Summer 2018: visits to historic houses. 26 June Nether Winchendon Manor, Buckinghamshire and 24 July Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire. It was warm and sunny on both days, and the visits began with a guided tour followed by time to explore the gardens and then lunch.
Nether Winchendon Manor is a distinctive mix of Strawberry Hill Gothic and Tudor additions to an originally Medieval priory and manor house, in a picturesque village at the foothills of the Chilterns. Privately owned, it has been lived in by the same family for the last 450 years and remains very much a family home today. It is particularly notable for it’s curling Tudor chimneys, crenelated and partially stuccoed walls. The tour started in the 12th century Great Hall, proceeding to the 16th century oak panelled dining room and then through to the sitting room (photography not permitted indoors). In addition to antique furniture the rooms had examples of contemporary art. The garden contains rare trees and hedges and is surrounded with extensive parkland. The nearby church of St Nicholas was also worth visiting.
Baddesley Clinton, is an intriguing ancient moated manor house with a long history including hiding persecuted catholics in it’s priest’s holes, associations with the Gunpowder Plot, to the history of the Ferrers family who lived at Baddesley for more then 500 years (now National Trust), remaining loyal to there Catholic faith and risking their lives to hide priests. The focus this year was on four creative friends known as the ‘Quartet’, some of the strong female characters including Anne Vaux, and their stories.
There was a tour of the exterior examining the developments of the centuries, pointing out architectural details, priest holes and escape routes, after which everyone was free to explore the many roomed interior, formal gardens and kitchen gardens now relocated to their original location.