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Newark Park, Ozleworth

Must see · Historic Site · Tourist Spot
Newark Park is a Grade I listed country house of Tudor origins located near the village of Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire. The house sits in an estate of 700 acres (2.8 km2) at the southern end of the Cotswold escarpment with views down the Severn Valley to the Severn Estuary. The house and estate have been in the care of the National Trust since 1946.

Newark Park was originally a four-storey (three storeys over a basement) Tudor hunting lodge built between 1544 and 1556 for Sir Nicholas Poyntz (d.1557), whose main seat was at Acton Court near Bristol, some fifteen miles to the south, an easy day's ride. The Poyntz family were anciently feudal barons of Curry Mallet in Somerset, later of Iron Acton in Gloucestershire. Poyntz was a Groom of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII and had recently remodeled Acton Park in anticipation of a royal visit. "Newark is equally fashionable in terms of its precocious classicism," observes Nicholas Cooper, who points out its rigorously symmetrical front (illustration), unprecedented in the main body of any great house in its time, and the correct Tuscan order of its original main door. The house was then called "New Work" and was partly constructed with building materials from the recently dissolved Kingswood Abbey, some five miles away. The lodge was three bays wide and of single-pile construction, one room deep. In the basement was a kitchen, there were two reception rooms on the ground floor and a banqueting room on the first. Modest sleeping quarters were provided on the third floor, and the roof was flat so that it could be used as a pleasurable lookout over the surrounding countryside, in which it enjoys a commanding position. It was built at about the same time as nearby Siston Court was being built by Sir Maurice Denys (d.1563), first cousin of Poyntz's wife Jane Berkeley. Poyntz's original lodge now forms the eastern part of the present structure.

In 1600 the lodge was sold to the Low family of London who in 1672 significantly extended the building by the addition of a second four-storey building to the west, which was joined to the original by a passage stairway creating an H-shaped footprint. The Lows owned Newark Park until 1722 when it was sold for £6,010 (equivalent to £952,000 today) to the Harding family who after making some minor alterations sold it to James Clutterbuck. The Clutterbucks engaged the architect James Wyatt to remodel it into a four-square house in 1790. Their improvements included the creation of a formal deer-park to the south of the house and landscaping of the rest of the grounds.

The Clutterbucks left Newark in 1860 and let it out, but even though it was tenanted the occupants continued to make alterations and improvements. Mrs Annie Poole King family, widow of a Bristol shipping merchant took the leasehold in 1898, moving from the larger Standish House at Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. A member of the Berkeley Hunt, she had five children, plus a house staff of a coachman, cook, housekeeper, and gardener. The King family added servants' quarters on the north side, installed a hot-air heating system and ran hot water to the second floor. The Kings stayed at Newark until 1949 when the last of the line died and the then owner, Mrs Power-Clutterbuck, gave Newark Park and its estates to the National Trust.
When the Trust took ownership they did not open Newark Park to the public but instead let it out to tenants who ran it as a nursing home. By 1970 the house was in a state of disrepair and the gardens overgrown. It was in this state that American architect Robert (Bob) Parsons (1920–2000), who had long expressed a desire to take on an English country house in need of repair, took the tenancy and began a painstaking programme of renovation, conservation and rehabilitation to both the house and the grounds. It was due to Bob Parson's efforts that the architectural importance of the house was acknowledged and the Grade I listing achieved.
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Newark Park reviews

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401 reviews
  • Quite a winding road from Wootten under Edge led us eventually to the gates of Newark Park. The long drive is single carriageway and I imagined what it might have been like to be driven up to the...  more »
  • Enjoyed a sunny lunchtime here on our way north. House not open however a good place for a picnic and a walk round the grounds. Staff very friendly and helpful. Cafe open. Well done National Trust  more »
  • We had a lovely planned visit to Newark Park last week. After a long walk in the beautiful surrounding countryside, we arrived at the refreshment kiosk right at the last minute. The welcoming young...  more »
  • It's nice and interesting. More outdoor attractions wouldn't go amiss. Free garden games, house tours and themed exhibition room installations. Free ghost in the Tudor bedroom and on the stairs judging by how I feel when I walk up them. Tudor hunting lodge converted to Georgian/ Regancy family home. Below stairs also interesting. Most amazing views along Cotswold Edge
  • Being a great fan of the National Trust we visited Newark park as part of a break in Bristol. First impressions were good we had a very warm welcome from the staff who noticed my disability and informed me of the steep nature of a number of the woodland walks. The choices in the tea pavilion were limited and we had missed out on the soup which was all sold out. Otherwise the fare was of good quality. The house was interesting and well laid out. I'm sure we will return soon for a more in depth review.
  • Relatively easy to locate using the postal code in my satnav. Easy parking with a short walk on dry paths to the house. Wheelchair was available on request. Very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff. Warm homely house with well restored comfortable rooms. It owes a great deal to the recent Restorer Resident from Texas that spent much of his own money on restoration work. Tea room in the house where bring your own food was accepted. Great day out.
  • House needs a lot of work, but the people who works there are very nice and gives good explanation about the place. I love the tour to the basement. And they have second hand books a very good price. Gardens are alright but I have seen better.
  • Not one of the largest of the national properties but lost of history and a fantastic children's playing area. Walk the through woods and discover the carved wooden animals. Thoroughly enjoyed the house and surrounding landscape.

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