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Things to do in Tyntesfield house

The Gothic west front of Tyntesfield on a sunny day in autumn, wrapped in purple climbing plants
The Gothic Revival west front of Tyntesfield | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Discover how the Gibbs family bought Tyntes Place and transformed it into the Victorian Gothic masterpiece that exists today. Step inside the house to see rooms that reveal what life was like for those who lived and worked at Tyntesfield.

A Victorian Gothic home

After buying Tyntes Place for his growing family in 1843, William Gibbs went about making it his own. He remodelled the exterior of the simple regency house into the Gothic extravaganza that exists today and had the interiors richly decorated and furnished by the country's leading craftsmen.

Each of the following three generations left their mark on Tyntesfield, adding to what had been done before and incorporating the latest advances in technology to create a family home that was comfortable and efficient.

Highlights inside the house at Tyntesfield

The Cloister

All visitors came into the house through the intensely Gothic Cloister, providing an impressive entrance through a series of bays with vaulted ceilings supported by finely carved stone pillars.

The Library at Tyntesfield, Bristol
The Library at Tyntesfield | © National Trust Images/Bob Fowler

The Library

With thousands of books, Tyntesfield's Library would be the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon. The family used to love the children putting on plays in the bay window. If you look up to the cornice above the fireplace, there is a motto that reads, ‘In God my refuge and hope’ highlighting the devout beliefs of the family.

Mr Gibbs's Room

A place of retreat for the master of the house.

The Dining Room

Architectural details include the fine oak ceiling and panelling, with a frieze of heraldic lions, and Antony Gibbs’s initials and family motto ‘Tenax propositi’ (tenacious of purpose) carved into and above the granite columns in front of the windows.

The Hall

The Hall was focal point of the Gibbs household. Soaring 43 feet to the lantern roof of English oak, it was originally designed by the architect John Norton to create a sense of awe and Gothic grandeur.

Two people looking at huge portraits and landscape paintings in the Staircase Hall at Tyntesfield
The Staircase Hall at Tyntesfield | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The Ante Room

An otherwise seemingly unassuming room, the Ante Room is home to one of Tyntesfield's finest paintings, The Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist by artist Giovanni Bellini.

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room was one of the principal rooms of the house, intended as a grand reception room, where guests were welcomed and entertained.

'I feel quite confident in saying that there is now no other Victorian country house which so richly represents its age as Tyntesfield.'

– Mark Girouard in 'The Victorian Country House' publication.

The Oratory

The Oratory was used for the family's religious services until the purpose built chapel was created. Anthony subsequently built an impressive organ that went right across the breadth of the room. The organ was removed in the 1950s and donated to a local church.

The Garden Lobby

Look out for the extensive collection of Chinese ceramics from the 1700s in the Garden Lobby.

The Boudoir

The room forms part of the original 1820s house but was redesigned by architect John Norton for Matilda Blanche Gibbs, when the family bought the house. The boxwood panelling is intricately carved with roses, strawberries and pineapples. Family tradition says that the frieze of boxwood carvings at the top of the panelling was done by Antony Gibbs, who was a highly skilled craftsman.

The arched door led into an elaborate and grand conservatory until it was demolished in 1917 and the garden porch built in its place. The conservatory measured 80 feet long by 50 feet wide and almost double the size of the Drawing Room.

The Charlton Room and Bathroom

The turret was added by John Norton as part of his rebuilding of the original 1820s house. The mirrored cabinets and matching jewellery safe are by Collier and Plucknett. The adjoining bathroom was originally a dressing room and was probably converted when the house was modernised. It was, for many years, the only ensuite bathroom in the house.

The Gothic fireplace is typical of those installed by John Norton in 1863–65. A bathroom with hot and cold running water would have been an up-to-the-minute addition to the house.

The Flaxley Bedroom

This large bedroom is thought to have been used by Antony and Janet Gibbs. Antony did not join the family business. Instead, he and Janet enjoyed a privileged life in the country with their 10 children.

The height of the ceiling and the impressive fireplace show the room’s importance.

The Chapel

Following the completion of the house, in 1873 William commissioned a new chapel by Arthur Blomfield (1829–99), modelled on the flamboyant Gothic architecture of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. It was nearly complete in 1875, just before William’s death.

The chapel was licensed for family services, used daily for prayers, but was never consecrated. William and Antony employed chaplains who conducted many of the services.

The grand outside of Tyntesfield with a child walking towards it

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