Why was Church House Built?
Church House was built in 1515; made possible by a charitable joint gift from the Lords of the Crowcombe manors. Until the 16th Century the only place large enough to hold church ales had been the nave of the church. However, in the early 1500s, Church authorities encouraged parishes to build ‘church houses’ for this purpose, leaving the church for worship only.
What was Church House used for?
Church House provided facilities for church ales - to brew ale and bake bread, which villagers enjoyed upstairs, together with dancing. These feasts and celebrations took place in the Gallery.
When church ales fell out of favour during the Puritan movement, downstairs housed six poor people and by 1661 a charity school was accommodated upstairs. In 1838 the poor moved to the Williton Workhouse and when Crowcombe’s village school opened in 1872, Church House stood empty. Over the next 30 years it fell into disrepair. In 1908, Crowcombe’s Rector, the Rev Henry Christian Young came to its rescue. He gained charitable status, raised funds and led a major restoration.
In 2007, the charity undertook a significant internal refurbishment of the building and in 2016 completed comprehensive conservation of the exterior. Church House remains a much loved building in our village and we are proud to offer it as a beautiful and affordable venue for hire.
Download our leaflet for more information about Church House