Our work at Bradley
Preserving the centuries of history at Bradley takes a lot of skill and care. Learn about the conservation work we carry out here, from redecorating the medieval Great Hall to preserving the historic cider press.
The manor at Bradley is now closed for winter
The 2023 guided tours of the manor at Bradley have finished and the manor is now closed. We look forward to welcoming you back inside in spring 2024.
Redecorating the Great Hall
As soon as the house closed its doors to visitors at the end of October 2019, preparations began to redecorate the Great Hall for the first time since the 1970s.
One of the first tasks was to move furniture and other items in the collection into the chapel, buttery, sitting room and the old kitchen. This allowed space for a large birdcage scaffold to be erected, which was required to undertake the cleaning and renovation work.
The work involved
We used specialist clay paint on the walls and the painstaking work took three months to complete. We also made interesting discoveries with respect to markings on the wood beams, and even graffiti from 1709.
Whilst the scaffolding was in place, we were also able to do some essential conservation work on the Coat of Arms – excitingly, the original blue-coloured paint of the garter was still visible.
Volunteers at Bradley were invited for a tour up on the scaffolding. They were able to look closely at the carving, markings and graffiti, as well as the Coat of Arms in much finer detail.
The apple press and poundhouse
Tucked away behind the manor house lies an apple mill and press, hand-built with stone locally sourced at Torre Abbey in Torbay. It was used to produce cider.
Cider-making during the medieval period was a large and important industry. Apple presses were bustling hubs of activity in period country houses, with people coming and going with their fruit for processing into cider.
The very size of Bradley’s apple press, situated conveniently next to a leat for its crucial water source, hints at how busy a place it would have been, not to mention dangerous.
It would have been someone’s job to collect the juices from the cider press building (commonly known as the ‘poundhouse’) into barrels and seal them ready for fermentation. They were then stored in the cellar of the main house where it has been said that the ‘bubbling’ of the cider in their barrels could be heard in the room above.
Preserving the apple press
Please note that the poundhouse is not open to visitors. This is because we're currently fundraising so that we can carry out the work necessary to restore the apple press. Check back to keep up to date with our work to preserve this fascinating piece of history.
With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.
Discover the things to see and do on the wider estate at Bradley Manor, which covers 100 acres of hay meadows, old orchards and woodlands. See where you can go with dogs here too.
If you're planning a visit to Bradley in 2024, read this article to find out everything you need to know about the guided tours, and how to book.
We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.
Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.