This is a wonderful place to visit, considered by many to be the most perfect of small, classic, medieval buildings in England today, the house is surrounded by magical gardens; truly worthy of a days exploration. In the early 14th century the local lord of the manor were the Bluett and Cothay families who owned it along with nearby Greenham Barton. The house was built about 1480 and it is cited it as an unusually well-conserved, neat collection of buildings before 1500 in England. The rent for the land surrounding the manor in the medieval era was a pair of silver spurs and a rose. To celebrate the end of the Cousins' Wars, in the Tudor rose iconography of the time, a red rose (for Lancashire), and a white rose (for Yorkshire), were planted on the terrace by Richard Bluett, who was the lord of the manor at the time. The gardens were laid out in the 1920s by Colonel Reginald Cooper DSO, who was Sissinghurst Castle Garden owner Sir Harold Nicolson's oldest friend, having been at school together at Wellington College, Berkshire, in the Diplomatic Corps; and were friends of Hidcote Manor Garden's Major Lawrence Johnston and Edwin Lutyens. The gardeners exchanged ideas, and in Nicholson's diaries there is an entry: "Reggie came to stay and advised me on the length of the bowling green." Cooper's larger projects included moving the River Tone to save his favourite pine trees from erosion.
The former home of Taunton MP Edward du Cann, in 1993 du Cann sold the property to Alastair and Mary-Anne Robb. Alastair’s great-grandmother Mary-Anne was a plant hunter, with the Wood Spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘var. robbiae’ named after her, nicknamed "Mrs Robb’s Bonnet" because she had to hide it in her hat to smuggle it through customs. With the whole property and gardens in need of renovation, the gardens were gutted and rebuilt along the original Cooper structure. The Robbs also added new garden areas, including a bog garden in the Oxbow, an Arboretum planted, and a wild flower meadow sown. Many garden rooms, each a garden in itself, are set off a 200 yard yew walk.
You enter the manor through the ancient Gatehouse into a courtyard, and then pass through the front door, with its 10” key, to the Screens Passage. Off this passage is the Great Hall, with its magnificent roof and gallery. From here you will enter the following rooms: The Winter Parlour, The Dining Room, The Gold Room, The Oratory, The Guest Chamber, The Book Room, The Georgian Hall and The Great Chamber. In each of these rooms you will find new treasures, from uncovered 15th century wall paintings to Stained Glass windows and 17th century oak panelling. No dogs allowed. Tours of the house are given on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The gardens are fully wheelchair accessible however due to the age of the house there are some limitations on access to the house. Children are not allowed on the House Tours.
Location : Greenham, Nr. Wellington, Somerset TA21 OJR
Transport: Tiverton Parkway (West Somerset Rail) then taxi. Bus Routes : None.
Opening Times Gardens: Tuesday to Thursday, Bank Holidays + Sunday 11:00 - 17:00
Opening Times House Tours: Sunday 11:45 - 14:15
Tickets Gardens: Adults £7.80; Children £3.90
Tickets House Tours: Adults £6.95; No Children Allowed
Tel: 01823 672283