Summary

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This site has the following component area(s):

Sutton Court, folly farm

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Brief description of site

Sutton Court is a park and garden of 14th-century origin with 16th-century, 17th-century and later alterations. It was the home of the Strachey family between 1858 and 1987. It has since been turned into a number of apartments set within 3 hectares of the remaining grounds.

Brief history of site

Sutton Court was begun in 1310 as a fortified manor. John Strachey made additions to the house in 1700. In 1858, T.H. Wyatt undertook extensive re-structuring and restoration, which overwhelmed the ancient character of the building with Victorian Tudor work.

Location information:

Address: Stowey Sutton, Somerset, BS39 4DN

Locality: Farrington Gurney

Local Authorities:

Bath and North East Somerset; Stowey-Sutton

Historical County: Somerset

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 172 Grid Ref: ST597605
Latitude: 51.3422 Longitude: -2.57996

Key information:

Form of site: garden

Purpose of site: ornamental garden

Context or principal building: flats

Site first created: 1310

Main period of development: 19th century

Survival: Part: standing remains

Site Size (Hectares): 28

Description

At the entrance to Sutton Court there is a polygon-ended gate lodge with an iron fence. The gate is of white painted wood between gate pillars with rusticated top knobs. By the drive there is a horse chestnut, a mulberry and a crab-apple tree. On the left, by the house, is an orchard. An avenue of limes stretches northwards uphill in front of the house. A castellated stone wall with a derelict prospect house separates the drive from the garden at the south of the house. The garden terraces are grassed, but not cultivated in any way. There are four Irish yews at each end, and stone steps between. The pleasure grounds to the south and west include several specimen trees and plants: ginko, acer, laurel, fig and Japanese knotweed.

An avenue of limes runs downhill to the south through rough grass, at the end of which is a stream with a weir surrounded by ornamental woodland. The woods contain cherry, ash and poplar. There are signs of coppiced hazel, pollarded poplar and holly.

To the west of the grounds is a stable block and walled garden. There is a boundary wall of original stone surrounding the grounds.

When the site was last surveyed in 1987, the house was in the process of being converted into apartments and was covered in scaffolding. The grass surrounding the house and on the terraces was short, but the rest of the pleasure grounds was unkempt. The current state of the grounds in unknown.

Site designation(s)

The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Grade II* Reference Sutton Court

Principal building:

Manor house Created 1310

The building was begun in the 14th century. The tower and wall remains. There were additions in 1558 and 1700, and re-structuring in 1858. Most of the house is Victorian Tudor.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Grade II

History

There was probably some dwelling on the site of Sutton Court at the time the place was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Sutton Court was begun in 1310 as a fortified manor house by William de Sutton. The peel-like tower and castellated curtain wall probably date from this time. The estate went to the St. Loe family in 1429. Sir William St. Loe married Bess of Hardwick in the 16th century, who added the tall building on the north side of the tower in 1558. Sir William St. Loe left all his possessions to Bess of Hardwick, who settled Sutton Court on her son Charles Cavendish. He lost the estate and left the country. Sutton was then purchased by Elizabeth Baber and eventually went to her son William Strachey, a descendant from a branch of an original Somerset family. John Strachey made additions to the house in 1700. In 1858, T.H. Wyatt (nick-named ‘The Destroyer') undertook extensive re-structuring and restoration for Edward Strachey. This overwhelmed the ancient character of the building with Victorian Tudor work.

Sutton Court remained in the Strachey family until 1987 when Lord O'Hagan, Charles Towneley Strachey, sold it for conversion into residential units.

A photograph taken in 1910 shows the lower terrace planted with lawns, formal flower beds and exotic shrubs. There were gravel paths, and the stone steps were flanked by square stone pedestals topped with stone urns. The driveway was described as finely timbered at this date. The curtain wall was draped with valerian and the upper terrace was gravelled. It also appears that in 1791 the step pedestals used to be two-thirds of the size, and that the castellated wall surrounded the house. The terrace walls were built on the old foundations of this wall.

People associated with this site

Architect: Thomas Henry Wyatt (born 1807 died 1880)

Features

garden wall

A castellated stone wall with a derelict prospect house separates the drive from the garden at the south of the house.

terrace

The garden terraces are grassed, but not cultivated in any way.

tree avenue

Feature created: Before 1791

An avenue of limes runs downhill to the south through rough grass, at the end of which is a stream with a weir surrounded by ornamental woodland.

wilderness

There is a stream with a weir surrounded by ornamental woodland. There are signs of coppiced hazel, pollarded poplar and holly.

boundary wall

There is a boundary wall of original stone surrounding the grounds.

wall

There is a 13th century curtain wall.

planting

There is a walled garden.

gate lodge

At the entrance to Sutton Court there is a polygon-ended, one-storey gate lodge.

orchard

On the left, by the house, is an orchard.

tree avenue

An avenue of limes stretches northwards uphill in front of the house.

stream

There is a stream with a weir surrounded by ornamental woodland.

References

Organisations associated with this site

Avon Gardens Trust

Historic England Role: Designating Authority

Sources of information

Country Homes and Gardens Old and New

Country Homes and Gardens Old and New (Country Life magazine, 1910)

The Saving of Sutton Court

Wright, L. The Saving of Sutton Court (1978)

West Country Houses

Cooke, Robert West Country Houses (Bristol: Cooke, Robert, 1957)

Contributor or Recorder Avon Gardens Trust

Images

There are no images associated with this site