The Garden Facade
The Chapel (with the House to the left)
Earlier Houses: The current Victorian house was built around an early 19th century house called Tyntes Place (named after the Tyntes family, who lived near Wraxall in the 16th century).
Built / Designed For: William Gibbs
House & Family History: Tyntesfield was built (actually, rebuilt around an existing house) for William Gibbs (1790-1875), who famously made a huge fortune importing guano (bird droppings) from Latin America for use as a fertilizer. The huge house was designed by John Norton in 1863 around the core of an early 19th century house called Tyntes Place and cost the huge sum of £70,000 to rebuild (approximately £45 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index). Everything about Tyntesfield is big—the library and drawing room are each 40 feet long, and there are 43 bedrooms. Amazingly, the house contains virtually all of its original fixtures, including fittings by Blomfield, Woodyer, Crace, and Norton (a square tower that originally stood over the porch was demolished circa 1935). The National Trust purchased the Tyntesfield Estate in June 2002 around the same time that the house was upgraded to a Grade I-listed building. The Trust's acquisition of the house, considered the best-preserved Victorian house in England, was not a foregone conclusion—they were supposedly bidding against well-healed and famous celebrities Madonna, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kylie Minogue. The buildings and land cost the Trust £9 million, with the contents costing a further £9.5 million. This initial total of £18.5 million was met from the £17.4 million granted by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, with the balance being made up with donations from individuals and foundations. Figures now available suggest that the total cost of saving the property could exceed £50 million. A further £14 million is required for immediate repairs and education, training and access. In January of 2004 the National Trust submitted an application for £20 million to the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund a variety of projects at the property. The Trust has broken its own rule at Tyntesfield and has taken on the estate without an endowment; the establishment of an endowment will require an additional £18 million.
Comments: Tyntesfield is frequently called the greatest Victorian house in Britain. James Miller, writing in "Fertile Fortune: The Story of Tyntesfield," called the house "one of the greatest Gothic houses ever built in England."
Garden & Outbuildings: The National Trust purchased only the central section of the former Tyntesfield Estate (including the house and the important outbuildings) and sold the balance of the land, much of which was farmed. The grounds contain many outbuildings, some of which are listed Grade II* and Grade II, including an ashlar and red brick orangery (built in 1897 and a rare example of a late Victorian orangery in the classical style that cost £420,000 to conserve), lodges, Gothic garden seats, a late 19th century timber framed aviary, a summer house, a saw mill of circa 1865-70, and the late 19th century gas works.
Chapel & Church: John Harris has called the chapel at Tyntesfield "...the grandest private chapel in England, as large as a parish church." It was designed by Arthur Blomfield and built 1873-75. Pevsner called the stained glass in the chapel "exceptionally good." The stained glass in the nave was designed by Wooldridge in the style of Walter Crane and executed by the firm Powell's.
Architect: Robert NewtonDate: Early 19th century
Architect: Henry WoodyerDate: 1880s
Title: Fertile Fortune: The Story of Tyntesfield
Author: Miller, James
Year Published: 2003
Reference: pgs. 13, 14
Publisher: London: The National Trust
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, The
Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
Year Published: 1958
Reference: pgs. 348-349
Publisher: London: Penguine Books
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Victorian: The Magazine of The Victorian Society, The
Year Published: NA
Reference: Jul 2002, pg. 29
Publisher: London: The Victorian Society
Book Type: Magazine
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: The Rev. George Turner Seymour, early 19th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: William Gibbs, 19th century; George Gibbs, 1st Baron Wraxall, 19th-20th centuries; Gibbs family here until 2001.
Current Ownership Type: The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction