History of the House

Hello. My name is Archie Montgomery, farmer and member of the Montgomery family, owners of North Cadbury Court, our family home for 100 years but with a history dating back 700 years to 1300. It was first a medieval hall built by the de Moels and the original magnificent roof trusses are visible in several rooms today.

In 1337 it was sold to William Botreaux from Cornwall and a descendant, Elizabeth, rebuilt the neighbouring church in the early 1400’s, and founded a college for priests in 1427 in the house, though this was never established.

Sir Francis Hastings leased the building from his brother, the Earl of Huntingdon and in 1580’s built the large Elizabethan mansion, before it was sold in 1596 to Matthew Ewens, a Baron of the Exchequer.

In 1610 it was purchased by Richard Newman who had the misfortune of being imprisoned by Oliver Cromwell for lending his support to King Charles I but was forgiven a little later by King Charles II. The house and estates stayed in the Newman family for another 150 years.

The Bennett family purchased the house and its lands in the 1760’s and it remained in their family for the next 100 years. During that time they added a ballroom and the very attractive Georgian style south façade and their coat of arms can still be seen above the main door.

In 1910 the house and estate was purchased by my grandfather Sir Archibald Langman, who as a Londoner yearned for the rural pursuits, and he, with his young wife Eleanor, became active on the farm, and started making the cheddar cheese for which the estate is now world famous.

He had only recently returned from the Boer War where he had donated a field hospital. He and his friend and surgeon, Arthur Conan Doyle, were briefly taken prisoner by the enemy, and he personally took the amazing photographs behind the Boer lines that hang on the stairs.

During the Second World War a London nursery was evacuated into the house (apparently responsible for some of the stains on the ballroom floor!). After the war a large part of the house was lent to the YMCA as part of a scheme to train under-privileged city boys who wanted an entry into farming. Between 1948 and 1966 several hundred young men learnt their trade here, and many have returned from farms all over the world to revisit us.

North Cadbury Court remains to this day a key part of our farmed estate, the custodianship of which our family remains passionate about. The lovely house is as iconic as the hill we farm, Cadbury Castle, visible from its windows, and we hope that the Court’s future will be as enduring as those legends of King Arthur.

Archie Montgomery