BY CHARLES EVANS
Barrington Court in Langport, Somerset, was built between 1514-20 for Lord Daubeny, a military commander who had served Henry VIII in his French war and been present at the famous pageant of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The material is the local Ham Hill stone, of a rich golden colour, of which the quarries also produced a notable school of skilled masons.
The unknown master-mason of Barrington perfected an exquisite prototype followed by English architecture for a hundred years. But the native Gothic tradition is so blended with features of the French renaissance style that it is probable that his employer, or somebody in Lord Daubeny’s household who had absorbed current developments in France, exerted considerable influence on the design.
This co-ordinates all the elements of the traditional manor house into a logical and symmetrical plan – the ‘E’, popularly associated with Queen Elizabeth I – as well as introducing one of the earliest of long galleries. In the elevations, each vertical line culminates in the sculptured finials or spiral chimneys that flower above the roof.