Fyne Court was the home of the Crosse family from the day of its founding until being handed over to The National Trust in 1967. It was home to the electrical pioneer, inventor and scientist, Andrew Crosse, and ironically it survived his many experiments with electricity, only to be burnt to the ground in 1898, long after Andrew's demise.
Fyne Court is now a delightful pleasure garden and nature reserve in the Somerset countryside. The estate is the official visitor center for the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A stroll around the grounds is a real delight at any time of year with its well positioned eye-catcher follies, serpentine lake, boathouse and ponds providing new vistas at every turn.
At the heart of the estate is a 20 acre nature reserve which has a network of nature trails and paths through the various wildlife habitats. This area is managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust which uses the surviving outbuildings of Fyne Court as a training centre.
Former estate owner, Andrew Crosse, was born in 1784 and was a child prodigy. He mastered Ancient Greek by the time he was 8 and attended Dr Seyer's School in Bristol where he discovered a fascination with science, in particular electricity.
The boy was a practical joker and reputedly wired the brass doorknobs of the classrooms to give teachers a nasty electric shock as they entered the classroom!
By the age of 21, Andrew's parents had died and he abandoned his studies in law and returned to the family pile - Fyne Court. He used his inherited wealth to set up a laboratory and soon had the house wired up to capture the bolts of lightning, gaining him a local reputation as an evil wizard.
This is quite understandable as when the weather was stormy, forks of lightning would bounce wickedly off the copper cables he had rigged around the house. He used the huge voltage surges to power his enterprising experiments.
Aside from his scientific interests, he married twice and had a total of 10 children. He served as a local magistrate and finally died of a stroke in 1855 at the age of 71 in the very same room he had been born in.
The Fyne Court Mansion sadly burnt down in 1898 so a visit to Fyne Court now focuses on the 65-acre landscaped gardens, woodland garden and wild flower meadows.
Andrew Crosse's laboratory table is now on display in the aisle of the local Church of St Mary and All Saints. An obelisk commemorating his life can also be seen in the churchyard.
6 miles north of Taunton; 6 miles south west of Bridgwater.
View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website.
Taunton 6 miles, Bridgwater 6 miles.
Ordnance survey reference
Fyne Court Postcode for SatNav: TA5 2EQ