Our Story

The Commonwork Trust at Bore Place

The Commonwork Trust was set up in 1977 by Neil (pictured) and Jenifer Wates after they bought Bore Place in 1976. The founders’ vision was to explore how to live and work sustainably understanding and recognising the interconnectedness of the environmental, social, economic and political aspects of sustainability. They sought to achieve this through practical action and by working cooperatively with others in order to share and inspire change.

Today, these founding principles remain at the heart of what we do at Bore Place. Jenifer Wates, still remains closely involved at Bore Place in her role as Trustee Emeritus.

"When Neil and I set up Commonwork in 1976, we saw it as an exploration of ‘learning by doing’. We had become concerned about the exploitation of natural resources, the lack of opportunity for people to reach their full potential, and the rampant individualism of our culture, feeling that if this were to change it would require a massive shift in our thinking. Our sense was and still remains that we can contribute to this change by seeking to live it in practice and share our experience with others. This is what all our work here is about."  Jenifer Wates, trustee emeritus and co-founder.

“To discover how to be human now is the reason we follow this star”  by W.H. Auden has long been a guiding inspiration for the Trust.

What we do

We work towards sustainable solutions in farming, education and the environment. We welcome 1000s of visitors, of all ages and abilities throughout the year, some come to develop their own work and projects, others to take part in what we offer.

In 2016 we celebrated our 40th anniversary and now look forward to welcoming new and existing visitors to our beautiful site and all the opportunities it offers.

And some history...

The name Bore Place was first recorded for this site in the 1300s. Over the years the site has had mixed fortunes. It was a substantial property in late Tudor times, owned by families connected with the royal court but by the 1800s the land and property were farmed by tenant farmers. The core of Bore Place House is late Tudor and the converted farm buildings date from the 1700s. In the early 20th century the buildings were added to as part of a thriving mixed farm, and the house renovated. When the Wates acquired it in the 1970s more renovations were carried out over a number of years, making it the beautiful and serviceable place it is today.

Take a look at the timeline of Commonwork at Bore Place below for some more recent history.

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