Montacute House is a magnificent Elizabethan mansion and one of the best preserved in Britain.
It was built at the end of the 16th century for Sir Edward Phelips. He was a lawyer who became Speaker of the House of Commons and Master of the Rolls and in the trial of Guy Fawkes opened for the prosecution.
The symmetrical, H-shaped house was constructed of Ham Hill stone.
The interior is as impressive as the exterior and has many Renaissance features including decorated ceilings, ornate fireplaces, wood panelling and heraldic glass.
The Long Gallery measures 172 feet and is the largest surviving gallery in the country.
However, by the time the property passed into the hands of the National Trust the original contents had been dispersed.
Indeed, the house was almost demolished in 1931 when it was put on the market 'for scrap'.
Fortunately, Mr E.Cook donated sufficient funds to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to enable them to purchase Montacute House and pass it to the National Trust.
The rooms today are furnished by several loans and bequests.
There is a fine collection of 17th and 18th century furniture and the house is noted for its tapestries. There is also an exhibition samplers from the 17th century.
The National Portrait Gallery has provided a permanent loan of paintings from the Elizabethan and Jacobean period and these are displayed in the Long Gallery and adjoining rooms.
Outside is a formal garden with old roses and mixed borders and a landscaped park.