Craftsmanship exemplified

Barrington Court archive house

The tale of Barrington Court is multilayered 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.

A carved example of wonderful craftsmanship
Barrington Court detail of carving

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.


During this time friendships were formed and a working community established. Colonel Lyle oversaw much of the work himself, particularly when the time came to install the wooden panelling, which was almost like completing a complicated giant jigsaw.


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.

In 2013 Barrington Court's long tradition of expert craftsmanship continued with the Craft Workshop Development project which transformed Barrington Court's model farm buildings into five independent artisan workshops. This was made possible by a £100,000 grant from the Rural Development Programme for England/European Union (RDPE/EU). For more information about these workshops please click the link. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court/lists/artisan-workshops