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Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All


Nettlecombe is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was stated to be held by William the Conqueror, and in the charge of his Sheriff for Somerset, William De Mohun. Prior to the Norman Conquest it had been one of only two Somerset manors held by Godwin son of King Harold, and after the Battle of Hastings was consequently forfeited to the Crown.

How long Nettlecombe was retained by the Crown is not known, but it is next found in the hands of John son of Gilbert the Marshal, members of a family which took their name from their hereditary mastership of the King’s marshalsea. For many years John had championed the cause of the Empress Matilda against King Stephen, and on the accession of her son Henry II received a grant of Crown lands in Wiltshire; Nettlecombe may have come into his possession at the same time. Subsequently, by an undated grant, he conveyed “all my land of Netelcumba” to Hugh de Ralegh, in return for which Hugh agreed to find one soldier for two months in time of war and for forty days in time of peace, and to give to John and his family and his family a sorrel nag, a horse, two dogs, eighty marks of silver, and two talents and an ounce of gold. As the grant was confirmed by Henry II it can be dated between 1154 and 1165.

Since this time Nettlecombe Court has never been sold, passing down through the families of Ralegh, Whalesborough, Trevelyan and Wolseley.

From 1945 until 1965 Nettlecombe Court was occupied by two successive schools.

In 1967 Nettlecombe Court was leased to Field Studies Council by the present owner John Walter Wolseley.  

You can see the de Ralegh family tree here or read how it was passed through the generations here.