Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Hestercombe House

Hestercombe Gardens are beautifully restored formal and landscape gardens near Taunton. They attract many visitors, but the house itself is now used as offices and not open to the public.

Although the landscape gardens date from the eighteenth century, most of the house is more recent. The estate was owned by the Warre family from the fourteenth century; in 1718, it passed to Sir Francis Warre's daughter Margaret Bampfylde and stayed in the family until 1873, when the first Viscount Portman bought it.

The house was substantially remodelled for the Portman family, who owned it until 1944. The Honourable Mrs Constance Portman kept a staff of thirty in the 1920s; there were geese, a dairy, orchards, greenhouses and kitchen gardens as well as formal gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens. Despite the property's subsequent use as an army camp in World War II, and latterly as offices, the house retains many beautiful original features:


Related post: Hestercombe Gardens

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