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Great Chalfield Manor (Manor House)

  • Built / Designed For: Rebuilt for Thomas Tropnell

    House & Family History: The Great Chalfield Estate was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as the property of Ernulf de Hesding, Comte de Perche. The current moated manor house was rebuilt circa 1465-80 for Thomas Tropenell, a humble member of the landed gentry who made a small fortune as a clothier. In the 16th century the estate was owned by cadet branches of the Percy family. During the Civil War Great Chalfield was garrisoned by Parliamentary troops, 1644-46, and withstood a short siege. In the 18th century the 1st Duke of Kingston acquired Great Chalfield when he married an heiress of the estate (it was sold by his son in 1770). The property passed into the ownership of the Neale family, in whose hands it remained until 1878. The Neales substantially altered the fabric of the house in the 1830s, when they reduced its size and converted it into a farmhouse. The historic great hall suffered particularly during these alterations, most especially when it lost its ornate ceiling. The great hall today is lit on both sides and flanked by unusually symmetrical gabled cross wings with oriel windows and lower gabled porches in the inner corners. Great Chalfield was purchased from the Neales in 1878 by George Fuller, MP, of nearby Neston Park. The house and garden were restored between 1905 and 1912 by George's fourth son, Major Robert Fuller, who engaged Sir Harold Brakspear to advise him on the restoration and furnishing of the interiors. Robert Fuller gave the property to the National Trust in 1943, though Robert Floyd, grandson of Robert, and his family live here and manage the property for the trust.

    Collections: "The Tropenell Cartulary," a single large bound volume written on vellum, was compiled in the 15th century to document Thomas Tropenell's title to his manors and other estates. The cartulary copies out a large number of charters, deeds, and other documents, most of which would otherwise have been lost. The volume is still kept at Great Chalfield, where it was created, and where it has descended with the house through the centuries, passing from one owner to another.

    Comments: Nikolaus Pevsner called Great Chalfield “one of the most perfect examples of the late medieval English manor house.”

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The garden was restored in the early 20th century by Alfred Parsons and features "tree houses" – groups of four clipped yews that have grown together and been hollowed out inside to create a tunnel.

    Chapel & Church: The parish church, largely rebuilt by Tropenell in the 15th century, is connected to the house and features an unusual bell cote, a stone belfry built on a gable peak.

  • Architect: Alfred Parsons

    Date: Early 20th century
    Designed: Restored Garden

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    Architect: Harold Brakspear

    Date: 1905-11
    Designed: Advised Major Robert Fuller on restoration and furnishing of interiors

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  • Country Life: XXXVI, 230, 294 plan, 1914.

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Robin of Sherwood" [aka "Robin Hood"] (1986 - TV series, episode 3.3, "The Power of Albion," as Leaford Grange; and episode 3.6, "The Cross of St. Ciricus," as Croxden Abbey Chapel). "Wives and Daughters" (1999 - as Hamley Hall exteriors). "Persuasion" (2007 - TV, as Lyme Coaching Inn exterior, country walk, and Anne's bedroom at Uppercross). "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008). "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" (2008 - TV mini series, as the old D'Urberville mansion). "Wolf Hall" (2015 - BBC TV mini series, as Thomas Cromwell's home). "Poldark" (2015-16 - TV series, as Ray Penvenen's home).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Fuller-Floyd family

    Past Seat / Home of: Ernulf de Hesding, Comte de Perche, 11th century. Thomas Tropenell, 15th century. Percy family, 16th century. Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull, 18th century. Neale family, 19th century. George Fuller; late 19th century; Major Robert Fuller, early 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: Owned by the National Trust; the Fuller-Floyd family still live in the house and manage the property for the trust.

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01225-782-239

    Fax: 01225-783-379

    Email: greatchalfieldmanor@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No