Broom Court in History

The former manor-house, Broom Court, was built by Sir Simon Clarke in about 1618. (fn. 13) It is said to have been burnt out, and though the shell of the present house is probably original the details are no earlier than mid 18th century.

Behind the original rectangular block a modern enlargement in brick connects up with a detached stone building of the date of the house. The front, which faces south, is of plain ashlar, and of two stories and attics; it has a middle porch, the entrance doorway flanked by round shafts with Tuscan capitals and bases on plain pedestals.

The windows are modern bays, but three upper mullioned windows are probably original; above each is a shield with the Clarke arms. In the roof are three gabled dormers. The sidewalls are of alternate large and small courses of squared lias rubble. They probably each had two gables afterwards altered for two 18th-century chimney-shafts.

The plan has a middle entrance and stair hall and on each side were formerly two rooms, each with angle fire-places; the middle partitions have been removed and the two fire-places altered into one; the beams are encased.

The 18th-century staircase has turned balusters. The upper rooms have ancient chamfered beams, and a little panelling and several doors of the 17th century. A small modern window next to the entrance contains 17th-century glass achievements of arms of Woodchurch and Clarke with their names: Roger Woodchurch and Isabel Wakehert, Sir Simon Woodchurche, knight, and Susan Clarke, Humfry Clarke and Margaret Maynye, and William Clarke and Elizabeth Winterborne.

A coped garden wall east of the house is original; a short return wall with an embattled parapet may have been the side of a summer-house; in a merlon is a shield with the Clarke quarterings and badge of Ulster. Two other shields are reset in the end of the same wall. Farther east and north of the house are the remains of a moat inclosing a large area; it is now mostly dry and reduced in part to little more than a ditch.

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