Thursday, 6 October 2011

Athelhampton House

Before we left to head westwards for our outing on the Monday, we let the cats and dogs out for some fresh air. Stripey-cat soon manhandled a small rodent to the ground, but then it escaped, cunningly disguised as a leaf . . .

Then began the stake-out. First Big Ginger and then old Mrs Furry wanted a piece of the action.

Stripey told the others in no uncertain terms, "Nope, you CAN'T have it! 'smine." And indeed they'd have had trouble getting it, as I had noticed it creeping beneath her undercarriage . . .

Forest Cat was too dignified for all this and said that He didn't want it anyway . . . He thought hunting with packs was CRUEL . . .

We told them what would happen if they were BAD cats . . . These Scottish pussums at Athelhampton must have been Very Bad Indeed . . .

We peeped through the gates at this beautiful house. My OH has always wanted to visit here and finally got his wish.

One of the fountains surrounded by carefully clipped Irish Yew trees.

A throne fit for a King graced the corner of the Great Chamber. Supposedly the ghost of a pet ape who was unfortunately shut up in the secret passage leading from this room (and who presumably expired there) can sometimes be heard scratching on the linen-fold panelling . . .

This old chest speaks volumes about how such things were made in the past. You can just see the master craftsman measuring up the designs with his compasses. If you do quilting, you will know that similar designs got transferred onto fabrics too . . . If you look very closely at the left hand panel, you may notice that the right hand edge of it isn't 100% straight - it broadens just a tiny bit towards the bottom, a little mistake which must have happened when they were measuring up where the patterns were going to go.

The fire was lit in the hearth and threw out a very welcoming heat.

This is looking across at the far wall. Where we entered the room, this would have been to our right.

OH and I loved the beautiful carvings on this chair.

So grand . . .

This was the jail. No, wait a minute, it was the wine cellar. What makes you think they didn't trust the servants? I think this is supposedly haunted too. Probably a previous butler feverishly counting the bottles. . .

One of the absolutely stunning ceilings in the house.

The wallpaper in this doorway was carefully hand-painted. It must have taken weeks to execute.

This stunning piece of craftsmansip graced the door into the Green Parlour below.

This had to be my favourite room. It had a wonderful atmosphere and the dark green didn't matter as it was always going to be a dark room, even if you had painted it white.

How wonderful to have your ancestors' clothes squirrelled away so you could use them in displays in later centuries . . . I think my ag. lab. ancestors were lucky if they had a set of tidy clothes for church.

I wish we had more rooms to "dress" where I volunteer. The former bedrooms are for displays and exhibitions. I thought this wedding dress added a whole new dimension to this bedroom at Athelhampton.

Isn't this just SUMPTIOUS?! I adore the wallpaper, and the huge mirror, and the beautiful copper bath. I wonder who gets to polish that?!

Another gorgeous room. Not sure if I wouldn't get the heeby-jeebies in there in the middle of the night though . . .

Off of the bedroom was a small chapel for prayer and meditation.

A pretty bridge spanned the River Piddle. We noted a few small fish darting about in the clear water.

A corner of part of the gardens, with a beautiful Hamstone garden room.


  1. It always amazes me how sumptuously our forbears lived -- perhaps not too comfortable in all those straight-backed chairs,but the ornate surroundings are a feast for the eyes. Lovely to look at, but not so lovely to live, I think

  2. What lovely pictures!I covet the copper bath and the rooms are very atmospheric.Thank you for sharing these delights,my husband and I used to love visiting historical houses,but alas since he died I have had little opportunity to do this.

  3. Thanks both. ChrisJ - it's meant to be pretty haunted, and I've had enough of haunted houses!

    Rosemary - I'm glad you enjoyed your armchair journey. What a shame you can't get out and about to historic houses now you're widowed.

  4. Beautiful place, as I've said, it's good to be rich. My favorite room was the bathroom with the copper tub.

  5. Aha! I thought I recognised those stripey cats! Great photos of them all.
    I wonder if you heard Lucy growling like a tiger when she was guarding her prey? No wonder the Big Boys just look on from a distance!

    It is many years since I visited Athelhampton. We must go again. A beautiful old house.