St Dunstan’s House


Overview of requirements and actions July 2016

1 Introduction

St Dunstan’s House is a three-bedroom town house located on Magdalene Street, Glastonbury. The property was recently purchased by Glastonbury Town Council, who already own the main St Dunstan’s car park and Glastonbury Town Hall. St Dunstan’s House is located between these assets. The purchase of the property from Glastonbury Abbey was completed in May 2016 and provides an opportunity to ensure the disabled access and emergency exit routes from the Town Hall are safe-guarded for the future.

At this time, the future use of the premises has not been defined. The remit received from the Town Council is that the building “must not be a financial burden to the residents of Glastonbury”. A consultation process will commence in the late summer of 2016, when the views and ideas of Glastonbury’s residents will be invited.

2:1 Location

Magdalene Street is on the main entrance into Glastonbury from the south east direction. St Dunstan’s House is located to the east of Magdalene Street adjacent to the St Dunstan’s car park. This park doubles as the dropping off and collection point for coach visitors to the town. The building is adjacent to the Town Hall and was for certain once a prominent building in the area due to its size and location.

In addition to the coaches using St Dunstan’s car park, the service buses which travel between Bristol/Bath and Taunton/Yeovil pass regularly through the town. Magdalene Street is the main bus stop for these routes and is therefore central to the majority of visitors to the town by either car, coach or bus. The taxi rank is also located in Magdalene Street.

2:2 Description

St Dunstan’s House is an attractive and intriguing, rather than an elegant town house on two storeys (with attics) that dates from the late C18 or early C19. The building is a detached property with a small, open front garden with a larger secluded rear garden and a side access way for pedestrians and vehicles.



The principal structures are of rubble masonry, with brick to the front (west) elevation and parts of the side elevations. The main roofs are double-pitched timber structures with local clay tile coverings. Rear service wing roofs are variously slated and of
corrugated iron. This part of the building is of less substantial construction and in poor condition. Windows are painted, softwood framed. There is a hardwood, framed gallery balcony at the rear.

The building is in a fundamentally ‘tired’ condition. The primary fabric – walls, floors and roof structures appear sound in the main, although various surveys have identified areas which need further attention (See inspections below). Remedial repairs to stop the ingress of water to the building is a priority.

The front (west) boundary wall retains the paved front garden around 900mm above pavement level. This is in a fragile condition, particularly the south west corner adjacent to the car park. The south boundary was opened up in 1930 to allow access for motor vehicles. The east boundary wall was reconstructed in 2008 on an angled line to allow an improved view of the Abbey entrance from the car-park.


Historic significance

3.1 Reason for listing

The following text has been lifted from the English Heritage website. A directory of all listed buildings states:

Magdalene Street

1133 (East Side) St Dunstan’s House ST 4938/7/163 11 GV

C18 House with front remade in early/mid C19. 2 Storeys.

Red brick with ashlar dressings.

Pantile roof, gable end parapets with kneelers.

Moulded eaves cornice.

Banded quoins. 3 Windows with keystones.

Sashes without glazing bars.

Entrance on south side.

Range with wooden gallery continues to rear.

The Town Hall, St Dunstan’s House, Abbey Gatehouse with No’s 6 – 9 (consecutively) Market Place form a very important group

Listing NGR ST 4992138854
Conservation Area

The whole site is included within the Glastonbury Abbey Scheduled Monument area (NM No 1021077). St Dunstan’s House itself (although not the land beneath it) is specifically excluded and is listed Grade II



The vision for St Dunstan’s House

A full consultation process will commence in the late summer when the residents of Glastonbury will have an opportunity to present their thoughts and ideas on the future use of the premises. The remit from Glastonbury Town Council is “that St Dunstan’s House must not be a financial burden to Glastonbury residents.



