In the 2015 adaptation of Wolf Hall, Barrington Court was dressed as the home of Thomas Cromwell’s mentor Cardinal Wolsey.
Now it’s taking viewers back in time again as it plays host to a new BBC2 series about the Tudors. In Six Wives with Lucy Worsley, the historian recreates life in the Tudor Court, allowing us to witness some of the most dramatic moments in the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives.
Lucy Worsley in character with teenage Elizabeth I
Most of the series was filmed at Barrington Court in Somerset, which is located in the village of the same name near Ilminster in southwest Somerset. Several of the rooms doubled as interiors of Whitehall, Greenwich and Hampton Court Palaces, while the gardens provided the setting for several pivotal scenes including an argument between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
Watch the National Trust’s behind-the-scenes video:
Barrington Court was probably built in the last decade of the reign of King Henry VIII. When the National Trust acquired it in 1907, it had fallen into a state of serious disrepair. The buildings were used as a farmhouse and animals lived in the courtyard. Apparently one of the founding members of the Trust, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley took a liking to Barrington after sampling the cider from the extensive orchards.
Restoring it would require time and a lot of money. In the 1920s, a chap came along with the capital to restore it: Colonel Arthur Lyle, who was the director of the family firm Abraham Lyle & Sons (which later became one half of the sugar company Tate & Lyle). Lyle took on a 100-year lease and made it his life’s work to refurbish the manor.
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
During the Second World War, the local home guard practised their drills, while 45 pupils from a private boarding school in Kent lived in the house and used to fight with the kids from Shepton Beauchamp. In the room where the boys’ laundry was stored, you can still see their names on the rack.
Six Wives with Lucy Worsley continues on Wednesday at 9pm on BBC1.
Barrington Court is open on Saturday and Sunday 18 & 19 December, decorated for a 1920s style Christmas, and then will re-open in 2017. For details, go to: nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court
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