Manor Court House
1550 Residences of the Cogans wealthy cloth merchants. Upstairs hall has molded ceilings. In 1644 King Charles I was unwillingly entertained by George Barcroft.
Waterloo House was probably one large house but is now divided into four, probably dating after the great fire of Chard in 1578, arranged asymmetrically along the street. Evidence suggest that this grand Elizabethan town house was built by a local wool merchant, Philobert Cogan, before 1602, The map study indicates that the four tenements that make up this property occupy part of an original medieval property granted in 1235 when Chard was founded as a new town and which may have originally included the George Hotel to the east. To the street is a 3 story 4 gabled front. The left-hand gable has good squared flintwork, the center is of Ham Hill stone.
With thanks to Craig Douglas.
Behind the frontage there have been many alterations, but all the front rooms are said to have enriched plaster ceilings, including one with a frieze of embossed leather panels.
Manor Court House
The Manor Court House is a range to the rear which forms part of the same building and is reached by a passageway through Waterloo House.
This place has been called the Justice Hall, the Bishop’s Palace or Manor Court House. The Hall served as a place in which the lord of the manor or his steward sat to receive the customs and where disputes were settled, and justice administer to all.
It is mostly known for its excellent example of Elizabethan plasterwork.
The upstairs room is approximately 30 by 20 foot and the two large windows, strangely not opposite one another have 10 lights each, the arched heads being for centered in form.
The coved ceiling handsomely decorated in stamped plaster is probably Elizabethan in date.
Immediately on the left is a representation of the judgement of Solomon. And adjoining this is justice with a sword. In the center is another medallion, showing he Hebrews (Shadrach Meshach and Abednego) in the fiery furnace. Next comes a female figure reading a book and intended to symbolize law, and lastly, we have Daniel in the den of a very innocuous lot of Lions. The two halves of the ceiling exhibit a strange difference. The panels of one contain animal figures – a hare with the wings and body of a bird, dogs’ heads holding branches, the necks of geese, or one neck with three heads and a leafy branch trailing from mouth to mouth. The other half has on the contrary, fruits, flowers, and stars.
Daniel in the den of of Lions.
Over the wide fireplace is a phoenix, which is supposed to be emblematical of the great and glorious Queen Bess, and on each side of the phoenix are two grotesque demi-figures.
There are not many records of life in Chard at this time only when things come to court or are written in diaries or noted down by clergy does information become accessible. William Cogan claimed that at the beginning of the war he was subject at Chard to the two garrisons of Taunton for the King and at Lyme for Parliament. He was so plundered that he had scarce a bed to lie upon. He then went to Exeter and agreed that he had contributed to the force against Parliament. He had endured great losses; his house hadbeen spoilt and made uninhabitable. Having taken the National Covenant and the Negative Oath in 1646 his fine was assessed at £40.
The cloth Chard made was both for home and overseas use; by the end of 16th century merchants in ‘Brittanie, La Rochelle and Bordeaux were importing Chard cloth and the bill of landing of the ship ‘Foresight’ in Lyme Harbor includes these consignments from Chard ‘clothiers’.
From Edward Mondaie of Chard English Merchant
36 pieces of ‘redinges’ and 8 coarse broadcloths
From Robert Tucker of Chard
8 Broadcloths and 13 pieces of redinge
From Henry Mondaie of Chard Merchant
48 pieces of course redinge
From John Cogane of Chard Merchant
12 pieces of baies (possibly baize) and 24 pieces of redinge.
This consignment contained in a ship of just 30 tons burthen’ was dispatched on September 22nd 1586, for the ‘llandes’.
Records also show that William Cogan was a constable 21 December 1620.