Tuesday 28 June 2011

Haddon Hall - the gardens

Into the gardens . . . Double click on the photos to get a close-up view . . .

Sunday 26 June 2011

Haddon Hall revisited

I have been looking back through my photos and thought I would step back in time to when we visited Haddon Hall, a year or so ago. It really is so unspoilt, mainly because no-one occupied it for any length of time for about 200 years following the Civil War. In consequence, much of the original furniture remains and the buildings haven't been "modernized".

Here is the approach to the castle, with the loveliest little cottage with topiary in the garden.

The stable block has now been changed to provide toilet facilities and an excellent cafe. I forgot to mention, that that's a wasps' nest inbetween the window uprights . . .

The entrance to the hall, which sets the scene for what you will find inside.

Inside the chapel: Fresco of St Christopher dating from the early 15th century when Richard Vernon VI commissioned them. During the Reformation these were plastered over and then whitewashed. They were not uncovered until the 9th Duke of Rutland had restoration work carried out at the hall during the early years of the 20th century.

The wonderful Reredos is made from Nottingham alabaster and dates from the 15th Century, although it was bought by the 9th Duke in 1933. Originally it contained 11 panels showing scenes from the Passion, but now only 9 are displayed.

A Golden Hop (I think!) growing up the wall prompted me to add one of these to my "wanted" list of garden plants.

Looking across the courtyard from the entrance to King John's Wall.

View of the High Table in the Banqueting Hall. The French tapestry shows the Royal Arms of England and it is said that it was presented to the Vernon family by Henry VIII.

The kitchens are totally unspoilt and date from the 14th century, with the Buttery, the Pantry and various other side rooms. I would love to go on one of the Tudor cookery courses they hold here.

House in the original Milk Larder are a fine collection of 'dole' cupboards. Houses such as Haddon would put one of these outside of the house filled with food and leftovers from the kitchen and for passing traders or Estate workers to make use of. That so many have survived to add to the collection is amazing, since they were outside in all weathers for many years. So now you know the meaning of the expression, "on the dole".

The huge lump of tree was a chopping block in the Butchery . . .

Just look at the step, quite worn away in the middle, from countless feet stepping onto it.

A view through the window into the private courtyard and buildings which aren't open to the public.

A bouquet of beautiful flowers from the gardens. Allium and Larkspur.

Looking up in the Banqueting Hall.

The far end of the Long Gallery.

The odd "hinge" on the bottom of the door is so that it will swing shut after being opened.

A close-up of the ancient chest at the end of the Long Gallery. It is an oak dowry or vestment chest dating from the 15th c. The arms of the Vernons and other related families decorate the front.

Another of the treasures of the house.

Another of the Dole cupboards.

Sunday 19 June 2011

In the footsteps of the Romans . . .

I managed a short (half hour) walk today. That must mean I am better. I am feeling better. I walked where the Romans had walked, or thereabouts (the Roman road was t'other side of the hedge most of the way). It cheered me up no end to be out and about again, and the wild flowers were stunning.

The lane beside the river.

Hedge Woundwort.

Foxgloves were everywhere.

Uphill to the farm, where the clouds looked as if we were due a thunderstorm.

Through the farmyard, where an old building is intriguing. I wonder what it was used for?

Looking back on the old barn, being left to run down to rack and ruin now by the look of the roof.

Bush vetch.

Meadow Cranesbill.

Definitely NOT the Roman Road here because of the bend in it . . . farm track only (it's just to the right of that hedge).

Greater Bindweed. This used to grow all over a hedge near the house where I grew up, and I think Dr. Doolittle should have used one of these when the Moon Moth took him to the Moon . . .

The huge leaves of Burdock - as in Dandelion and . . .

Although the sky looked threatening, it stayed dry.

Merlin's Hill (the furthest one) and Carmarthen in the distance.

The hedgerows were a tangle of Honeysuckle. When I was a child we used to take one of the little "trumpets", nip the end off and then suck out the sweet nectar. Of course, I taught my children to do the same.

Despite the clouds, the hazy landscape told me that rain wasn't imminent.

This curious bump on the landscape is Pen-y-cnap. The Transactions of the Carmarthen Antiquarian Society, around the time of the First World War, described it thus:

"This is a small mound castle standing about three hundred yards west of the parish church, and evidently intended to defend a ford over the neighbouring Tywi. It has a height of from 25 to 30 feet, and a summit diameter of about 50 feet. Long prior to the formation of the present plantation, the top of the mound had been a garden, but there still remain slight traces of the depression so frequently found in the centre of the summit. The encircling ditch is much filled in. Of the bank surrounding the bailey only a very faint outline exists; it seems to have measured about 200 feet in length, by 150 feet in breadth, and ended in a point. The external ditch has altogether disappeared. On the slope of the mound are slight remains of walls, of no defensive intent. The lane which skirts the south of the earthwork, between it and the river, is part of an early trackway from the village to the Aber Cothi ford across the Tywi."

Looking East towards the range of hills which becomes Black Mountain. That's Dryslwyn Castle middle right.

Wild Burnet roses.


The final part of the trackway, and still edged with bracken, as it probably always has been.