Craftsmanship exemplified

Bath taps and Delft tiles in the bathroom at Barrington Court

The tale of Barrington Court is multi-layered and intriguing. The Court has stood for over four hundred years; gradually fading and falling into terrible disrepair, it was eventually reduced to being used as a farmhouse.

Gifted to the National Trust in 1907 by Julia Woodward, the house remained in this sorry state as there were no funds to restore it. In 1915 Colonel Lyle visited Barrington with his wife, 'Ronnie', and they fell in love with the romance and ambience of the place and the exciting possibility of its restoration and new glory days ahead. They agreed to take on a ninety-nine year repairing lease from the Trust, and work began in 1921.

The next five years saw a major restoration project unfold, as Colonel Lyle and his architect James Edwin Forbes made plans to use Colonel Lyle’s incredible collection of historic salvaged woodwork, collected over many years from derelict buildings up and down the country.

Detail of carved wooden frieze
Detail of carved wooden frieze at Barrington Court
Detail of carved wooden frieze

To complete such a major project in just five years was an amazing achievement and harnessed the energy and passion of many different people from all walks of life. As well as the skills of traditional craftsmen like stonemasons and carpenters, those with new skills, like electricians and plumbers, were also needed because the house was to be a comfortable, modernised home fit for a wealthy 1920s family.

Barrington Court being restored
Barrington Court archive photo of the house
Barrington Court being restored

The story of Barrington’s restoration is told through visual, audio and three-dimensional images; little scenes gently breathe life back into the unfurnished rooms, and hint at how life was during this time, revealing a few surprises along the way.

Weather conditions caused damage to part of the roof in recent years, so the house is currently closed. Scaffolding has been erected around some of Court House to allow engineering and ecological surveys to be carried out.