This 16th C Manor House and garden, near Marlborough, was featured in the 2011 BBC drama, To the Manor Reborn. Empty rooms were furnished in the Tudor, Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian and 20th C styles. It was a treat to feel the quality of furnishings, relax back in arm chairs or on a bed. It satisfies some deep, human need to learn and experience the environment by touching. There are period clothes for dressing-up, a delight for kids.
A fourposter bed is much shorter than those we are accustomed to. In days gone by folk slept in a semi-recumbent position which, it was felt, helped prevent respiratory illnesses
It brought a chill to hear the sitting room radio replay Neville Chamberlain’s announcement, the outbreak of WW 2, in 1939. Original cookware of the 1900s, and an Aga cooker added to the authentic atmosphere of a period kitchen. Grooved wooden pats evoked memories of whipping cream and shaping butter on our farm in the mountains of Northern NSW. Australia, in the 1950s. It tasted better than the bought variety,too.
Hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in the dining room were one of the few items too precious for touching. A unique exercise chair, with very high seat, can be seen next to the guide with folded arms. Gentlemen used to take advantage of its vigorous spring-driven motion on days unsuitable for galloping their horses. I wondered if cases of ‘ died from falling off a chair’ may have been due to some chap taking advantage of such a device…
The gardens have been redesigned to replicate different eras. Formal garden hedges contrast with a ‘wild meadow’ in the apple orchard, designed to encourage the growth of wildflowers. A 16th Century circular dovecote in the garden had undergone restoration. Inside are many niches or ‘pigeonholes’ for birds to nest. In former times, many Europeans kept doves and pigeons, an important source of both eggs and flesh. Ironically, I felt, these birds also make good pets.
INTERIOR OF DOVECOTE