In Focus: The Barrow Court Sale

In Focus: The Barrow Court Sale

Clevedon Salerooms is delighted to announce that it has been entrusted with the sale of the contents of Barrow Court, former home of the late technology entrepreneur Iann Barron C.B.E. The auction will be held at Clevedon Salerooms premises on Thursday 1st June 2023.

Few people looking for the quintessential English manor house would expect to find it in North Somerset, barely a mile from Bristol Airport. So secluded is the setting of Barrow Court, that even amongst the locals, its story is barely known. Yet, if the curious traveller ventures down the long leafy lane which bears its name that is precisely the scene with which they are rewarded.

The house – Jacobean in appearance but incorporating earlier and later elements – traces its history to a Benedictine nunnery founded on the site in the early 13th century. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, Henry the Vlll gifted the property to John Drew of Bristol. It was John Drew who turned it into a private mansion and gave it its name. Two further families added their own influences during the next 300 years when it passed to various members of those two owners, particularly Dr James Frances and William Gore.



In the late 19th century it was bought by the Gibbs family of nearby Tyntesfield, whose influence in this part of the West Country was comparable to the Rothschilds, their equally wealthy contemporaries in the Vale of Aylesbury. It was Henry Gibbs, at the time High Sheriff of Somerset, who embarked on a comprehensive remodelling of the house and commissioned the eminent garden designer Francis Inigo Thompson to layout the parterre and formal gardens.

The subject of articles in Country Life in 1902, Barrow Court took its place among the rollcall of celebrated West Country historic houses before being converted to institutional use whilst still in the ownership of the Gibbs family. In 1976 the house was sold and divided into seven separate dwellings. Iann Barron purchased two of the seven, and then the interconnecting third. An ardent champion of Barrow Court’s history, over many years he undertook a mission to revive the property, lovingly restoring many of its notable features and creating with curatorial flair a wonderland of period furniture and works of art, all of which exude a depth of history and feeling of having always been there.

The majority of the pieces on offer were purchased from established dealers in the Cotswolds during the 1980s. Highlights of the sale include:


Charles I panel-back open armchair, South West Yorkshire c.1630 with arched stop-fluted cresting and acorn finials, single scrolling floral stem over flowerhead and lozenge arch on figural term pilasters framing floral scrollwork, the boarded seat between parallel baluster open arm supports with bicuspid seat rail and inverted baluster and vase turned front legs with bicuspid front stretcher, 59cm wide x 51cm deep x 135.5cm high 

Estimate £3,000-5,000


Good Charles I carved oak three-tier open ‘court cupboard’ or buffet, Home Counties, the moulded rectangular top with dentil moulding, the cushion frieze centred by shield carved with date 1628 over triad G over TM, between addorsed scroll-carved mythical beasts, raised on carved gryphon front supports, the central cushion-moulded drawer carved with scrolls, raised on conforming lion supports, the base with chip-carved front rail, 122cm x 43cm x 124cm high 

Estimate £10,000 – 15,000


John Norcot, London – Fine walnut and seaweed marquetry eight-day brass dial longcase clock, 11-inch brass dial with signed silvered Roman chapter ring with half hour divisions, inner quarter hour track, matted centre with subsidiary seconds ring over ringed winding arbors and silvered terrestrial calendar square with engraved surround, all within winged cherub mask spandrels, the knopped five-pillar movement striking on a bell, the case with caddy top, pierced frieze and barley twist hood column over crossgrain-moulded long trunk door with lenticle over conforming base, 215cm high

Estimate £5,000-8,000


Circle of Arthur Pond, (c. 1701-1758) - English School, mid-18th Century - Oil on canvas – Henry and Susanna Hoare of Stourhead, depicted signing a document, reputedly inscribed verso (beneath relining. as per image) "Henry Hoare Jun'r and Miss Hoare his sister (father and Aunt) afterwards Countess of Ailesbury" [Aylesbury], 90cm x 112cm, with labels ex H.W. Keil, Broadway

Estimate £3,000-5,000


Auction Details

Thursday 1st June, 10.30am BST
Clevedon Salerooms, Kenn Road, Clevedon,
North Somerset, BS21 6TT


    • Tuesday 30 May: 10am-5pm
    • Wednesday 31 May: 10am-5pm