Great Chalfield Manor, near Bradford-on-Avon, has been the setting for film and television dramas, including Wolf Hall and Poldark. In 2008’s The Other Boleyn Girl it masqueraded as the Boleyns’ family home, in place of the real Hever Castle in Kent. Perhaps this is because it exudes authenticity, architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner describing it as ‘one of the most perfect examples of the late medieval English manor house.’
Great Chalfield was built by the wealthy Wiltshire lawyer and clothier Thomas Tropenell as a moated manor house in the period 1465-1480. Tropenell seems to have caused offence to neither side in the ongoing Wars of the Roses. An early 20th century owner, Robert Fuller, restored the house and church and engaged Alfred Parsons to design the garden, which is itself Grade II listed. In 1943 Robert Fuller gave the property to the National Trust.
On Tuesday 03 March at 2.30pm at Gold Hill Museum, National Trust Guide Arnold Snowball will illustrate the story of ‘Great Chalfield Manor and its People’. It is, he says, “also the story of the county, the country, its trade and its wars over the last 550 years.” He will bring with him copies of the latest History of Great Chalfield Manor by Hugh Wright, from which the photograph is reproduced by kind permission.
This talk is free to Shaftesbury & District Historical Society members while non-members may pay £3 at the door. It replaces the scheduled lecture on The Grotto Makers which has had to be postponed.