Nettlecombe Court was originally a medieval manor house. It was enlarged and altered in Tudor, Elizabethan and Georgian times. It was used by two schools from 1945 until 1965. In 1967 it was leased to the Field Studies Council who converted to its present use as a field centre.
Nettlecombe is mentioned in the Domesday Book. In 1160 the estate was granted by the king to Hugh de Ralegh. In 1440 Simon de Ralegh died childless and the estate passed to his nephew, Thomas Whalesborough. It was then inherited by Thomas's daughter Elizabeth who was married to John Trevelyan.
In the late 1700s the village of Nettlecombe, which had been located close to the court and church, was removed when the parkland was landscaped. Some people moved to the nearby villages of Torre and Yarde and the hamlet of Woodford, half a mile to the north east of the court was built in the 19th century to house estate workers.
Nettlecombe Court stayed in the Trevelyan family until 1931 when Sir Walter Trevelyan died and left Nettlecombe to his daughter Joan who was married to Garnet Wolsey, a noted artist. Much of the estate was sold off after 1945 but Nettlecombe Court has never been bought or sold.
Nettlecombe Church dates back to the 13th century and in 1440 the church was dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. It was restored c1820 and again in 1858 and 1870.
The interior of St Mary's Church contains some very interesting tombs, a fine pulpit and a beautifully carved rare seven sacrament font.
The Church of England observes two sacraments (baptism and communion) but the Catholic church recognises seven:
- Extreme Unction (last rites)
St Mary's Church, Nettlecombe
Ordination and Matrimony
Penance and Communion
Extreme Unction and Christ in Glory
Baptism and Confirmation
Carved Bench End
Effigy of Sir John Ralegh and his first wife Maud
Maud died c1360 but Sir John remarried and died in 1372
Effigy of Sir Simon de Ralegh, who died c1284-1288
This is made of oak and dates from the 18th century
Horse on Gatepost