From an 18th century engraving by Eastgate
Built / Designed For: Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells.
House & Family History: Acton Burnell Castle was rectangular house, three stories high, with a tower at each corner. In the fall of 1283 King Edward I held a Parliament at Acton Burnell, very likely in the adjacent Great Barn, the only building on the Estate large enough to hold the gathering. This was the first time in English history that the law-making process was fully represented by the Commons. The law passed during that session of Parliament at Acton Burnell became known as the Statute of Acton Burnell, a law giving protection to creditors. In the 17th century the Estate came into the possession of the Smythe family, who built the nearby classical style Acton Burnell Park in the early 19th century.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Not Listed
Past Seat of: Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 13th century. Lovel family. Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, 15th century. Smythe family, 17th century.
Current Ownership Type: English Heritage
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction