Sir John Trevilian of Nettlecombe Court

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John Trevilian, of Nettlecombe Court

Also Known As: "Trevillian", "Trevelian", "Trevilion", "Trevillian or very rarely Trevilyan"
Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Nettlecombe Court, Somerset, England
Death: April 1, 1623 (66)
Nettlecombe Court, Somerset, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John Trevillion, of Nettlecombe Court and Maud Trevillion
Husband of Lady Urith (Chichester) Trevilian
Father of Sir John Trevillian of Nettlecombe Court; Susanna Carpenter; Eulalia Trevillian; Mary Robinson; George Trevilian and 5 others
Brother of Dorothy Tucke

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir John Trevilian of Nettlecombe Court

Spouse: Urith CHICHESTER






Christopher TREVILLIAN






Nettlecombe was originally spelled Netelcumbe and by 1245 Nettelcumbe meaning the place or valley where the nettles grow.[3]

Nettlecombe has never been bought or sold. It was held before the Norman Conquest by Prince Godwine, son of King Harold. William the Conqueror assumed possession of Nettlecombe after defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.[4] In 1160, Henry II granted it to Hugh de Raleigh, and to his heirs in perpetuity.[5] It passed to Warine de Raleigh, and on through direct blood heirs until the 19th century, a claim strengthened by marriages between deep ancestral cousins. The estate became a seat of the Trevelyan baronets (previously spelled as Trevilian), who also held another manor at Basil, by the marriage of Sir John Trevilian in 1481 to Lady Whalesborough, heiress of Nettlecombe via her Raleigh maternal line. Nettlecombe was held in continuity by Trevilian successors until the 20th century following the death of Lady Joan Trevelyan and her husband Garnet Wolsey.[6]

Nettlecombe Court has a late medieval hall, with the entrance front, porch, great hall and parlour added in 1599. Around 1641 there were further additions to rear of great hall, and between 1703 and 1707 the South West front was extended. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building.[1]

As stated in "Nettlecombe Court" by R. J. E. Bush:

"Nettlecombe is first mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, when it was stated to be held by William the Conquerer, and in the charge of his Sheriff for Somerset, William de Mohun." A family lineage published in Nettlecombe Court shows that the estate passed into the Trevelyan (Trevilian / Trevillian) family in 1452, upon the marriage of Elizabeth Whalesburgh to John Trevelyan.

It remained as a family estate in the Trevelyan family until the mid-nineteen hundreds.

Nettlecombe Court is a large country mansion in the English county of Somerset.

Nettlecombe Court was originally built as a manor house, becoming a girls' boarding school in the early 1960s. Since 1967 has been the Leonard Wills Field Centre run by the Field Studies Council. The house is surrounded by Nettlecombe Park, a 90.4 hectares (223 acres) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

As stated in Nettlecombe Court, by R. J. E. Bush,"Nettlecombe is first mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, when it was stated to be held by William the Conqueror, and in the charge of his Sheriff for Somerset, William de Mohun." A family lineage published in Nettlecombe Court shows that the estate passed into the Trevelyan family in 1452, upon the marriage of heiress Elizabeth Whalesburgh to a close knight companion of King Henry VII: Sir John Trevilian,[13] Esquire of the Kynge's Body to Henry VI, Gentleman Usher of the King's Chamber.[14] He also served as a Member of Parliament representing Somerset[15] and as High Sheriff of Cornwall.[16] In the 17th century, the spelling of Trevilian became variably spelt as Trevelyan.

Sir Walter Raleigh visited the tombs of his ancestors are Nettlecombe as a youth; and later, the great oak timber of Nettlecombe was used in the construction of the English ships that defeated the Spanish Armada.

Nettlecombe Court has several emblems and carvings bearing the image of a horse rising from the sea, which are the Trevilian family arms, found throughout the house. The source story of the arms is the Lyonesse legend of Trevilian, as follows: Lyonesse were the lands, now submerged, on the west coast that was said to be the lands of Camelot of King Arthur and the site of the final mortal battle between King Arthur and Mordred. Tennyson's Idylls of the King claims Lyonesse as the final resting place of King Arthur himself. Perhaps this is why the grave of the king cannot be found, as it lies beneath the sea. Roman writings also speak of a Leonis, now submerged off the coast. Lyonesse was also the home of Tristan and Isolde. Legend relates that when Lyonesse suddenly sank, it was inundated as sea levels rushed in. The sole surviving knight of King Arthur's Lyonesse was said to be only one knight, Trevilian, who escaped by riding his white horse through the rising waters to higher ground before Lyonesse was submerged. Trevilian urged the other knights to join him in his attempt to escape, who counter-urged Trevilian to stay put and wait for the floodwaters to pass. The sedentary knights jovially bet wagers amongst themselves around the supper table, as to whether or not Trevilian and his white horse could survive swimming through the incoming flooding and make it to higher ground. None of the other Arthurian knights of Lyonesse, except Trevilian, was said to have survived the great sinking and inundation of Lyonesse.[20] Submerged Medieval church bells of the lost land of Lyonesse were later said to be heard ringing, muffled under the water, when turbulent storms created rough seas. The surviving Trevilian became the founder of the current British Trevilian-Trevelyan family, whose coat of arms still bears a white horse issuing forth from the sea. In some cases the Trevilian white horse arms may be seen combined at Nettlecombe with other related family arms, indicating marriages to Raleigh, Luttrell, Wyndham, Chichester and Strode.

