The Grade I house dates to the mid-16th century and was built for the Poyntz family. It was reduced and remodelled around 1680. It is now privately owned and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.There is a 16th century walled garden with forecourts to the south and east of the house on a medieval site. England's earliest garden sundial, made by Nicholas Kratzer, Henry VIII's horologer, was found along with many other artefacts during archaeological excavations.(First Surveyed by Avon Gardens Trust 1986 - Survey updated 2010 by Avon Gardens Trust)
The entrance to the house is through a main gate facing east and through the front courtyard surrounded by a tall stone wall. A path from the gate leads to the front entrance of the east wing, from where the inner courtyard is visible.
The farm next door owns part of the grounds and wall, which may have contained a kitchen garden at one time. To the west and north of the house are earthworks which may have been fishponds and a garden dating from the same period as the house.
Today the gardens are being developed along ecological principles and run as a wildlife friendly site. The entire site is Soil Association registered. An organic kitchen garden has been created on medieval lines and many old fashioned roses have been planted against the crenellated walls. The remaining grounds have been developed as wild meadow and grassland featuring numerous native species of grasses and plants, especially types that would have flourished in Tudor times.
- Manor House (featured building)
- Description: A moated manor house existed on the site in the early-1500s. Henry VIII made a visit here in 1535, and the owner, Nicholas Poyntz, built a new east wing to impress the king. This is, for the most part, what now remains of Acton Court.
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- Description: A rare polyhedral sundial.
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- Visitor Access & Directions
Access Contact Details
The house and gardens are open from June until August
Telephone: 01454 228224
Acton Court is immediately east of the intersection between the M4 and M5, off the B4059.
- Conservation Area
- Reference: Iron Acton
- Scheduled Ancient Monument
Acton Court was built by Nicholas Poyntz.
The house was built in the mid-1500s by Sir Nicholas Poyntz, an associate of Henry VIII's minister Thomas Cromwell. Records state that Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth both stayed at the house. It is also thought that Sir Walter Raleigh smoked his first pipe of tobacco in the gardens 'which made the ladies quitt till he had done'.
The site declined after it was sold by the Poyntz family in 1680. It eventually became a tenant farm and suffered serious neglect. However, the lack of attention preserved many of its original features. These include a rare polyhedral sundial dated 1520, which was discovered during the garden clearance. This is thought to have been made by Nicholas Kratzer, the king's horologer and astronomer.
The house and grounds have been restored over the last 20 years and are now open to the public from June through August.
- Tudor (1485-1603)
- Associated People
Avon Gardens Trust