This is an undiscovered gem just off the A1 in Great Ponton, south of Grantham.
The present house was built by the Ellys family end of 15thC/beginning of 16thC on an older building. They were wealthy wool merchants trading with Flanders. The Ellys family had many powerful connections and links with many other important families. The house displays the wealth of the family and includes the latest continental styles like the stepped gables.
There are remains of wall paintings in the upper rooms. Pevsner described these as “most complete, extensive and important domestic decoration of this date in the country”
These had been covered by a lime wash and were discovered by chance. I had always associated wall paintings with churches, but apparently they were an alternative room decoration to tapestries. These are not religious paintings but designed to look like a view with gardens.
There was a bottom border and top frieze. The wall was divided by pillars to resemble vistas with trees, flowers and animals. The green of the trees has been lost and now looks a muddy grey colour but the red splodges of fruit can still be seen. The reds and ochres are still bright. One room has two walls with paintings exposed and there are smaller areas of paintings elsewhere. When money is available there are plans to remove more of the lime wash to reveal the paintings.
We were shown round by the owner who bought the house 26 years ago and is gradually restoring it back to its original state. He has spent a long time unravelling the history of the house and the Ellys family. This was a fascinating visit.
There are a few steps on the ground floor with a big wooden spiral staircase giving access to the upper floor. There is an audiovisual presentation of the wall paintings for those who cannot manage the stairs.
There are no toilets or tea room. There is limited parking in front of the house. There is a parking area just off the road at the other side of the church which is used by the church and sports club.
The website suggests ringing to confirm the house is open before visiting. The day we visited the house was closed in the morning as a film crew were filming a documentary for the History Programme.
Elly’s Manor House is well worthwhile visiting and can be tied in with a visit to Easton Walled Garden just down the road and Woolsthorpe Manor (see separate reviews).