A house created by two families

Front of Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset

It was built by the Lytes family who owned it from the 13th to the 18th century. Sir Walter Jenner bought Lytes Cary in 1907 and rescued it from decay.


The Lyte Family

From the 13th 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. It is believed that his grandson Peter built the chapel which dates back to 1343.
The Lyte family lived here for over six generations and gradually expanded the house. 

Henry Lyte 

Henry Lyte devoted himself to botany and genealogy and in 1578 he published the Niewe Herbal which he dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. A copy of the herbal book is on display in the Great Hall. 

Thomas Lyte

Henry's son Thomas was also very academic. He traced in a family tree that James I was a direct descent from Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic. The king was so delighted with his efforts that he presented him with a miniature of himself set in a locket of gold and diamonds. 
By the mid eighteenth century, the family were in serious financial difficulty and in 1755 the family had no other option but to sell Lytes Cary. 

The Jenner family

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. 
Sir Walter decided to pass the house onto the National Trust in 1948. His daughter, Esme had died of pneumonia at the age of only 37, so he had no family to leave Lytes Cary too.