Madingley Hall: Murals Room

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Madingley estate was acquired by Sir John Hynde, the fourth Baronet, in 1543. He began to build a new hall in the same year which he surrounded with a hunting park. The oldest parts of this brick built manor house are the south and east ranges.

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The Murals Room is accessed from the polygonal turret stair at the south east corner of the building. The staircase is oak with solid block treads and the room may have been used as a withdrawing room by the Hynde family who owned the Hall for many generations.

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The upper rooms at the south end of the main range contain many original features with some panelling dated to the construction of the building.

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The Murals Room has original, perhaps re-used, roof timbers which are of false hammerbeam construction with stoutly moulded beams.

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A welcome addition to the university buildings of Cambridge, Madingley Hall was acquired in 1948 and converted for the use of the Extra-Mural Board, research students and visiting scholars.

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The wall paintings were discovered in 1906 under layers of tapestry by Colonel Harding, owner of the Hall at that time. It is thought that the murals were commissioned between 1605-1633 for Sir Edward Hynde, who was a great hunting enthusiast, and it’s likely that the scenes show activities in the park at Madingley.

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The murals depict scenes of hunting, hawking and bear-baiting. As a means of procuring food and as a sport, hunting was the mark of gentility. The bear hunt below features hunters on horseback and servants on foot with mastiffs and greyhounds. Madingley Hall may have been a hunting lodge before it became a permanent home. Bear baiting remained a popular past time in Britain until the 19th century.

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The murals underwent restoration in 1960 and this wonderful room is a hidden gem, only open by prior arrangement.

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Ely: Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

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Construction of the monastic church in Ely began in 1083 under the leadership of the Abbot Simeon, who was a kinsman of William the Conquerer. The church became a cathedral in 1109 with completion of the building in its present form by 1350.

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Also known as the Ship of the Fens, the cathedral is constructed of ashlar faced Barnack limestone. Flying buttresses support the 12th century exterior which retains numerous carved figure heads and grotesques adorning the towers with pinnacles.

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The cathedral contains early Norman to late Perpendicular examples of Gothic architecture with windows of several architectural styles which have been added throughout the course of its history.

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The 12th century Norman nave features a ceiling of painted panels which depict the history of man with figures of patriarchs, prophets and evangelists. The painting of the nave ceiling was started during the Victorian restoration of the building by the amateur artist Henry Styleman Le Strange in 1858 and following his death in 1862, the painting was completed by the English artist Thomas Gambicr Parry in 1865.

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Arcades of undecorated columns line the aisles with floor tiles which date to the 19th century restorations.

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The richly decorated pulpit dates to the 19th century Victorian restorations under the direction of architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.

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Beautiful vaulted ceilings adorn the cathedral interior which rise up from wall shafts between the windows. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is Grade I Listed.

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Cambridge: Clare College

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Founded in 1326, Clare College is the second oldest surviving college of Cambridge University. Built of Ketton and Weldon stone ashlar, the main gateway (above) dates to the 17th century.

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Located in the heart of historic Cambridge, the Early Renaissance style architecture is enclosed by courtyards.

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Known as the ‘Friendly College’ the buildings have undergone 16th, 17th and 18th century alterations.

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The Master’s Lodge dates to the 19th century with fine views across the courtyard. The buildings and principle courts of Clare College are Grade I listed.

Kimbolton Castle

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Located in the village of Kimbolton is the medieval castle now home to Kimbolton School. Grade I listed, the castle was heavily rebuilt by Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 18th century. Constructed of ashlar faced in Weldon and Ketton stone, the west front (above) was not rebuilt by Vanbrugh but incorporated into his design with the addition of battlements and uniform windows.

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The Tudor chapel was remodelled during the Great Rebuilding. Featuring a West gallery designed by Vanbrugh, the chapel courtyard wall is stonework thought to have been brought from the ruined Higham Ferrers in 1523 by Sir Richard Wingfield.

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The courtyard was remodelled in 1690-95 by the 4th Earl of Manchester, Charles Edward Montagu. Featuring an ornamental doorway which leads into the Great Hall, the courtyard is a mixture of brick and stone, ornamented lead rainwater pipes and the 17th century small pane sash windows are some of the earliest surviving examples in England.

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The Gatehouse was built in 1764- 1766 and was the work of the British architect Robert Adam. Constructed of red brick with Ketton stone ashlar, the Gatehouse is flanked by two single storey ranges with gable end pediments. The Gatehouse is also Grade I Listed.

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The achievement of arms of the 4th Earl of Manchester formerly surmounted the exterior iron gates. After careful restoration, it is now on display in the Heritage Room.

Ely: Christ & Mary Magdalene Sculpture

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Located in front of the south wall of the transept in Ely Cathedral is the bronze sculpture Christ & St.Mary Magdalene. The sculpture is the work of the British sculptor David Wynne and depicts the moment when Mary recognizes Jesus on the morning of the resurrection.