MSO10498 - Nettlecombe Court (Building)


Now the Leonard Wills Field Centre, this was originally a medieval manor house. It may have been the home of Simon Raleigh who retired to Nettlecombe after Agincourt. It has good examples of plasterwork for five different periods.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Shown on OS map as Nettlecombe Court (school). Manor house, now field studies centre. Late medieval hall, cross passage and wing, now kitchens and pantry, 1599 entrance front, porch, great hall and parlour, circa 1641 addition to rear of great hall, 1703-7 South West front extended and staircase added in angle, plasterwork on stair 1753, South West wing decorated 1787-8, house stuccoed and North East service range added early C19, stucco removed mid C20. Squared and coursed red sandstone, moulded plinth, coped parapets, finials, slate roofs, hipped right. Plan: hall and screens passage, to right "L"-shaped block of earlier house with later wing forming service, courtyard, left of hall South West wing, the garden front, staircase in angle. 2 and 3 storeys, 2:1:2:1:2:2 bays; 3 storey gabled porch fith bay right, 3 and a half storey left gable end 2 bays, openings blocked, first floor 3-light ovolo-moulded mullions, except 4 bays right, all 12 pane sash windows, third bay left under stone relieving arch 3 x 5 pane mullioned transomed oriel window two hall windows right 3 x 3 light, also under relieving arches, Tudor arch opening to porch set in square hood mould, date 1599 in spandrel. Left return, garden front brick faced, 2 storeys, central attic gabled window, 9 bays, C20 4 pane sash windows, central pedimented Ionic porch. Kitchen courtyard has late C17 leaded cruciform windows and reset moulded medieval doorcases in North East wing. Interior: fine strapwork moulded plaster ceiling with pendents in Great Hall, plaster work overmantel, early C18 bolection moulded panelling, decorated organ in gallery of 1666 by John Loosemore, repaired and enlarged C19; stair with turned balusters, inlaid landing floors, and delicate rococo plasterwork; heavy plasterwork decoration in small dining parlour behind great hall, dated 1641, similar in room above; circa 1700 plasterwork in office, similar in room above; Adam style decoration in South West wing under direction of Samuel Heal, ceiling and marble fireplace in drawing room, Ionic screen and plasterwork cornice to dining room. The house became a boys' preparatory school in 1963 and the Leonard Wills Field Centre in 1967. A fine collection of interiors, notable for having good examples of plasterwork for 5 different periods, only C19 examples are absent. (Photograph in NMR; VCH Somerset, vol 5 forthcoming; Bush and Corbett, Nettlecombe Court, Field studies 4, 1970; Country Life, 1 February 1908). [1] Nettlecombe Court carries the date 1599 and 1601 with documentary evidence for further rebuilding in 1602. Possibly the home of Simon Raleigh who retired to Nettlecombe after Agincourt. An inventory of 1526 shows that his mediaeval house had not then been enlarged in keeping with 16th Century practice. [2] The west front was remodelled in the Georgian style before 1768, and the south front has buttresses, which would point to the masonry being that of a house earlier than 1599. [3] Nettlecombe was granted by the King to Hugh de Ralegh in c.1160 and Nettlecombe Court was inherited by the Trevelyan family in the 1440s. The building is shown on a variety of historic maps. [13] The building was visited in December 2013 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [14] A remarkable display of plasterwork spanning dates from c.1600 to c.1700. Hall - Ceiling Jacobean style; grotesque narrow frieze as in the hall at Montacute; huge overmantel with elaborate central panel with achievement of arms and supporters (Trevelyan impaling Chichester) - all early 17th Century; Wing Dining Room - Ceiling has four panels between moulded beams on acanthus brackets; frieze between the brackets is an unique large scale stylised angular meander; overmantel includes a coat of arms (Trevelyan impaling Strode) with initials MS and date 1641 (George Trevelyan married Margaret Strode in the 1630s); Wing Chamber Over - Ceiling has oval wreath enclosing Trevelyan crest, enriched ribs and corner panels with horses heads; overmantel includes a strapwork cartouche between acanthus brackets and the coat of arms of Margaret Strode's parents (Strode impaling Wyndham), c.1640; Southeastern parlour, adjacent study and chamber over - Ceilings all c.1700 with high relief naturalistic wreaths of husks, foliage etc; the Study also has central heavily moulded putto in palm fronds. [15] An update was undertaken for the Parkland Plan published in 2003 (see [13]). This included newly incorporated historic mapping and documentary evidence and research and restoration work on the landscape, as well as the results of a walkover survey undertaken in April 2015. [16]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Index: 21/12/1984. Thirty-first List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Distict of West Somerset (Somerset).
  • <2> Monograph: Tipping, H.A.. 1927. English Homes: Period III 1558-1649. 87-96.
  • <3> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. 254.
  • <4> Article in serial: Bush, R.J.E.. 1970. Nettlecombe Court. I. The Trevelyans and Other Residents of the Court. Field Studies. 3.
  • <5> Serial: Country Life. 1 February 1908, 162-9.
  • <6> Monograph: Dunning, R. W. (editor). 1985. A History of the County of Somerset. Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. 5. 114-115.
  • <7> Monograph: Turner, T. H.. 1859. English Domestic Architecture of England. Vol. 3. 2. Part 2, 343.
  • <8> Monograph: Eric R Delderfield. 1968. West Country historic houses and their families. Volume 1 : Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset . 101-104.
  • <9> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Vol 15 (1869), 7.
  • <10> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Vol 54 (1908) 77-85.
  • <11> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Vol 77 (1931).
  • <12> Photograph: ILLUSTRATION OF NETTLECOMBE COURT. OS65/F64/2. B/W.
  • <13> Report: Nicholas Pearson Associates. 1992. Nettlecombe Park and Pleasure Grounds: Historic survey and restoration plan. 5.
  • <13> Report: Nicholas Pearson Associates. 2003. Nettlecombe Park and Pleasure Grounds: Historic survey and restoration plan.
  • <14> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <15> Monograph: Penoyre, J. and Penoyre, J.. 1994. Decorative plasterwork in the houses of Somerset 1500 - 1700: A regional survey. Somerset County Council. 17,19,21,37,77; figs 18,22,43,72,77,83,96.
  • <16> Report: Unknown. 2016. Nettlecombe Parkland Plan.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 375/5/33
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7693
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: ST 03 NE1
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 188307
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 30731



Grid reference Centred ST 0564 3775 (58m by 48m)
Map sheet ST03NE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

May 5 2021 9:39AM


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