The Story Behind This Cute Round House In Stanton Drew

Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd - Staff Writer


Originally, back in the 18th century, The Round House was a toll house. Nowadays, it’s a country home with staycation paradise potential, and was on the market back in 2018 for around £140,000. Despite its name, it’s actually hexagonal in shape. One of Somerset’s coolest optical illusions!

You’ll find The Round House in Stanton Drew on the road between Chew Magna and Pensford, and around seven miles from Bristol. The two-storey, Grade II listed building was built around 1793 by the West Harptree Turnpike Trust and served as a toll house when turnpikes (toll gates) were in use. A pouch would hang on the door for carriage drivers to deposit their toll.

Toll houses were built next to the turnpikes as someone needed to be collecting the tolls 24 hours a day. The standard toll house design adopted in the 1820s was of a small, single-story cottage with a polygonal bay front, like The Round House. Turnpikes were generally placed outside the town so that local businesses did not have to pay the toll. However, the remoteness of their locations meant that the toll houses were vulnerable to theft and as a precaution, they tended to be fitted with bars and a safe.

Many toll houses were demolished when the turnpike trusts were abolished particularly if their position restricted the width of the road. Others were sold into private ownership, like this one in Stanton Drew when the toll was abolished in 1876.
Locals say a family of eight once lived within its small confines, with bunk beds built amid the roof rafters. The exposed beams remain today – but it still takes some imagination to see how eight people once fit. It would certainly have been ‘cosy.’

The hexagonal Round House includes an open plan kitchen and living area, as well a modern shower room on the ground floor. A narrow twisting staircase leads to a double bedroom which has a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams, and as you look out the windows you’ll be met with breathtaking views of the Chew Valley countryside. Chapel shaped windows with shutters, an arched entrance door and an out of service post box all add to the charm of this property.

The teeny floor plan of this one-up, one-down building reaches the heady heights of 286 square feet – rivalling any city centre micro apartment. However they say size isn’t everything – and it’s certainly true in the case of this well-known landmark. What The Round House doesn’t have in size, it makes up for in character.

You can find out more about this gorgeous thatched house by following the owner’s Instagram account as they document living there and making restorations to it.

Tags: local trip
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