Renovation of historic Horton Court starts

February 28 2017

WORK has started on repairs to Horton Court, which will eventually lead to the public getting limited access to the National Trust property.

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WORK has started on repairs to Horton Court, which will eventually lead to the public getting limited access to the National Trust property.

The grade one-listed manor house, near Chipping Sodbury, was built from the remains of a 12th century Norman hall.

The trust used to lease it out as a home, with visitors also allowed in for a few days each year, but the last tenants left in 2008 and visits ended four years later due to the poor condition of the premises.

As previously reported, £2 million repair plans were drawn up to allow Horton Court to become a private rented home again and for the public to be able to see inside the building on set days.

That work has now begun on what has been described as a highly significant property.

Horton Court was donated to the National Trust in the 1940s by Hilda Wills, a daughter of the Bristol tobacco family.

Despite its long closure, it has been used on a number of occasions for filming, featuring in the TV series Poldark and Wolf Hall, as well as the recent BBC1 supernatural drama The Living and The Dead. 

Once rejuvenated, Horton Court will be leased to new tenants and selected areas opened to visitors - probably the Norman hall and part of the gardens.

Local people told the National Trust at a public meeting last April that at least some of the building and grounds should be open to visitors because it was so important.

The trust itself believes that occupation of the building will be to its advantage and said the work being carried out would allow in more natural light, improve drainage and resolve damp problems.

While the Norman hall is a rare survivor, there were a number of additions and alterations to the house over the centuries, with the late 19th century eventually seeing the start of a period of neglect.