In the 19th century, Lady Trevelyan made use of the family estates Wallington and Nettlecombe with its great house and 20,000 acres of land, to host a sophisticated intellectual and artistic salon of the day, renown for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.[17] The sister of Lord Thomas Macaulay, eminent British historian as author of the History of England, Hannah Macaulay, married into the Trevelyan family resulting in another eminent historian George Macaulay Trevelyan, whose ancestors lived at Nettlecombe.[18][19] Nettlecombe Park is 223 acres (90 ha) of undulating parkland boasting monumental solitary trees and treegroups. It was probably once an oak forest in the main. Today, among these, oaks and sweet chestnuts are still the most common. Several sessile oaks are outstandingly large and were famous from ancient accounts for their great size. Nettlecombe oaks once provided tall strong trees for shipbuilding. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, timber hewn from the oaks of Nettlecombe were hand-selected to help build the ships of the English fleet commanded by Sir Walter Raleigh that defeated the Spanish Armada.[27][28] A number of other English ships that sailed the world to establish British colonies, its navy, and trading empire were built making use of prime Nettlecombe oaks. In the 19th century very good prices were offered to the Trevelyan baronet to cut down and sell the great oaks, but the owner left them standing and the trees have been protected ever since. Some have now grown to a girth of 23 feet (7.0 m).[29] Today, Nettlecombe acorns are sold to nurseries to begin new sapling oak trees.

Nettlecombe is known to have had a deer park by 1532. In 1556 it covered 80 acres (32 ha) and in 1619 70 acres (28 ha).[23] In the 1690s large areas of parkland were enclosed and four new gardens created, including a water garden, which has now disappeared but is remembered in the name 'Canal Field'.[24] The park was extended in the 18th century which included the removal of the houses that made up the village. In 1792 Thomas Veitch laid out the landscape in the style of Capability Brown including the construction of a Ha-ha between the deer park and the meadows.[25] This included the removal of cottages and relocation of the residents.[21]

Nettlecombe Court was recorded as an estate since before the Norman Conquest, which was added to and rebuilt over the centuries. Today it is largely an Elizabethan country mansion, in addition to earlier-built structures including a late Medieval hall, entrance front, porch, a great hall, and church.[8] A Tudor parlour was added in 1599. In the 1640s there were further additions to the rear of the great hall following a fire started by roundheads opposed to George Trevelyns support of the monarchy during the English Civil War.[9]

During the reign of George I, between 1703 and 1707, the South West front was extended.[8] The south west wing was decorated in the 1780s and the north east service range was added in the early 19th century. The house contains plaster work from each of these eras.[10]

In the 1600s an organ built by John Loosemore was installed,[11] at a cost of £100. The organ was converted from a single-manual to two-manual operation in the 1830s. In the 1980s this was restored at the John Loosemore Centre in Buckfastleigh.[12]

Within the grounds is the Church of St Mary the Virgin which is also a Grade I listed building.[26]

Records suggest this site has been an monumental oak grove wood pasture or parkland for at least 400 years. There are some very old oak pollards which may be of this age or older. The oldest standard trees are over 200 years of age. The continuity of open woodland and parkland, with large mature and over-mature timber, has enabled characteristic species of epiphytic lichens and beetles to become established and persist. Many of these species are now nationally scarce because this type of habitat has been eliminated over large areas of Great Britain.

Sir John Trevelyan who was born in 1556, was largely concerned with the rebuilding of Nettlecombe such as we know it and such as our views represent it. For him, had been arranged in his boyhood, a marriage with a daughter of Sir John Chichester of Raleigh, near Barnstaple, whose fine tomb is in Pilton church, of delicately wrought motifs," as among the best designed of the monuments which rich Elizabethans set up in memory of their ancestors.

The marriage of John Trevelyan and Urith Chichester eventually took place, and she bore him ten children before she died in 1691. Her husband had for some time consoled himself with another wife before he began building operations at Nettlecombe.

The dates 1599 and 1601 appear on the fabric, but the work still went on, for in a letter to John Trevelyan from his cousin and correspondent, Richard Hill, dated October 22nd, 1602, the latter wishes him a "happy end to your buildings and longe continuance in injoyenge ye same to yor owne desiered comforts." Which was fulfilled, for John Trevelyan outlived both his wives and his eldest son, and died in 1623. As regards his rebuilding of Nettlecombe, it would be still more interesting if it were known how much of the old house he retained and incorporated. It may well be that the main structure of the Gothic hall was kept, for it is still entered through the porch to the screens, and the medieval positions for chimney and oriel are retained. But the wliuie was remodelled and something of classic symmetry was given to the extenor, of which the portion illustrated exhibits t:.e poich and the stately mullioning of Elizabethan times. Whether as an adaptation of old forms or as a completely new building, the hall was made consonant to its day, and instead of going up into the root was ceiled at the two-storey height, and elaborate plaster-work \\as introduced. It is an excellent example of the country craftsmanship of a time when the foreman pia-terer, and not the supervising architect, was responsible for I lie details. The w hole is pleasant and picturesque.

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Sir John Trevilian of Nettlecombe Court's Timeline

October 31, 1556
Somerset, England
March 3, 1586
Age 29
Nettlecombe, Somerset
March 4, 1587
Age 30
Somerset, England
April 24, 1592
Age 35
Nettlecomb, Somerset, England
Age 37
Nettlecombe, Somersetshire, England
Age 39
Nettlecombe, Somersetshire, England
Age 41
Nettlecombe, Somersetshire, England
Age 43
Nettlecombe, Somersetshire, England
Age 44
Nettlecombe, Somersetshire, England