The two ground floor chimneys were inspected in October 2013. Only one chimney could be cleaned during this visit due to being unable to remove the baffle plate from the front of the Jetmaster fire in the large room with the garden aspect. A video camera was passed through this chimney which revealed evidence of a disused birds nest and creosote staining.

The chimney in the room on the right of the side entrance corridor was swept on this visit. The inspection found this chimney to be structurally sound, although there was no evidence to suggest that the fire had been lit in recent years.

Timber Inspection – summary

Roof space

Signs of water penetration. Partially opened up to expose lath and plaster with straw/thatch behind. Problem detected with decay, possibly to the rafters and roof plate. The clay tiled roof is damaged and will require attention to make watertight. Further exploratory work required although the problem is considered wet rot decay and once rainwater penetration is sorted should resolve itself.

Timber window lintels

A crack above the plaster revealed wet rot in 3 timber window lintels. It appears these need to be replaced. Cause could be a blocked gutter. These are oak lintels and will most probably have to be replaced – like for like.

Drawing room crack in ceiling plaster.

Possibly caused by movement of the building structure. No obvious signs of infestation
Bathroom – first floor

Wet rot found to the laths, which is why the plaster has come away from the underside of the floor joists. It appears these joists have not been affected by the wet rot identified elsewhere.

General observations

Roof timbers

Evidence of active Death Watch Beetle or Common Furniture Beetle was found. Anticipated that a specialist treatment would eliminate the problem.

Tenement roofing

Evidence of active Common Furniture Beetle was found in the rafters. Treatment guidance is to brush clean as required before treating with an insecticide

Flank wall of rear tenement

On removal of the rendering to the external walls, the extent of wet rot damage to the lintels will be exposed. Repairing the gutters and down pipes will stop the water penetration problem, yet the extent of repairs is as yet unknown.

Ground floor

The majority of the ground floors appear sound. Joist ends and wall plates should be further inspected for signs of decay.

Asbestos – summary

a) Kitchen

Insulation on pipework at ceiling height along rear wall

b) Pantry between kitchen and bathroom

Insulation on pipework at ceiling height along rear wall

c) Bathroom

Insulation on pipework at ceiling height along rear wall

d) Oil tank store

Stored roof slates by tank

Bathroom (1st floor)
Panel on wall at tap end of bath

Stored panel by window

Toilet WC (1st floor)
Black toilet seat

g) External

Slates on canopy roof


Overall, the general condition of the electrical installations is considered good



The property has been divided into two parts, the front rooms on two floors have their own entrance looking south towards the car park. Three offices are on the first floor and two on the ground floor with a small kitchenette and single toilet WC. Access to the first floor is currently through the largest of the two ground floor offices. This may restrict future occupation of the building, as security will be more difficult to implement.

The main body of the building is currently identified as being residential. There are two entrances to this part of the building, one adjacent to the office entrance to the south of the building and the other to the north, which serves the vehicular access side of the building. If required, a fourth entrance could be opened through the utility area to the north east of the building which would serve the kitchen.

Gardens and Landscape

The gardens of St Dunstan’s House take two forms. The front of the building towards Magdalene Street (west) has a boundary wall retaining the paved front garden around 900mm above pavement level. This is in a fragile condition, particularly the south west corner adjacent to the car park. An idea being considered is the formation of a disability access ramp in this area to improve access to both the Town Hall and St Dunstan’s House. The foliage in this area is in need of attention, with many of the shrubs overgrown. From this raised paved area, there is a side entrance to the rear garden. Two of our volunteer gardeners, Arthur and Jan, are working to clear the old brambles and plant garlic for the spring.



A secluded, enclosed rear garden is an oasis in the middle of Glastonbury’s bustle. Approximately 70% of this area is laid to lawn, with shrubs and small trees planted around the two sides. A wooden glasshouse is located adjacent to the utility wall. This area benefits from direct views to Glastonbury Abbey in the foreground and Glastonbury Tor in the distance. Whilst work is required on both the front and back garden areas, this is not considered to be too onerous. img_0294