Thursday, 27 March 2014

Church Weekend at Hothorpe Hall

After Friday night rush hour on the motorway and a great meal it was good to spend the evening chilling out while everyone 

There is a lot of history to this place dating back to 900 AD which I will share at the end of the post

Saturday morning hailed bright and clear and this was the view through our bedroom window
Looking out straight onto the old family chapel

with a beautiful interior

and looking out of a window

With such a lovely day a walk around the grounds before breakfast seemed like a good idea

Looking back at the chapel with our window behind it

It is now afternoon free time and the weather has deteriorated and it is about to rain. We have opted to walk around the grounds while others have gone walking (they got very wet) or play tennis or rest.

back inside out of the rain and here in the old Butler's Pantry now used for table tennis

Believe it or not, this was the room we were given for the Crèche, with all the felt tip pens at the other end of the room, and there was a very well equipped nursery for the babies and toddlers

and the meeting room with prams everywhere
A great time of learning, sharing, prayer, and bonding and encouraging each other for about 70 of us. Must not forget to mention the food which was delicious and plentiful

Certainly worth reading the history of the Hall
taken from the official website

Hothorpe's history began in about 900 AD, although at this time it was named Ude-torp. A Danish Viking leader called Ude navigated his 80 foot long-boat from the Wash along the River Welland about as far as Marston Trussell. The River can be seen at the far end of the grounds, and certainly does not look navigable now!
According to the Domesday Book (1086), Hothorpe was then under the ownership of the Abbey of St. Edmundsbury, but by the time of Henry III (1216- 1272) it was under the control of a feudal overlord, Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon.
In 1330, Hothorpe was owned by Edmund Trussell, who married Margery d'Oserville whose family had lived here for about 34 years. The Trussells held the Manor for 150 years, and then in 1482 there were three changes of ownership in one year.
William Villiers became Lord of the Manor in 1506, and the family held Hothorpe for about 94 years. It is interesting to note that in about 1600, Sir Edmund Montague of Boughton House, Kettering, laid claim to part of Hothorpe Manor -a claim dating back to about 1050. This was resolved by the owner of Hothorpe agreeing to pay 25 shillings a year to the Montagues.  This right was subsequently transferred to the Spencer Estate of Althorpe and was increased to £5 per annum, which we still have to pay to Earl Spencer.
By 1610 , George and Elizabeth Bathurst were living at Hothorpe with their family of thirteen sons and four daughters. They were staunch supporters of Charles 1, and six of the sons were killed fighting for their king.
For a few years up to 1715, Hothorpe was owned by the Cave family, who lived at Stanford Hall (now owned by Lady Braye).
In 1788, William Cooke bought the Hall. At this time, the house was probably of Elizabethan or Jacobean design, and was sited about one third of a mile away from the present house to the South West.  However, the old house was pulled down, and the present hall was built in 1799; the crests of many of the previous owners can be seen on the Manor House staircase.
In about 1880, the Cooke family sold the Estate to Sir Humphrey de Trafford, a staunch Roman Catholic. He built the Chapel in 1891, and his children are depicted as cherubs on the ceiling. The House passed to his second son, who was well known in sporting circles. One of the top amateurs in first class cricket, he captained Leicestershire and played at Lord's with the legendary W.G. Grace. Later he turned his attention to horses, and commissioned the splendid stable block, now named,  'The Trafford Wing'.  In time, however, the family fell into financial difficulties and sold the Hall.  Rumour has it that at one time Lady de Trafford gambled away part of the family estate at Old Trafford, where Manchester United now play football.
During the Second World War, the Hall was used by the London County Council as a children's home, for youngsters evacuated from London.  However, the house lay empty after the war for a number of years.
Ten years later, refugees from Central Europe fled to England, some of whom had been persecuted for their faith. The Lutheran Council of Great Britain was formed to give some unity to the Lutherans in this country.  So in 1955, Hothorpe Hall was purchased by the Lutheran Church for a mere £3,500, although it was somewhat neglected, with trees growing out of some of the bedroom windows!
For 29 years, Hothorpe was used by the Lutheran Church as a centre for spiritual growth and renewal, particularly among young people.
In November 1984 Hothorpe changed hands again. It was purchased by three families to provide a Conference Centre where Christians from any denomination could experience spiritual refreshment and fellowship.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Red House (and more)

Back to last Summer again
We left Danson House (last post) to walk the 15 minutes to Red House (it is in a residential area with no parking facilities) and turned right instead of left! It was all down hill. After walking a while with no sign of the house we began to wonder if we had come the right way! On enquiring we hat not! Now you will see from the last 2 posts that this was our third visit of the day and it was hot. I have to say I felt I could hardly make it back up the hill let alone find our way to the house. Then we stopped a lady and asked directions and she said 'I am going passed there, I will take you' so with a slightly shorter route we continued on our way. 

Red House is a building of extraordinary architectural and social significance as the only house commissioned and lived in by William Morris. The house was completed in 1816. Be inspired by the paintings and stained glass.
William Norris was the founder of the arts and crafts movement.

A very interesting door

Note he unusual fireplace

Here we see Pre-Raphaelite wall paintings of the Garden of Eden and showing Eve's face. They were discovered in 2013 and are being restored by experts

Ceiling above the stairwell - all tiled

The garden which we did not walk around is said to be a wonderful oasis of calm in the midst of suburbia.

We are now back at Danson House (where our car is parked) and take a tea break before making our way home.

As it is hot, everyone is sitting outside but we have walked so much today we prefer the cooler interior
Back to the present - we are in the middle of decorating 3 downstairs rooms in  the house, we have had a short mini-heatwave for the time of year so gardening has been on the agenda too whilst taking care of our son's house and cats while he is touring the National Parks in India (he has been thrilled to see Tigers in the wild).
Tomorrow we are off for a weekend away with all of our community house churches.
We are staying in a lovely country house with history going back to 900 AD so there are sure to be pictures soon.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Danson House, Kent

Leaving Hall Place behind we arrive at Danson House which is only 10 minutes drive away.

This Georgian house was designed as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of central London, Danson House was completed in 1766 
Sir John Boyd was a sugar merchant and Vice-Chairman of the British East India Company.
Together with the notable architect Sir Robert Taylor, Boyd created this homage to the Golden Age of Antiquity, filling it with art and sculpture from his travels. Today his home gives us a fascinating insight into fashionable Georgian life. 

We begin our tour in the cellars

Lots of interesting aspects to this room with lots of mirrors

The octagonal salon with its fabulous mirrors and hand blocked wallpaper

The library, featuring a rare George England organ

The entrance hall

The magnificent oval top-lit stairway

Some museum pieces

A Chinese tea room

A bedroom

What you can see pouring out of the fireplace are all kinds of electrical leads giving a touch of modern life

Looking out over the parkland and lake

We finish our visit in the team room of course
this room was the original breakfast room looking out over the parkland

and out into that same parkland from where we will go to our third visit of the day about a 15 minute walk away