Summer Outing 2015

We had been trying for a while to arrange a summer outing to Postlip Hall near Winchcombe, and were delighted finally to be able to find a suitable date for this. 25 members and guests visited the hall on the evening of Friday June 19.

The Postlip Estate is at the end of a three-quarter-mile drive off the B4632, between Cheltenham and Winchcombe. There has been a house at Postlip since before the Norman Conquest. The chapel, built about 1145, is the oldest of the present buildings. A medieval hall house, probably dating from the fifteenth century, is hiding inside the northeast corner of the hall. Giles Broadway, entrepreneur and chancer, built the much grander Jacobean frontage in 1614. The rest of the house was added gradually thereafter around a central courtyard. The great barn’s origins are something of a mystery, as no documents have survived. It might be as old as the 12th century chapel, or could have been built at any point between 1140 and about 1400.

It is now the home of a community called the Postlip Housing Association, who divided it into eight separate units between 1970 and 1985. The community maintains the hall, the barn, a mile or so of roads, several miles of drystone walling, a private water supply, a sewage treatment plant, a stream, ponds, and around twelve acres of woods and parkland. Some residents have specialised maintenance skills, and everybody pitches in. When they don’t have the skills or can’t learn them, they bring in skilled outsiders to help.

At the beginning of our visit Carol Harris, who was the excellent guide for our Winchcombe walkabout a couple of years ago, gave us a very informative illustrated talk about the history of the hall. Some of the hall’s residents then took us round, visiting the hall itself (including some normally unseen parts of people’s private homes), the chapel, and the great barn. The evening concluded with a splendid buffet supper prepared by some of the residents.

We are very grateful to the Postlip Housing Association for making us so welcome.