Wessex Attractions: Barrington Court

Barrington Court is a Tudor manor in Somerset built from Ham Hill Stone which, in 1907, became the first country house to be bought by the National Trust. The site was originally a Roman villa, but the present house dates back to 1559. It was constructed in the classic Elizabethan E shape, with projecting wings and a central porch.

The house was the country retreat of one William Clifton (c1510-1564), master of the Merchant Tailor's Guild in That London. After Clifton's death, it passed to his descendants until it was bought in 1625 by the wealthy Strode family, cloth merchants from Shepton Mallet.

After passing through a succession of owners, it was gifted to the National Trust by Julia Woodward of Clevedon. Its restoration was paid for by the Lyle family, of Tate & Lyle fame.

Today, the gardens, designed by Gertrude Jekyll, and surrounding parkland are open to the public; and there is a cafe and a shop. The postcode is TA19 0NQ, but the Trust advises visitors not to use this for satnav purposes, as it directs people to the rear entrance. Follow the brown tourist signs instead. The house is also served by Stagecoach bus services 632 and 633, Ilminster to Martock.