Sugar Fame and African Style: Stories of Goldhorn Manor
Hello Julia, thank you for taking the time to tell us more about Goldhorn Manor. Firstly we’d love to hear a little about the property background. I hear it has quite an impressive history?
The house was built in the 1920s when Colonel Lyle of Tate & Lyle sugar fame acquired the lease of Barrington Court for £1 per annum; it was the first property to have been bequeathed to the National Trust in 1907. The eminent Arts and Crafts architects Forbes and Tate transformed the neglected 16th century house into a stately home with avenues, parkland and gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Our home was built for the estate manager and has a commanding view of the avenues.
Does the house have any other famous connections?
Most recently Barrington Court was used as one of the film locations for the second series of the BBC’s ‘Wolf Hall’. It was the first E type house (with the foot print of the letter E) built in honour of Queen Elizabeth 1.
So tell us how you came to acquire Goldhorn Manor?
The Lyle family were selling off the land around Barrington Court in the 1980s when they surrendered the lease. We were looking for a family home couldn’t believe that we had the chance to buy outright a property that was in such a location.
What was the one thing that really made you fall in love with the house?
The setting was irresistible. The house is set on the edge of a 70 acre National Trust estate where the peace and beauty of the parkland, the birdsong and the deer roaming all contribute to this scene of pastoral perfection. Whilst on the other side we can be in our own lovely secluded garden with private, extensive views of rolling hills and Somerset farmland.
What do you like to do when you are not at the house?
We love to walk and to travel. At present we're enjoying an African adventure; we arrived to live just near Nairobi at a time when fears of security were rife. We have been surrounded by some of the most friendly, funny and charming people with whom we live and work. Nothing can be taken for granted. Power cuts can last for a week; this means no power to pump water from the borehole; the main Tarmac road to Nairobi has broken down and become like a dry river bed. The local reaction is to laugh at the hopelessness of officialdom and to live the day.
Goldhorn Manor flaunts some quirky furnishings. How did you go about achieving such unique interiors?
The interiors in our home evolved over 25 years. We bought antiques in the local auction houses, we brought paintings home from Kenya and we added to our huge collections of books. My most favourite thing is the enormous sofa in the sitting room on which we spent so many family moments as our young children were growing up.
What is your favourite way to spend time at Goldhorn Manor?
We love eating outdoors at every possible meal. We love walking far and wide along the footpaths which lead in all directions from the door. We love taking the binoculars and watching the birds.
Do you think you could sum up a stay Goldhorn Manor in three words?
Intimate yet stately
We love a funny guest story, do have any you can share?
Our guests in May were delighted to be able to pose in the gardens of the Court with some of the stars of Wolf Hall in full medieval costume.
What is the best thing about letting out your home when you’re not living in it yourselves?
Josef, a Slovakian woodcarver who works in one of the former farm buildings on the avenue, said, ‘I look down there and the beautiful house is so lonely’. However, when it is filled with families and friends experiencing all the joys of our former family home, I know it is not lonely anymore.
Properties featured in this article: Goldhorn