Lytes Cary Manor
Built and owned by the Lyte family from the 13th to the 18th century, this delightful manor house is a step back in time.
In the neighbouring county of Somerset sits Lytes Cary Manor, a National Trust run property which was bequeathed to their care in 1948. On a sunny Sunday morning in March we visited this quintessentially English manor house, by arriving early we managed to avoid the majority of the crowds and with the few other visitors who had arrived early we were still able to get uninterrupted photos, albeit a bit of patient standing around was sometimes required. Although a rather imposing manor house, the area available to visitors is quite limited in size, perhaps only half of the house itself, the other half is given over to the tea rooms and holiday let. However what is available to wander around is a step back in time with beautifully preserved artifacts, furniture and original features. From the family chapel with its 700 year old commissioned stained glass windows to the intricate plasterwork of the master bedroom ceiling, the house is an interesting mix of original architectural features and the loving restoration of the Jenner Family who bought the estate in the early 1900’s.
The house itself was in the Lytes family from construction for six generations. As was typical of a house of this stature, the family, struggling financially by the mid 1700’s had no option but to sell their generational home. Between 1755 and 1907 the house was tenanted by a number of farming families which had the poor house working as an agricultural store, cider press and carpenters workshop amongst other things. It wasn’t until 1907 when Sir Walter Jenner bought the estate and restored it to its former glory. Sadly, the only daughter of the Jenner family died in her 30’s leaving no heir for the house, it was the loss of his daughter that urged Sir Walter to pass the house to the National Trust for generations to enjoy.
Besides the medieval building itself, the extensive gardens are positively lovely, each garden room designed for a specific use, orchard, raised walk, long walk and pond garden to name but a few. On a sunny spring day the daffodils, hellebores and blossom were in full bloom. Without the flush of summer flowers the structure of the garden can be observed, the low box hedge borders of the lavender garden and the topiary ‘apostles’ (twelve large topiary bushes) along the front lawn. A visit during the summer just to visit the gardens again may be on the cards at a later date.
The National Trust shop is worth a visit if you love all things well made and country. Being a big fan of ‘nice smellies’ it wasn’t hard to persuade me to purchase their Orangery reed diffuser for the house. These visits are becoming an expensive hobby!
Address: Nr Charleton Mackrell, Somerton, Somerset, England, TA11 7HU
Website: Lytes Cary Manor
Contact: 01458 224471