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Compton Wynyates

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Compton Wyngates; Compton Wyniates; Compton Winyate; Compton in the Hole; Compton House

In the civil parish of Compton Wynyates.
In the historic county of Warwickshire.
Modern Authority of Warwickshire.
1974 county of Warwickshire.
Medieval County of Warwickshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP33074184
Latitude 52.07381° Longitude -1.51888°

Compton Wynyates has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Fortified manor house, built circa 1500 but incorporating parts of an earlier house. Extended in C18, restored and remodelled circa 1867 and further repaired in C20. The brick-built house is set around a courtyard and retains many original features. Part of the moat also survives, though the majority was drained during the Civil War. (PastScape)

The House was begun in the early 16th century, near the site of a depopulated Medieval village, for Sir William Compton, one of Henry VIII's officials. The form is quadrangular; the House is entered through a gatehouse on the west side. There were originally two moats - an outer, dry moat, enclosing the House and a service court; and an inner, water filled, moat enclosing the House itself. Traces of both survive. Repairs and alterations to the House were made in the early 18th century. In 1768 the 8th Earl ordered the House to be demolished, due to financial problems, but the order was not carried out. The House was effectively abandoned until the 1850s; it was restored 1859-60. (Warwickshire HER)

The Compton family, who still live today in this private house, appear in records as resident on the site as early as 1204. The family continued to live in the manor house as knights and squires of the county until Sir Edmund Compton (who died circa 1493) decided, circa 1481, to build a new family home.
Edmund Compton constructed the house of bricks which have a glowing raspberry colour of striking intensity. Edmund's four-winged house around a central courtyard is recognisable by the thickness of the 4 ft deep walls which form the core of the existing mansion. This new fortified house was fully moated, and parts of the moat form a pond in the garden today. There was also a second moat (probably dry) and second drawbridge. However, fortifications were not the only consideration for the new mansion—dark brick diapering and decorative mouldings add variety to the façade. Over the entrance the Royal Arms of England are supported by the dragon and greyhound of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The architect or mason builder is unknown.
Edmund died young and, as a consequence, his son William Compton became a ward of the crown, as was the custom. ... Henry VIII gave William many rewards, amongst them the ruinous Fulbroke Castle. Numerous fittings at Fulbroke were brought to embellish Compton Wynyates, including the huge bay window full of heraldic glass, which looks into the courtyard from the great hall; also from the castle came many of the mullioned windows with vine-patterned ornamentation.
It was at this time (circa 1515) that the great entrance porch, chapel and many of the towers were built. In fact, this was the start of the many additions over the next ten years which were added to the house with no thought of symmetry, height or regularity. The house was simply extended wherever space within the confines of the moat permitted. The brick-fluted and twisted chimneys also date from this time and are one of the houses most notable features.
Unlike many other houses of the period, Compton Wynyates has not been greatly altered over the centuries. This is because in 1574 its owner Henry Compton, 1st Baron Compton, began work on Castle Ashby. The Comptons continued to lavish money on this new mansion for the next century or so; as a consequence, Compton Wynyates has survived almost intact as the perfect Tudor mansion. (Wikipedia ref. anonymously written guide book)

The form of the pre-1500 house is not really know but probably a simple moated manor house. William Compton's house was certainly rather grand and rich with symbolic fortifications and strong enough to be the site of a Civil War siege (although it should be noted completely domestic elite house were defended and besieged in those wars). A domestic house and only ever rarely mentioned as a fortification. However, it is a significant house in showing the power that martial symbolism retained for the Tudor elite.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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