Barrington Court
Barrington Court is a Tudor manor house begun c. 1538 and completed in the late 1550s, with a vernacular 17th-century stable court (1675), situated in Barrington, near Ilminster, Somerset, England. It was the first house acquired by the National Trust, in 1907, on the recommendation of the antiquarian Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Barrington Court, once dated 1514 and considered an early example of a symmetrical front, was completed in the late 1550s for William Clifton, a London merchant who had been assembling a Somerset estate. Its central entry porch leads into a screens passage with the Hall on the left and, an innovation, a service passage leading to the kitchen wing that occupies the right wing. A symmetrically sited gatehouse (rebuilt) was set far forward of the house, to permit a full view of its symmetrical facade. The interior of the house suffered from its demotion to a tenant farm, and from a fire in the early 19th century; after being almost derelict it was repaired under the supervision of Alfred Hoare Powell. Barrington Court was acquired by the Trust in 1907 and was leased to Col. Lyle of Tate & Lyle in the 1920s. He and his wife turned the house around and refurbished the court house and renovated Strode House (built by William Strode in the 17th century) which was originally a stable and coach block. It was at this time that the Lyles contracted Gertrude Jekyll to design the three formal gardens on the property that are kept in beautiful condition by the head gardener. The house was one of the first large properties acquired by the National Trust; it was not anticipated just how expensive repairs and maintenance would be, and even thirty years later it was still used as an example of why the Trust should be wary of taking on other country houses. Barrington Court was occupied by a tenant, Stuart Interiors, who took the lease in 1986 from Andrew Lyle, grandson of Col. Lyle (co-founder of Tate & Lyle). The company sold reproduction furniture. Stuart Interiors left Barrington Court in December 2008, and although the buildings has no furniture is open to visitors.

Barrington Court is noted for its Arts and crafts-style gardens for which garden designer Gertrude Jekyll provided planting plans, which are being used to restore the gardens, laid out in 1917 by J. E. Forbes, of the partnership Forbes & Tate, for Lieut-Col. A. Arthur Lyle, in a series of walled rooms that include a white garden, a rose and iris garden and a lily garden. The kitchen garden provides produce for the property's restaurant located in the adjacent Strode House; this includes all types of fruit and vegetables. The local school at Barrington and Ilton also have a vegetable plot where the children plant, tend and cook the produce; the walls are also strewn with apple, pear and plum trees.


2 photos

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via