King John's Hunting Lodge, Axbridge
|King John's Hunting Lodge|
|Town or city||Axbridge|
The building comprised shops on the ground floor, living areas and workshops on the first floor, and storage and sleeping areas on the second floor. In 1340 a building with shops occupied the same site; it belonged to John Oldeway and was called "the stockhouse". This house is the finest of a number of wood-framed houses in the High Street and The Square, unusual in a town where stone buildings, generally rendered with plaster or mortar, were common. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the building housed a succession of shops and underwent various changes which contributed to its physical decline. It was saved from probable destruction thanks to a Miss Ripley, who bought it and bequeathed it to the National Trust, who in turn undertook the works necessary to make it fit for visitors. In overhauling the structure of the premises in 1971, the National Trust restored its medieval character by recreating on the ground floor the appearance of arcaded stalls opening onto the street, and the sixteenth-century decoration of the upstairs windows, although this did cause some dilemmas as it required the removal of fine 18th-century windows.
The property is owned by the National Trust and run as a local history museum by Axbridge and District Museum Trust with support from Somerset County Museums Service and Axbridge Archaeological and Local History Society. Until 2011 funding was received from Sedgemoor District Council, however this was withdrawn and an entry charge introduced to help pay for the running costs.
The museum aims to illustrate the history, geology and community of Axbridge and the surrounding area (the area of the old Axbridge Rural District, which included many neighbouring villages such as Cheddar, Wedmore, Mark and Winscombe). There is a core of long-term and permanent exhibits, reviewed regularly for possible changes, updates, and revised displays and information, and there is a programme of temporary exhibitions to reflect many aspects of local life and heritage.
The origin of the name is unclear as it was not built until long after the reign of King John, who died in 1216. Its present name first appeared in a 1915 publication, The Heart of Mendip by Francis Knight, when it was being run as a saddler's shop. The royal part of the name may have come from the fact that a carved king's head was found nearby, but whether this represented John or another king is not known. The head is now attached to one corner of the exterior.
- "King John's Hunting Lodge". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-05-09.
- "King John's Hunting Lodge". Axbridge and District Museum. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Reid, Robert Douglas (1979). Some buildings of Mendip. The Mendip Society. ISBN 0-905459-16-4.
- Egginton, Steve (May 2011). "Town rallies round its museum". Mendip Times.
- "The Medieval Burgh of Axbridge". Time Travel-Britain.com. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- King John's Hunting Lodge information at the National Trust
- King John's Hunting Lodge from the 24 hour museum
- Details from listed building database (268654) . Images of England. English Heritage.