Lytes Cary Manor was built by the Lyte family who owned the property for 500 years from the 13th to the 18th century.
The secluded manor house was not constructed all at one time but grew over a long period.
The principal features of the stone-built house are the chapel adjoining the house, which was built in about 1343 by Peter Lyte, the Tudor Great Hall of around 1450, the Great Chamber of 1533, with its fine plasterwork ceiling and the Great Parlour with early 17th century panelling.
Much of the rest of the house was built in the 16th century by John Lyte.
Although the north and west ranges were constructed in the 18th century or later the whole house has a feeling of great age.
John Lyte's son Henry was a noted horticulturist.
When his father retired to London in 1558 Henry created a botanic garden at Lytes Cary.
In 1578 he published his 'Niewe Herball', a translation from the work of the Flemish herbalist Dodoens and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I.
The book, which became known as 'Lyte's Herbal', was a best seller and was still being reprinted in 1678. A copy of book can be found in the Great Hall.
After Lytes Cary Manor was sold by the Lyte family in 1748 the building fell into disrepair.
However, in 1907 the house was rescued by Sir Walter Jenner (son of the Victorian physician). He refurnished the manor house with high quality 17th and early 18th century oak pieces and used authentically medieval coloured fabrics in olive, brown and muted red.
When Sir Walter died in 1948 he left Lytes Cary Manor to the National Trust.
Today there is no trace of Henry Lyte's botanic garden but during the early 20th century a beautiful formal garden in the Elizabethan style was created by Sir Walter Jenner.
The flagged path leading to the front door is lined with rounded topiary yews.
Clipped hedges enclose a series of outdoor rooms. Some frame smooth lawns and a pool ornamented with statues of Flora and Diana.
A herbaceous border punctuated with urns and yew buttresses leads to a raised walk overlooking an orchard. This has crab apples, quinces and medlars that were popular in Elizabethan times. A border along the south front has been restocked with plants commonly grown in Henry Lyte's day.