Newark Park was originally a four-storey (three storeys over a basement) Tudor hunting lodge built between 1544 and 1556 for Sir Nicholas Poyntz, whose main seat was at Acton Court near Bristol, some fifteen miles to the south, an easy day's ride. The Poyntz family were anciently feudal barons of Curry Mallet in Somerset, later of Iron Acton in Gloucestershire. Poyntz was a Groom of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII and had recently remodeled Acton Park in anticipation of a royal visit. "Newark is equally fashionable in terms of its precocious classicism," observes Nicholas Cooper, who points out its rigorously symmetrical front, unprecedented in the main body of any great house in its time, and the correct Tuscan order of its original main door. The house was then called "New Work" and was partly constructed with building materials from the recently dissolved Kingswood Abbey. The lodge was three bays wide and of single-pile construction, one room deep. In the basement was a kitchen, there were two reception rooms on the ground floor and a banqueting room on the first. Modest sleeping quarters were provided on the third floor, and the roof was flat so that it could be used as a pleasurable lookout over the surrounding countryside, in which it enjoys a commanding position. Poyntz's original lodge now forms the eastern part of the present structure.
In 1600 the lodge was sold to the Low family of London who in 1672 significantly extended the building by the addition of a second four-storey building to the west, which was joined to the original by a passage stairway creating an H-shaped footprint. The Lows owned Newark Park until 1722 when it was sold for £6,010 to the Harding family who after making some minor alterations sold it to James Clutterbuck. The Clutterbucks engaged the architect James Wyatt to remodel it into a four-square house in 1790. Their improvements included the creation of a formal deer-park to the south of the house and landscaping of the rest of the grounds. The Clutterbucks left Newark in 1860 and let it out, but even though it was tenanted the occupants continued to make alterations and improvements. Mrs Annie Poole King family, widow of a Bristol shipping merchant, took the leasehold in 1898. A member of the Berkeley Hunt, she had five children, plus a house staff of a coachman, cook, housekeeper, and gardener. The King family added servants' quarters on the north side, installed a hot-air heating system and ran hot water to the second floor. The Kings stayed at Newark until 1949 when the last of the line died and the then owner, Mrs Power-Clutterbuck, gave Newark Park and its estates to the National Trust.
Newark Park stands proud on top of the Cotswold escarpment, looking down into the Ozleworth valley and to the Mendips beyond. The Newark estate is situated in an unspoilt corner of Gloucestershire, with barely a sign of modern life visible in any direction. A place of architectural intrigue, quaint gardens and sprawling parkland there is much to see and do at Newark. There is a drop-off point for disabled visitors. There is a ramped entrance to the house. Ground floor accessible. Stairs to other floors. Grounds - steep slopes, uneven paths, partly accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire GL12 7PZ
Transport: Cam & Dursley (National Rail) then bus (60). Bus Routes : 60, 309 and 310 go to Wotton under Edge (1.7 miles).
Opening Times : Wednesday to Monday 11:00 to 17:00. Closed Tuesdays.
Tickets : Adults £7.80; Children £3.90
Tel: 01793 817666