The house is a moated manor house built around 1465–1480 for Thomas Tropenell, a modest member of the landed gentry who made a fortune as a clothier. The independent hall, lit on both sides, is flanked by unusually symmetrical gabled cross wings, with oriel windows and lower gabled porches in the inner corners, in the north-facing former entrance court, for which the richest effects were reserved. Its external symmetry, unusual for its date, is superficial. The intimately connected parish church, largely rebuilt by Tropnell, also faces into the court, which was formerly entered obliquely through a gatehouse in the west wing; Nicholas Cooper observes of the church that "the probable need to pass through the house's forecourt in order to reach it neatly demonstrates the community of secular and religious authority". Part of a moat survives, but the forecourt has been opened up to the outside in a manner that changes its original inward-facing aspect. It was altered substantially (with some of the original character lost) after the Neale family commissioned the architect Thomas Larkins Walker, a pupil of Pugin, to carry out a detailed survey of the manor in 1836; though his restoration proposals of 1837 were never carried out, the house was reduced and in particular, the great hall, adapted as a farmhouse, lost its ornate ceiling, with only one of the original bosses surviving.
Externally there is a garden with four "tree houses", groups of four clipped yews that have grown together and been hollowed out inside to allow one to walk through. A feature of the church is the unusual "bellcote", a stone belfry built on to the gable peak. The house and garden were purchased by George Fuller MP (of Neston Park) in the early 1900s, and restored and furnished between 1905 and 1911 by his fourth son, Major Robert Fuller, under the guidance of Sir Harold Brakspear. The restoration included a sympathetic garden design by Alfred Parsons. There is a Braille guide. Mobility toilets are located in The Old Woodshed, 40 yards from main house. The Grounds are partly accessible with ramped access to parts of the garden from the forecourt. There are four steps to the entrance with one wheelchair to borrow. The Ground floor has steps to dining room and hall. Stairs to other floors. Manor access by guided tour only.
Location : near Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 8NH
Transport: Bradford on Avon (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : the Bradford on Avon to Holt bus stops near by.
Opening Times Gardens: Tuesdays to Thursdays 11:00 - 17:00; Sundays 14:00 - 17:00
Opening Times Manor Tours: Tuesdays to Thursdays 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 ; Sundays 14.00, 15:00, 16:00
Tickets Manor + Gardens: Adults £9.00; Children £4.50
Tickets Gardens Only: Adults £5.60; Children £2.80
Tel: 01225 782239