For nearly a thousand years Frampton Court Estate and the Clifford family have been at the heart of this ancient settlement, and the splendid buildings of the Estate around Rosamund’s Green provide the architectural focal points of the village. The two grandest houses on the Estate – the striking timber-framed 16th century Manor and the splendid 18th century Frampton Court – face each other across the village green, reputed to be the longest in England. Tucked away in Frampton Court’s Grade 1 listed park and garden is the stunning Orangery, a beautiful and eccentric 18th century garden house, while the magnificent 16th century Wool Barn dominates the Estate farmyard at The Manor.
The modern-day ethos of the Clifford family is one of careful stewardship of a traditional, sustainable English country estate. The Estate comprises 1500 acres of farmed arable land, woodlands, lakes and wetlands – which provide wonderful walks, riding, angling, sailing, shooting, bird-watching and hunting, and include two Sites of Special Scientific Interest – as well as many of the village’s most handsome buildings.
Frampton Court was built between 1730 and 1733 by Richard Clutterbuck, possibly to designs by the Bristol architect John Strahan who was a pupil of Sir John Vanbrugh. Richard, who had made his fortune as Head of the Customs House in Bristol, had inherited Frampton from his father William Clutterbuck who had been given the Estate by his grandfather John Clifford in 1684.
The house displays a magnificent mixture of Baroque and Palladian architectural styles and is built of fine Bath stone. The principal rooms are at first floor level, no doubt testament to Frampton’s very high water table as well as the architectural fashion of the time. The interiors are described by Pevsner as, ‘lavish… with joinery of the highest quality’. The Hall, Dining Room and Drawing Room are fitted with exquisitely worked oak and pine panelling, and the magnificent oak and holly staircase is accompanied by a very unusual matching dog-gate.
The architectural splendour of Frampton Court is complimented by an outstanding collection of contemporary 18th century furniture and furnishings. The exquisite Frampton Flora watercolours are on display throughout the house. Painted by Clifford aunts and nieces in the mid-19th century, they are a fantastic record of the local flora in and around Frampton, and the artistic talent of the Clifford ladies.
Frampton Court is set within an extensive grade I listed park and garden with views across to the large lake, which attracts a wide variety of waterfowl. As well as house and garden tours, events – including wedding parties – are held in The Park, and the handsome garden is available for wedding photographs.
The intriguing timber-framed grade I listed Manor is currently the family home of the Cliffords, and is an amalgamation of building programmes and styles which date from the 13th to the 17th centuries. It is understood that Jane Clifford was born here in the 12th century. Jane is better known from folklore and legend as Fair Rosamund, mistress of Henry II whom he named his ‘Rose of the World’.
The Manor is surrounded by a diverse and extensively planted garden consisting of mature herbaceous borders, topiary, wild flower garden and a magnificent kitchen garden and orchard. A charming detail in the garden is the striking red and white striped rose ‘Rosa Mundi’ – Rosa gallica versicolour, a sport of the ‘Apothecary’s Rose’ – which is said to be named after Fair Rosamund.
Delicious seasonal, home-grown, organic fruit and veg from the garden at The Manor are highlights on the breakfast menu for guests staying at Frampton Court, and for tour groups having lunch or tea at The Wool Barn. The Gloucester Old Spot pigs are reared in the orchard at The Manor and provide scrumptious bacon and sausages.
Gardens form an important part of the history and life of Frampton Court Estate.The Park and garden at Frampton Court is Grade 1 listed. The highlight of the garden is architectural rather than horticultural, namely the breathtaking 18th century Orangery with its elegant ornamental canal. The Manor garden is more intimate with its pretty Frampton-brick walls and is a plantsman’s delight boasting a host of unusual plants. Both gardens can be used as delightful locations for photographs for wedding parties at The Park or The Wool Barn.
On an artistic note, Frampton is home to the Frampton Flora, an exquisite collection of 19th century water-colours executed by several generations of Clifford ladies, and housed at Frampton Court.