Wandering round Barrington Court I started to feel like I was visiting the result of someone buying a flat-packed stately home, and then losing the instructions.
The bits fitted together really well in some places; in others, bits were missing, and scattered around the place were the left over bits they didn't know what to do with.
Inside the main Elizabethan building, now known as Court House, this is more or less the case.
When the National Trust acquired the building in 1907, their first major country house, the windows of the Great Hall was bricked up and chickens were roosting inside.
They restored it, but struggled to meet the ongoing costs of maintaining it, so in the 1920s they leased it to Colonel Arthur Lyle of the sugar refining family.
He was an obsessive collector of historic woodwork, and was looking for somewhere to house his collection. He spent many hours installing the old panelling, but the fact that it was not original to the house becomes particularly apparent in the Great Hall where it does not reach the ceiling.
For opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the National Trust's official site detailed below.
Strangely, the theme continues outside in the gardens. It starts with the main drive that brings visitors to the back door of the the house in the North Front, rather than the glorious Elizabethan porch on the south side.
Again, although some of the garden rooms on the west side of the house (which were originally planted with the advice of Gertrude Jekyll) work well, nothing seems to quite line up.
You go through a gate expecting some vista or avenue to open up, and find yourself in the corner of an orchard, or by some old stables.
Next door to Court House is Strode House, which started life as a massive stable block built by the then owner William Strode II (or III) in 1674. This was adapted and given a new west front by Colonel Lyle and his architect J E Forbes, to form part of the family home.
It now houses the National Trust's Strode House Restaurant whose menu includes fruit and vegetables from the stone-walled kitchen garden.
External Links and References
National Trust Handbook entry detailing opening times, ticket prices, facilities, etc. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court
Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrington_Court
The National Trust Guide Book
St Mary the Virgin's Church, Barrington
Talking of places that don't quite fit together, the church of St Mary the Virgin, Barrington seems to have set the trend. This is partly due to the unusual octagonal tower, which has resulted in a crossing with very small arches.
From the nave it looks like the chancel is down a narrow corridor. It's not helped by the fact the the latter is slightly offset giving the church an unsettlingly bent feel; a bit like like Canterbury Cathedral.
The website of the parishes of the Winsmoor Benefice: Barrington, Chillington, Cudworth, Dowlish Wake, Kingstone, Puckington, Shepton Beauchamp and Stocklinch. https://winsmoor.blogspot.co.uk/