Somerset, BS48 1NX
This Gothic Revival mansion set in a 500-acre estate was saved for the nation in 2002.
Tyntesfield was originally built as a family home, lived in by four generations of the Gibbs between 1843 and 2001. William Gibbs built the family's fortune on the trade of guano – a fertiliser made from South American sea bird droppings – which transformed him from a successful merchant into a very wealthy man. After buying the Regency house for his expanding family, he remodelled it into a Gothic masterpiece. The three subsequent heirs to Tyntesfield – Antony, George and Richard Gibbs – each made their own mark on the property but rarely threw any of its possessions away, meaning the 106-room mansion is now an embodiment of the family's history.
Tyntesfield is a rare example of a Victorian property with a private purpose-built chapel. William Gibbs, who commissioned its construction in 1873, was a deeply religious and a passionate supporter of the Oxford or High Church Movement. The design is inspired by the flamboyant Gothic architecture of Sainte Chapelle in Paris, including an ornate mosaic floor and flowering brass chandeliers.
The Gibbs were avid collectors with a taste for fine and beautiful things, but they also hoarded knick-knacks and souvenirs from family life – making Tyntesfield collection a truly eclectic treasure trove of objects. From ornate furnishings to ice skates and picnic sets, over 50,000 objects have been catalogued; it is the largest recorded collection owned by the National Trust.