The five families that shaped Newark Park
The history of Newark Park is marked by five families: Poyntz, Lowe, Clutterbuck, King and Parsons. All made significant changes to the architecture and use of the building.
Sir Nicholas Poyntz
In 1527 Nicholas Poyntz married Joan Berkeley, from one of the most powerful Catholic families in Gloucestershire. However, Poyntz himself was an evangelical Protestant, and a loyal courtier. When Kingswood Abbey was dissolved in 1538, Poyntz exploited his royal connections to acquire it. The demolished abbey also provided Poyntz with stone to build Newark Park in about 1550.
Sir Thomas Lowe and Sir Gabriel Lowe
Sir Thomas Lowe bought the house in 1593. His son, Sir Gabriel Lowe, enlarged the house in the mid-17th century by adding a matching block to the west. It linked to the Poyntz building by a now-lost central staircase. On the top floor Sir Gabriel inserted a barrel-ceilinged long gallery running north-south, which is still partly visible.
The Clutterbuck family
The Rev Clutterbuck inherited Newark from his Godfather, James Clutterbuck. Around 1790 he modernised the house. Externally, Clutterbuck emphasized the house's ancient history, adding battlements and a Gothick portico to the new south front. Inside, the changes were more radical and classical. The highlight is the new central hall.
The King family
From 1898 Newark Park was leased by Mrs Annie King, the widow of a wealthy Bristol shipping agent. She added a servants' wing to the north and brought up her children here. The youngest daughter, Alice, lived on in the house until her death in 1949, when Newark Park was bequeathed to the National Trust.
Robert Parsons was a Texan, trained in architecture, who came to Britain during the Second World War. He fell in love with England and its ancient buildings. After the war he returned to Britain and, in 1970, was introduced to Newark Park. He saw its potential and took on the tenancy. Much expensive repair work was needed to make Newark Park watertight and secure.