History & Heritage

Avon Tyrrell’s History and Heritage.

Built in 1891 the Grade 1 listed Calendar house and 65-acre site is full of history and heritage. From having been built off a winning horse bet, to being used during World War 1 and 2 as well as the manor house having been opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II, learn more about our site’s history and heritage. 

  • 1881

    Lord Manners made a bet that he would be able to buy, train and ride the winner of the upcoming 1882 Grand National, purchasing a horse called Seaman for £1900 whose owner was not convinced that he would even stand the training.

    Nobody thought that Lord Manners had the experience to win at Aintree and the conditions on the day were the worst in race history, causing many of the runners to drop back leaving Manners and Seaman neck and neck with the favourite at the final fence. Manners had to nurse his horse past the winning post, a short head in the lead, securing himself £28,000, which is the equivalent of £3.6 million today.  After the win, Seaman never raced again, but was ridden by the Manners family until he died and was laid to rest in the grounds.


  • 1885

    Although Lord Manners was wealthy, he owned no property and when he married Constance Fane in 1885, her eldest sister let Lord Manners build Avon Tyrrell on her land with his winnings.

  • 1891

    Avon Tyrrell House was built as a calendar house with 365 windows (days), 7 outer doors (days per week), 52 rooms (weeks), 12 Chimneys (months) and 4 wings (seasons) and was designed and built by the Arts and Crafts architect W.R. Lethaby and was completed in 1891. It is reportedly the last built Calendar House in the country and is regarded as exceptional national importance, thus it is a Grade I listed building.

  • World War I

    The house was used as a convalescent home for injured New Zealand officers in World War One and requisitioned by the army during the Second World War as an intelligence gathering post, hospital, and morgue.

  • World War II

    Requisitioned by the army as an intelligence post, hospital, and morgue.

  • 1946

    The Manners family never moved back but in 1946 the House and Grounds were put into a Trust by the family for use by the “Youth of the Nation” and the National Association of Girls Clubs and Mixed Clubs (now UK Youth) became the custodians of the site.

  • 1949

    Avon Tyrrell official opened by Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II).

  • Present Day

    The Charity through the years has changed its name but has never stopped delivering what the Manners family gave the House and grounds for, to provide outdoor learning programmes and personal development opportunities for young people helping them experience, learn and develop.  Lord Manners and his family still actively support the work of the Charity at Avon Tyrrell today.