I’ve been wanting to visit Tyntesfield in north Somerset ever since I heard about its purchase for the nation by the National Trust and others ...
The house was created by William Gibbs, the richest commoner in England in the mid-1800s, as a statement of prosperity and confidence, fervent faith and family fortunes.
In this post I'm using mostly my photos ... and they only show the parts that interested me, that I had time to and was allowed to take photos ... so the Chapel, the main parts of the house will need to follow ...
He was in muck – the guano type found in Peru – which revolutionised Victorian agriculture and horticulture, providing rich fertiliser for the land at a time when all members of English society were interested in their gardens ...
|The Cow Barn Kitchen below ... the|
Home Farm and entrance to the Park,
to get to the house are from this level
... from the landed gentry to the florist clubs (early 1800s), established by the men in the towns ... before women really got a look in ... see my earliest post.
The Gibbses’ fortunes rose ... then declined with the 1929 Wall Street Crash and subsequent Great Depression ... and continued that gradual deterioration – along came the 2nd World War – and though the family, always philanthropic, tried to restore the lands, they were unable to build their estate back up.
The last Gibbs, Richard (1928-2001), took over the management of the house and estate, focusing on the kitchen garden and surrounding land. He lived alone, had never married, and had none of the household staff necessary for such an enormous property.
|? 1920s wall paper in servants'|
quarters showing damp
The use of the house, by necessity, gradually shrank into fewer and fewer rooms ... and by the time he died, unexpectedly, the main reception rooms were mostly shuttered and closed up, but kept well ordered.
|The butler's boots - he had 'dressing|
rooms' etc in various places around
the house, as he often had to change
Brief details surrounding the National Trust purchase can be found set out in Wikipedia ... but thank goodness it has been saved for us to be able to visit, and as a historical record of Victorian life, and wasn’t bought by some celebrity for private use.
The house was opened within 10 weeks of purchase by the NT in 2002 – pretty amazing to put it mildly – and now 11 years later it is still undergoing preservation, cataloguing, etc etc ...
|One of the butler's rooms |
downstairs, away from the
kitchen, but from which was used
as a pantry (when necessary)
and where the silver safe, china
etc were safely stored
We left things rather late, after a lazyish morning and dog walks, with our visit and went the long way round – the motorway on a Friday is not always the best way to travel, and then one of the side roads we intended to take was closed – so that entailed another deviation.
Having parked up ... little did we know how far the actual house was – but first the important elements of existence ...
... a comfort break ... and sustenance ... ... via the stables, and cow-barn ... as the Home Farm is used for the Visitor Centre ... food, muck (sorry!), shops and garden centre ....
Once sustained, with by now the rain falling in gentle stair-rods ... we set out – over what is amazing parkland ... with not a huge amount of time ... (there is a courtesy bus – but we’re not that sort, yet)...
When we’d bought the tickets we were offered a separate tour in the servants’ quarters of an interesting art project ... incorporating bird-song ... but that will need some explanation – while the room photos I can show.
On deciding to take the servants route ... we only had time to ‘skip’ through the parts of the house that were open – posts to follow at some stage – well as you can see from the photos in Wiki it is a huge place.
|The fireplace in the Billiard|
Room (The Gentlemen's
Suite) - a heated billiard table
connected to the hot water
system ... an adjacent lathe
room and Gentlemen's toilet
with the latest ceramics!
We definitely want to go back ... preferably on a sunny day ... and take our time ... the Gibbses were great sustainers – starting with William, who was a committed Christian, and spent his fortune funding churches, on his charitable work, and on the family home.
Each of the next three generations left their mark on Tyntesfield, keeping the estate running as a unit. Each made changes to the house and estate, but these were achieved with sensitivity, adding to and not undoing the work of their predecessors.
|An electric scoreboard alsoconnected|
to the billiard table (i.e. automated)
It is this that makes Tyntesfield so fascinating, the house, Chapel, servants’ quarters and most of their contents, as well as the exterior buildings and their collections have survived largely intact ...
... we saw this as we walked round ... in the garden and particularly in the house – as we were happy to be inside and out of the incessant rain.
|The Chapel is the piece de resistance|
it is full of glass that glows ... it too
has an interesting history (from Wiki)
Some rooms have been conserved and now reflect life as it was ... while others still need that work to be done – we saw one bedroom, where ‘things’ were piled high waiting for conservation ... prams, tables, chairs ... it is obviously a mammoth task ... again see Wiki for further info.
So this posting gives a glimpse, via the few photos I took together with some from Wiki, of the wonders of Victorian and Edwardian fortunes, through the subsequent 20th century decline to the work that we are able to do in the 21st century: giving Tyntersfield back its glory ...
|The stiarcase gallery fromWiki|
As a note ... Christies, the auction house, had been called in by Richard Gibbses’ Trust and the family, to prepare the house for auction ... so the exact placement of some of the contents is now out of context – but essentially many of the items will be returned, as best possible, to their original placement.
Wikipedia page on Tyntesfield
My earlier post on a brief history of florist clubs to those we know today – e.g. Chelsea Flower Show
BBC Bristol's page on Tyntesfield in pictures and a photographic tour ...
As a grammatical note ... the use of "Gibbses'" I took from the National Trust's guide book
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