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Montacute House

Montacute was built in the late 1590s for Sir Edward Phelips, a wealthy lawyer. It has been attributed to William Arnold, one of the most talented provincial mason-architects of the time. The layout of Montacute consists of the orthodox H-shape used in a large number of houses of this period. Arnold’s use of Renaissance motifs on the exterior – including classical entablatures separating the three storeys, segmental pediments surmounting the projecting bays and the shell-headed niches below the ground floor windows– all show Arnold eager to embellish the new house with elements drawn from a vocabulary probably learned from the pattern books that were flooding into England from France and Flanders in the second half of the 16th century. The interiors feature fine Tudor and Elizabethan Revival chimneypieces and a rare survival of a series of heraldic windows contemporary with the building of the house.

Visitor Information

Address:
Montacute,
Somerset,
England,
TA15 6XP

Telephone: 01935 823289

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house

Accredited Museum

Montacute House, Somerset (Accredited Museum)

This collection has 1,832 items online

Honey-coloured Montacute House in Somerset is one of the glories of late Elizabethan architecture. The house was completed by Sir Edward Phelips around 1600 and for centuries was the home of the Phelips family. Offered ‘for scrap’ in 1931, Montacute was rescued by the grandson of Thomas Cook, founder of the travel agency, who agreed to purchase the house for presentation to the National Trust. Unfortunately the contents were not bought with the house and when it opened in 1932 it was virtually bare. In amongst a collection of Phelips family portraits is an outstanding collection of Tudor and early Stuart paintings on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

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