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Brympton House

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Brympton House

One of Somerset’s most historic houses, Brympton d’Evercy was once described as ‘the most beautiful house in England’. Built slowly over hundreds of years and then refurbished and renovated for every century after, Brympton d’Evercy has evolved slowly and constantly, resulting in a sprawling Grade I listed mansion and estate featuring numerous architectural styles.

KEY FACTS ABOUT THE HOUSE

  • Work on the original Brympton d’Evercy began in the year 1220, although little of the original residence remains.

  • Brympton d’Evercy is located on the outskirts of Yeovil in the county of Somerset, England.

  • During its 800 year history, Brympton d’Evercy has been owned by just five families.

HISTORY OF THE HOUSE

The d’Evercy family purchased the estate recorded in the Domesday Book as Brunetone, meaning ‘brown enclosure’, in 1220, when it was nothing more than a few buildings and a farm. The d’Evercy family added a church, but by the time Brympton d’Evercy passed into the hands of the Sydenham family in 1430, it consisted of a manor house, gardens, two acres of land and forty house owners. The Sydenhams owned Brympton d’Evercy for the next three hundred years. At one time, the Sydenham family, England’s largest landowners, saw their fortunes fluctuate wildly, seeming to rise to prosperity or fall to ruin with each and every generation.

Despite the money troubles that blighted the Sydenham family descendants, many alterations were made to Brympton d’Evercy throughout the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. As a family of stature, the Sydenham’s could not be seen to fall behind the times and their additions to Brympton d’Evercy were heavily influenced by the building works of their Somerset neighbours and new ideas of domestic comfort and privacy.

The first John Sydenham enhanced what is now known as the Priest’s House, a small medieval oddity built close to the mansion house. Perhaps it was a guest house or, more likely, it was intended as a dower house for the first Mrs. Sydenham who could not have known that her son would die before her, leaving her to live in the main house for as long as she pleased.

The north wing came next, a turreted, richly ornamented and quintessentially Tudor affair with large oriel windows and a castellated roof. Almost a house within a house, the north wing has its own external entrance and has changed little since it was built around 1520. Sometimes called the Henry VIII wing, the upper windows of the north wing feature the beautifully sculpted coat of arms of King Henry VIII. The Sydenhams were bestowed with this regal honor due to their, somewhat tenuous, connections to royal blood. The fourth John Sydenham built Brympton d’Evercy’s west front around the original great hall and his son, the fifth John Sydenham, built the large, barrel-vaulted roofed kitchen wing.

The last John Sydenham built the entire Palladian style south wing. Although the architect responsible for the south wing remains a mystery, it is this addition to Brympton d’Evercy that transformed it from a country manor to a one of England’s great houses. The state apartments located on the ground floor are the most carefully and lavishly decorated in the entire house and consist of the usual arrangement of a salon leading through gradually smaller and more intimate rooms to the state bedroom. No royal ever came to stay at Bryptom d’Evercy and the rooms were soon refashioned into more usable spaces.

BrymptonHouse-104.jpg

The d’Evercy family purchased the estate recorded in the Domesday Book as Brunetone, meaning ‘brown enclosure’, in 1220, when it was nothing more than a few buildings and a farm. The d’Evercy family added a church, but by the time Brympton d’Evercy passed into the hands of the Sydenham family in 1430, it consisted of a manor house, gardens, two acres of land and forty house owners. The Sydenhams owned Brympton d’Evercy for the next three hundred years. At one time, the Sydenham family, England’s largest landowners, saw their fortunes fluctuate wildly, seeming to rise to prosperity or fall to ruin with each and every generation.

Despite the money troubles that blighted the Sydenham family descendants, many alterations were made to Brympton d’Evercy throughout the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. As a family of stature, the Sydenham’s could not be seen to fall behind the times and their additions to Brympton d’Evercy were heavily influenced by the building works of their Somerset neighbours and new ideas of domestic comfort and privacy.

The first John Sydenham enhanced what is now known as the Priest’s House, a small medieval oddity built close to the mansion house. Perhaps it was a guest house or, more likely, it was intended as a dower house for the first Mrs. Sydenham who could not have known that her son would die before her, leaving her to live in the main house for as long as she pleased.

The north wing came next, a turreted, richly ornamented and quintessentially Tudor affair with large oriel windows and a castellated roof. Almost a house within a house, the north wing has its own external entrance and has changed little since it was built around 1520. Sometimes called the Henry VIII wing, the upper windows of the north wing feature the beautifully sculpted coat of arms of King Henry VIII. The Sydenhams were bestowed with this regal honor due to their, somewhat tenuous, connections to royal blood. The fourth John Sydenham built Brympton d’Evercy’s west front around the original great hall and his son, the fifth John Sydenham, built the large, barrel-vaulted roofed kitchen wing.

The last John Sydenham built the entire Palladian style south wing. Although the architect responsible for the south wing remains a mystery, it is this addition to Brympton d’Evercy that transformed it from a country manor to a one of England’s great houses. The state apartments located on the ground floor are the most carefully and lavishly decorated in the entire house and consist of the usual arrangement of a salon leading through gradually smaller and more intimate rooms to the state bedroom. No royal ever came to stay at Bryptom d’Evercy and the rooms were soon refashioned into more usable spaces.

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