Monday, 7 July 2008

Great Houses

Corfe Castle, Dorset (National Trust) Click here for rather too many photos of the castle

One of the beauties of our countryside are the many great houses which survive, often in glorious grounds, by allowing people to visit them. The Historic Houses Association lists 1500 such places and The National Trust a further 300.

Athelhampton, Dorset (Historic Houses Association) Click here for some photos of Athelhampton and its garden taken on a rainy day in July
Added to which the late Sir John Smith's Landmark Trust now lets out over 180 restored old buildings for short periods so that you can experience what it's like to actually live in such places.

The East Banqueting House, Chipping Campden (The Landmark Trust)
Many of the larger houses have cafes which, like the pubs, have undergone a huge improvement in quality and can give you a decent lunch or tea.

Apart from their beauty, they are important for the history that surrounds each of them. Click on the names of these houses for a brief summary - except the site of the East Banqueting House which, like Corfe Castle, fell in the Civil War. The Landmark Trust site records that 'In 1613, the newly enriched Sir Baptist Hicks began work on a house in Chipping Campden. It was a noble house in the latest fashion, with elaborate gardens. Thirty-two years later it was destroyed, wantonly, by the Royalists, as they withdraw from the town. Only a shell was left, now shrunk to a single fragment, but other buildings escaped the fire and are still there, together with the raised walks of the garden'.

Click on each photo for a better view

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