 bay addition on the east (right-hand) side. Linked to the west side of this range is a former outbuilding of the late C18/early C19. Entrance elevation : of 5 symmetrical bays. Plinth. Central pedimented bay projects slightly and has stuccoed doorcase with a plain entablative, attached half-octagonal columns, architrave, and half-glazed door with glazing bars. Late C20 replacement 12 -pane sashes, on ground floor taller and with keyed gauged flat brick arches. Moulded eaves. Hipped roof'with tall external stack on left.Left return has 3 1st floor windows as before and single-storey link to outbuilding, which is of 1½ storeys, 3 bays, and has board door on left; 3 light window to centre; blocked window to right with small window over. Stepped dentilled eaves; and gabled window rising from eaves on left roof hipped on right. Rear (north range); timber frame exposed; with square panels and various small-pane windows

Left bay is of header-bond brick with stepped dentillec eaves, and projecting single-storey outbuilding roof hipped at left end. Stack forward of ridge between left bays, and to rear of ridge at right end. Right gable end has segmental-arched board door and window on ground floor; 3 windows on 1st floor, that at centre blind; and blind window above Interior: rear (north range); timber frame has jowelled wall posts; large arch braces; chamfered wall plates; studs; chamfered beams, at left end with hollow stops; joists; floor boards and partition wall between left - hand bays. C16 roof survives over left-hand bays, sooted over former open hall, having collared queen post trusses with braces from tie-beams, to principal rafters and queen struts rising from the collars; 2 tiers of purlins and curved and reverse-curved wind-braces; old rafters. Right -hand bay has queen-strut trusses, 2 tiers of butt purlins and old rafters. C18 doors; architraves, cupboards; raised and fielded panelling in ground-floor left room; stair; with column-on-vase balasters and columnar newels with ball finials to landing balustrade; and fireplace with 2 bread ovens in right-hand bay. Front wing; the timber framing is more concealed, but on ground floor at rear is original, chamfered, Tudor-arched doorway with sunk spandrels and old board door; chamfered beams; and roof structure as over rear range but with chamfered and stopped purlins. C18 features include panelling; old doors, shutters and architraves; plaster cornices; fireplaces; and fine stair with purlinated closed string, vase balusters on tall plinths, fluted columnar newels, ramped and moulded handrail, and panelled dado. The former outbuilding has brick floor; chamfered cross-beams stair with stick balusters and polygonal finials, and open arch-braced roof trusses. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Residential manor of the bishop of Winchester. The present residence and court house at Overton is a C16 timber-framed successor to the earlier episcopal house next to the parish church.

- 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 ReferenceSU513499
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Calculate Print


  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 430-34
  • Roberts, E., 2003, Hampshire Houses 1250-1700: Their Dating and Development (Winchester: Hampshire County Council)


  • Roberts, E., 1995, 'Overton Court Farm and the Late Medieval Farmhouses of Demesne Lessees in Hampshire' Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club Archaeological Society Vol. 51 p. 89-106.
  • Roberts, E., 1990, Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society Newsletter Vol. 14 p. 30-1

Primary Sources


  • Dave Hopkins, 2004, Extensive Urban Survey - Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (English Heritage) Download 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)