Wednesday, 19 June 2019 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Halswell Park is Grade I listed country house at the foot of the Quantock Hills in North Somerset which Sir Nikalous Pevsner described as ‘the most important house of its date in the county’.
The manor was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and has been continuously inhabited since at least that date. Little seems to survive of the manor house from those earliest recorded periods, the old manor house that endures today dates mainly from the Tudor and Elizabethan periods, with additions and changes carried out at regular intervals to suit the changing needs of the Halswell family.
The story of the destruction of Halswell is typical of so many great houses during the C20th. The woods were cut down, the deer park was put to the plough, follies collapsed or were destroyed, being so isolated in farmers’ fields from their original purposes. What saved the house itself was its size, strength and excellent condition. It was partly converted into flats which saved it from the wrecking ball until it could be put back together as one house again in the C21st. The C18th pleasure garden, Mill Wood, has recently come back into estate ownership and the long path to full restoration of all the buildings and their history is now well under way.
Whilst several buildings have been restored, what is surprising is the park surrounding the house has been restored to replicate the view shown in the picture. Mill Wood has seen the planting of 3000 trees and restoration of the dam and Bath stone bridge completed.