The Tudor mansion of the Portman family rose on a site west of the parish church about the middle of the 16th century, and was almost certainly the work of Sir William Portman, Lord Chief Justice of England (d. 1557).  It  was left to succeeding generations to enlarge the house on the grand scale, and it may have been another Sir  William, the 6th baronet (1644 - 1690), who added the range of buildings which dominates John Kip’s engraved  view of the house, c. 1708.  These additions had vanished by the early 19th century, and the Tudor house itself  was demolished in about 1843.

No trace of the buildings remain on the site, which is the current location of Taunton Race Course.


To see a map of the Thurlbear part of the Portman Estate in the 1800s press HERE

Sadly in 1839 Mr Thomas Andrews, Lord Portman’s agent who resided at Portman House died of typhus, which he had contracted along with his wife and 9 children.  His wife, Catherine, died not long after him, also from typhus.  It was this event that led to the house being demolished in 1843.

It was Mr Thomas Andrews who was the driving force behind the growing of hops at Orchard Portman but with his death the area put down to hops slowly diminished and by the  1880s there were none grown at all.