Saturday, 21 April 2012

Total Trust!

Mr JK and I have been members of the National Trust for a few years now and we were fortunate during our recent holiday to have a number of properties right on our doorstep. We worked out that during the week, we more than recouped the cost of our membership.
We started off by visiting Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire. It's a timber framed Tudor building, surrounded by a moat. I'd first become aware of it about 20 years ago through a tv programme we used to show the children all about Tudor houses. My good friend Snoopydog and I shared many a chuckle over the somewhat amusing commentary that accompanied the programme. So I was thrilled to discover that it was literally 5 minutes down the road from the hotel we were staying in prior to the wedding.
Little Moreton Hall (2)
The house itself is quite magnificent. It's built around a central courtyard. I rather like this photo taken from the Long Gallery looking down to the courtyard through the tiny panes of glass. The house almost looks like a doll's house to me. In Tudor times, only the rich could afford glass in their windows. You were taxed according to the number of windows you had, and if you moved house (or even went on holiday, I believe) you took your glass with you!!!
Little Moreton Hall (30)
Of course I managed to find something wool-related. There was some fleece and a drop spindle as well as these skeins of naturally dyed yarns and a device the Tudors used for making simple cords.
Little Moreton Hall (17)
I rather like this carving above one of the windows in the courtyard. I wonder how long it took to do? Certainly the Tudor craftsmen were highly skilled.
Little Moreton Hall (5)
Our next stop was Biddulph Grange Garden, just down the road from the wedding venue itself. Although it was a rather grey day, we enjoyed our walk around the gardens.
Biddulph Grange Garden (7)
There were still quite a number of spring bulbs in flower. I particularly liked the intensity of these blue flowers, growing amongst a rather impressive tree stumpery. They look so delicate, don't they?
Biddulph Grange Garden (15)
Soon after arriving in the Lake District, we stopped off at Sizergh Castle. The Medieval house was closed the day we were there, but we were able to admire the gardens. There were lots of beautiful plants to see. Here are just a few of them.
Springtime at Sizergh
We visited Tarn Hows, a really lovely spot in the Lake District, and spent an enjoyable hour or so walking around the lake. There are some beautiful views there.
Lake District April 2012 (4)
I managed to get a couple of rounds knit on my plain vanilla socks too!
Lake District April 2012 (5)
The ducks were obviously used to people - as soon as we ventured near the water's edge, they made a beeline for us, hoping for a snack! We shared a bit of our picnic lunch with them later on in the day.
Lake District April 2012 (13)
We also visited Hill Top, home of the children's author Beatrix Potter. This house inspired many of her books, and if you look carefully, you can see objects that appear in some of her illustrations.
Lake District April 2012 (126)
Beatrix left this house and some of her other Lake District properties (she was a sheep farmer in her later years) to the National Trust, with the instructions that it was to be kept just as she had left it. So when you go in, you can see her hat hanging from the hook. It's almost as if she has just popped outside. Really fascinating. I liked the garden too - I expected to see Peter Rabbit peeping out at any moment! We also visited the Beatrix Potter gallery in Hawkshead. They are currently celebrating Peter Rabbit's 110th birthday and have a magnificent display of Beatrix's artwork.
Lake District April 2012 (129)
I think my favourite place was Townend. This property was about a mile from where we were staying in Troutbeck, so we walked down there one morning to get a place in one of the guided tours. Townend was home to the Browne family for more than 400 years.
Lake District April 2012 (161)
Because the house remained in the family, all the possessions were passed down too. It was absolutely fascinating to look around. There is lots of intricately carved wooden furniture all around the house. Just look at the date on this Bible stand.
Lake District April 2012 (169)
The house also has a very impressive library containing some books that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The National Trust is currently trying to preserve all the books for future generations. The four poster bed and baby's cot were beautiful too. The cot has a little door at one end where a hot brick would be put to keep the baby warm!
Lake District April 2012 (186)
I especially liked all the patchwork quilts, made with scraps of material. I wonder what stories they could tell?
Lake District April 2012 (195)
I hope you've enjoyed this trip around some of the National Trust properties in the north west of England. I'll see you again soon. xxx


Anonymous said...

What gorgeous properties and lovely pictures!

busybusybeejay said...

I have visited all those properties in the past so it was great to revisit them curtesy of your photos.We are members of the NT and I have treated my son and family and daughter and family to NT membership as wedding anniversary presents.Both live close to a number of NT properties.One in Cheshire and the other in Cambridge.Great value and supprting a god cause.

Lynne said...

What gorgeous photos, I love National Trust places. My favourite is Mount Stewart in Co Down. My Uncle worked there, and he and my Auntie lived in a house on the estate. I used to love going to their house as a child. :)

Anonymous said...

Just a wee thank you, after I read your post I looked at the National Trust site and promptly joined. We had a lovely day at one of their properties yesterday and today we are off to explore another!

snoopydog said...

Beautiful pics! How lovely to see inside Little Moreton Hall. Much more interesting than the video ;-) Rosx

Bizzy B said...

This is a late post, but still want to tell you how much I enjoy seeing your photos. Not quite as good as going myself, but since that's not likely, I appreciate seeing your photos.

Doodlywhatsits said...

What beautiful pictures from some stunning properties. Thank you, I've really enjoyed reading this post :-)

Kim said...

LOVE your photos Helen! That wood bible stand is incredible!