A small Renaissance (C17) manor house, farmed until 2002 when the current owners bought it as their home, saving it from imminent collapse.

Architect Andy Paterson, with the help of his wife Zanna (lecturer specialising in Renaissance drama), has lovingly repaired it, and work is still being completed on the second floor.

Andy and Zanna are only the third owner-occupiers, which to some extent explains why Rugbourne is substantially unchanged since it was first built, and retains its architectural and tactile integrity.

It is noted for its most famous tenant, William Smith, who began the first ever stratological map of Britain in this house, an excellent print of which is on view. He called Rugbourne ‘the birthplace of English geology’.

This property is viewable only through Invitation to View

Tour features

The whole house including cellar and attic. Visitors are welcome to spend time outside after the tour, including picnicking in the farm garden, orchard, wood and pasture (13 acres).


From the A39 (travelling south from Bath towards Wells) in High Littleton, take the eastward left-hand fork (downhill in the middle of the village) out of the village, signed Timsbury Road ‘to Timsbury’. Recreation field on your left, exiting the village, and just after the ‘no speed restriction’ sign you will see a black and white 1950s sign ‘To Rugbourne Farm from where William Smith, Father of English Geology lodged…’ Follow that track (left from the public lane) and at the bottom you will find the house.

Where the track meets the public road can be difficult for a full-size coach, but no problem with a medium-large one if the driver is good! The alternative is to let everyone off at the top of the lane, and we can ferry people down in our own cars if anyone has mobility problems. It's about 200m from the house. The coach can park in the recreation ground car park up the hill from the house on the edge of High Littleton village.


Tea and cake.

Access notes

Wheelchair access to ground floor only. Step up on front path but we can provide a ramp if requested.


No stilettos because of uneven floors; well-behaved children and dogs allowed. A friendly dog lives at the house.


Interested? Click the button below to see available dates. If you're a member and are logged in you'll be able to see the discounted option also.


2019 tour dates

  • 13 April
  • 11 May
  • 6 July
  • 14 September

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All 2019 tours are £14.00 per person, with a discount for Historic Houses members.