A house created by two families
From the 14th century to the 18th century, Lytes Cary Manor was the home of the Lyte family. The founder of that family was William le Lyte, who was a feudal tenant of the estate as early as 1286. We believe that his grandson Peter built the chapel which dates back to 1343.
Over the next six generations the Lytes gradually expanded the house around it, selling the estate in 1755 when the family encountered serious financial difficulties. Lytes Cary was then tenanted by a series of farmers until Sir Walter Jenner bought the estate in 1907. When the Jenners arrived the Great Hall was being used as a cider press, the Great Parlour was housing agricultural materials and the Little Parlour was a carpenter’s workshop, it later became Sir Walter's private study. He restored the house to a 17th-century style and also added on a new west wing.
The house as it stands today is filled with the collection lovingly restored and used by the Jenners, who bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1949.
Our little chapel
This is a charming building where you can get lost in your thoughts. It dates back to 1343 and is the oldest building on the estate. Unlike most country-house chapels, there is no direct link with the house. It was designed as a chantry chapel, where masses could be said for the souls of the family, living and dead.
The ceiling in the Great Chamber
This ceiling is the earliest one of its kind, showing the Lytes, Horsey and Henry VIII family coats of arms.
The stumpwork mirror
The lower piece of embroidery is probably of a much older work, possibly from the 1660s, while the top part was completed by Leonora Jenner, Sir Walter's sister-in-law.