Sunday, 25 September 2016

Montacute

Warning: picture-rich post

Yesterday my hubby and I went off to Somerset for the day. We haven’t used our National Trust membership recently and although we’d planned on lots of outings this spring and summer, somehow we have both been busy and it hasn’t happened. In the end we had a wonderful day out, in a beautiful place, and the weather was fine, if a bit windy, and we had lunch and tea in the open air in the courtyard outside the restaurant.

As usual I took lots of photos. Here is a selection.

03 Main Facade of House

15 Pavilion and Flowers in the Walled Garden

The garden surrounded by these stone balustrades, with the stone pavilions at each corner, was full of simply gorgeous flowers of all colours.

07 Flowers in the Walled Garden

08 Flowers in the Walled Garden

16 Flowers in the Walled Garden

19 Flowers in the Walled Garden

20 Fountain

The house is built of lovely warm-coloured stone, and has numerous little alcoves and other embellishments. It is a Tudor house and very beautiful.

23 Door with Alcoves

This is the orangery.

25 Approaching the Orangery

In this picture you can see the old Victorian heating pipes.

29 Heating Pipes in the Orangery

It is filled with interesting plants.

31 Giant Fern in Orangery

I got some interesting shots of these giant ferns.

34 Giant Fern in Orangery

35 Frond of Giant Fern in Orangery

36 Bromeliad in Orangery

I am always amazed how often the Fibonacci series appears in nature – here is the famous nautilus spiral – in the leaves of a begonia!

37 Begonia Showing Fibonacci Spirals

38 Begonia Showing Fibonacci Spiral Detail

This is the entrance where we went into the house. My hubby with Yum Sing in his rucksack!

41 N Outside Entrance

The stewards were all dressed in Elizabethan costume.

42 Lady in Elizabethan Costume

The first room we came to was the great hall. On the far wall is a plaster relief depicting a Skimmity Ride, when couples of dubious moral character were paraded in effigy through the community and pilloried by the locals – this event was graphically described by Thomas Hardy in “The Mayor of Casterbridge.”

43 Main Hall

At the other end of the great hall are the stone archways where we came in.

46 Minstrels' Gallery

A beautiful stained glass panel in one of the doors leading to the garden.

48 Stained Glass Panel in Door

In one of the rooms, in the plasterwork frieze running along under the ceiling, was the depiction of a rather curious-looking elephant – we wondered if the artist had ever actually seen one, or whether he created it from someone else’s description!

51 Elephant in Plaster Frieze

A beautiful Chinese cabinet.

54 Chinese Cabinet

One of the bedrooms had an en-suite bathroom!

64 En-Suite Bathroom

There were beautiful doors and carved panels everywhere.

65 Door

A detail of the inlay on a lovely little semi-circular table.

68 Semi-Circular Table Inlay Detail

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more delicate and lovely set of library steps than these.

69 Library Steps

Beautiful stained glass windows in many of the rooms.

71 Stained Glass Windows

Here is the Elizabethan lady again, kindly posing for me in the beautiful doorway.

73 Elizabethan Lady in Doorway

I’d love to have slipped this bed into the back of the car when nobody was looking…

75 Four Poster Bed

At the foot of the bed was this magnificent chest.

76 Leather Chest

In one of the rooms there was an exhibition of vintage embroidered samplers. The work was so fine and the detail amazing.

80 Samplers

84 Needle Lace Sampler

We both thought this one was particularly charming.

91 Dearest Aunt Sampler

On the top floor is the long gallery. This one was relatively plain compared with those in other houses we have visited, which have magnificent moulded plaster ceilings. They had a collection of works of art painted by contemporaries of Holbein, from the National Portrait Gallery.

93 Long Gallery

More Elizabethan stewards.

94 Stewards in Elizabethan Costume

Going back outside, we were amused by this enormous box “hedge” – how did they clip the top?!!

97 How do they Cut the Middle

The top of one of the many stone alcoves.

100 Stone Alcove

A view of the house from below – we went down to the stable block where there was a second hand bookshop. I didn’t buy any, but of course my hubby came away with about six!

101 The House from the Stable Block

Some amazing tree roots. I thought these would lend themselves to Zentangle art!

102 Tree Roots

Going in to the restaurant to order our lunch (we had some simply delicious butternut squash quiche and salad), I was highly amused at this – “Got a food allergy? Have a dog biscuit!”

103 Food Allergies - Eat Dog Biscuits

Later, we returned to the courtyard for a cream tea. Around this courtyard where we ate, there were several unusual benches carved from logs, in the shape of different kinds of clothes pegs.

107a Clothes Peg Benches

The corner of the courtyard, with the old pump.

108 Corner of the Courtyard

As we left, I got some photos of the gate house:

109 Gate House

112 Gate House

and also of some of the buildings in the beautiful village just by the entrance.

110 Montacute Village

111 Montacute Village

It was quite a long and tiring day, and quite a long drive to get there, too, but it was worth it!

7 comments:

  1. This is the reason that I have always wanted to visit the UK. There is so much history and I love how it shows up in the architecture and in the gardens. I believe that there is some small corner in my soul that is still connected with ancestors that I know nothing about. It's like their genes in me are longing for their homeland. It's a feeling that I can't describe that comes when I look at photos of Great Britain and Ireland. I don't get it when I look at other travel photos.

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  2. This is exactly the type of place we love visiting, Shoshi! And it's not that far from us either - 1.5 hrs by car, so very doable for a day trip. Looks like you were lucky with the weather and it wasn't too crowded, which is always a bonus. I so love the picture of Nicholas carrying Yum Sing in his backpack, LOL. Really sweet! Thanks for all these photos. You should get a commission from the Trust for advertising their property!

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  3. I loved this post so much. Thank you for sharing your outing. The castle made me gasp out loud. It is so beautiful. I am so glad it has withstood the test of time. It breaks my heart to see so many castles gone in the UK.

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    1. Thank you, Aiyana! We have a lot of really beautiful stately homes and castles in the UK, many of which are run by the National Trust and English Heritage, and they make marvellous places to visit for a day. Many of the castles are ruined but we do have some that are still lived in.

      Shoshi

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  4. It looks like you had a fabulous day. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pictures

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  5. Beautiful photos my friend! I want that bed and that sweet embroidery! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Oh Sue what stunning photos! I wasn't in costume but you may recall my Terry Macey's always blend well and receive much comment - though not as much as your amazingly beautiful wheels! Thank you for those photos too! Will email you again soonest - love,

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