Urchfont Manor College

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Urchfont Manor College was a residential college for adult education near the village of Urchfont in Wiltshire, England, about 7 miles (11 km) from the market town of Devizes. The college opened in 1947 and closed in 2012. Also used as a conference centre, it was owned and operated by Wiltshire County Council and later by Wiltshire Council.

Urchfont Manor

The house was built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It was rebuilt between 1678 and 1700 by Sir William Pynsent, Member of Parliament for Devizes, in the Restoration style. The last of the Pynsent family, another Sir William Pynsent, died without an heir in 1765 and left his estates in Somerset and Wiltshire to William Pitt the Elder, in gratitude for Pitt's opposition to a new tax of ten shillings on each hogshead of cider. Pitt kept the Somerset estates at Burton Pynsent but sold his new property at Urchfont to the third Duke of Queensberry, and the house was then occupied by tenants until it was bought by Simon Watson Taylor in 1843. In 1928, his heirs sold it to Hamilton Rivers Pollock (1884-1941), a barrister who lived there until his death.

For the rest of the Second World War, Urchfont Manor was a home for children evacuated from London. In 1945 it was bought by Wiltshire County Council to establish an adult education centre, which opened in 1947. The building was designated as Grade II* listed in 1962.[1]


Courses were offered in visual and performing arts and media, also family learning. Most programmes were accredited. In its final years, more than one thousand students were enrolled at any time. Some courses were provided directly by the Local Education Authority and some by partners such as the Workers Educational Association or by other agencies, some within the voluntary sector.


The college was managed by a Management Board of governors, most appointed by Wiltshire Council as Local Education Authority, plus the Director of the college, one elected representative of the teaching staff, and a student member.


The college closed in September 2012 and its sale for residential use was completed in 2013.[2]


  1. Historic England. "Urchfont Manor (1035857)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Council-owned Wiltshire mansion sells for more than £2.7m". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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