The Life & Times of Acton Court

J.J. West explores a major Tudor courtier house near Bristol

Acton Court, a major Tudor courtier house, stands just outside the village of Iron Acton a few miles north of Bristol. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission has recently agreed to buy and repair the house which is in severe disrepair and in danger of collapse. The cost of undertaking the most essential structural repairs is estimated at £300,000 to £350,000.

Acton Court is believed to have been built by Sir Nicholas Poyntz (1510-57) during the 1530s and 1540s and is remarkable for the advanced renaissance taste that it displays. Sir Nicholas was at court for the christening of Prince Edward in 1537, and was in the party sent to meet Anne of Cleves in 1540. His daughter married Protector Somerset’s brother, which brought him into the circle of avant garde architectural patronage led by the Protector, who was himself responsible for building, at old Somerset House, the first coherent classical facade in England.

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