Lapworth: Packwood House

Packwood1

Packwood House is located in the village of Lapworth and has wonderful views of Two Pits Park and 1.5 hectares of formal gardens. The two storey late 16th century house derives its name from the Saxon ‘Pacca’s Wood’ with the earliest mention of the name dating to 1190 when Walter Chaplain of Packwood witnessed a deed. Much of the surrounding land belonged to the Benedictine monks of Coventry but after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530’s, the property changed hands repeatedly. Packwood House was sold to John Fetherston for £340 in 1598. The Fetherston family had been living in nearby Knowle since the 15th century and John is believed to have built the core of the present Packwood, including the tall gables of his new ‘great mansion howse’.

Packwood9

The inventory made in 1634 suggests that the building was furnished like a prosperous farmhouse. The timber framed building has been covered with cement render since the early 19th century and underwent an extensive restoration programme in 1925-1932. Supervised by Edwin Reynolds, the restoration included alterations to the interior, construction of the single storey Long Gallery and replacement of the 19th century fenestration with timber mullion and transom windows.

Packwood18

The Hall

The Hall had a light oak balustraded gallery on three sides with a wrought iron chandelier before being substantially altered by Baron Ash in 1931. Characteristic of the Edwardian era, the walls were still pierced with mullioned windows and there was frieze high panelling. During the 20th century renovations, the timber ceiling was inserted, a single gallery of linenfold panelling was built and a new floor of oak from Lymore Park in Montgomeryshire was laid down.

Packwood10

The Long Gallery

The Long Gallery was created by Baron Ash to join the two Great Halls together. His architect, Edwin Reynolds, had considerable experience of remodelling historic buildings such as Aston Hall and Blakesley Hall. The oak floorboards were taken from Lymore Park and the panelling taken from Shaftsmoor in Hall Green.

Packwood4

The Long Gallery is embellished with rich tapestries which include The Coronation of Marcus Aurelius and St Remy crowning Charles VII before Joan of Arc. 

Packwood6    Packwood5

Beautifully detailed 17th century stained glass adorns the windows along the Gallery.

Packwood15

The Great Hall

The Great Hall was formerly detached from the house and used as a cow-byre and barn. The 17th/18th century barn is linked on the north west corner of the house by the Long Gallery and it took its present form in 1924-1927. A sprung floor for dancing was installed and the hayrack has been adapted into a balustrade for the gallery. The grand oak refectory table measures 6.4 metres long and is the centrepiece of the room. The Jacobean pattern supports are early 17th century and the table was purchased by Baron Ash from Cecil Ferrers at Baddesley Clinton in the mid 1930’s. Pre-war photographs show that the table was previously placed against the tapestries in the Long Gallery. The beautiful exposed roof timbers spring from corbels modelled on originals at Carcasonne in south west France. The Great Hall is surrounded by stunning hanging tapestries some of which depict portuguese scenes, 16th century scenes portraying the story of Saul and a 16th century series from Brussels which were bought from Aske Hall in Richmond.

Packwood8

The Inner Hall

The Inner Hall is accessed from the west end of the Screens Passage. This was originally the entrance hall until the drive across the causeway in the park was given up in the 19th century. The wonderful original timber framing was revealed when the Edwardian panelling was removed. The room is decorated with mostly 17th century furniture and 17th century Dutch textiles bought from Baddesley Clinton.

Packwood12

The Study

The Study adjoins the Inner Hall and has original, richly embellished, Jacobean panelling. The fireback is English and dates to 1635.

Packwood14

The Dining Room

Although the moulded ceiling beams are original, the Dining Room has been much altered. The focal point of the room is the 17th century English oak table with six walnut chairs which date to between 1650-1675.

Packwood7

Queen Margaret’s Room

Queen Margaret’s Room is named after Henry VI’s Queen who is said to have slept in the bed (above) in 1471 before the Battle of Tewkesbury. The pillars and canopy are upholstered in a light woollen material with red braiding. The bed was bought by Baron Ash at the sale of the contents of Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire in 1927. The cloth inscription above the bed reads:

“A conservationist and collector. I do this as an antidote to the decay and demolition of so many old houses all over the country. I am rescuing whatever I can from other places and preserving it here. Graham Baron Ash, c1935 “

When the Packwood Conservation and Engagement Team moved the bed, they discovered that at some point in the past, repairs had been made to the head cloth and that to attach it to the frame, the cloth had been stretched around the head posts and stitched to linen tapes nailed to the frame. Before the head cloth and valances were reinstated, they were cleaned and the damage repaired with stitch Velcro along the top edge.

Packwood16

The Yew Garden, according to legend, represents the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and are over 350 years old. Part of the ground was originally set out by John Fetherston between 1650 and 1670. The area in front of the house had remained as a lawn since the Second World War and the decision to reinstate this scheme was taken in 2004. The scheme restored the link between the house and the Yew Garden. Work was completed over two winters between 2005 and 2006 and the Breedon gravel paths offer a practical solution to Packwood’s numerous visitor numbers.

Packwood17

Converted 17th century stables flank the east side of the building and feature an asymmetrical facade with double arched doors, engaged brick piers and stone mullioned windows.

Packwood3

Packwood House, Barns and Stables are Grade I & Grade II Listed.

Packwood2

Advertisements

Kendal: Levens Hall

Levens2

Located in the Kent Valley near Kendal is the estate of Levens Hall. The largest Elizabethan house in Westmorland or Cumberland, Levens Hall is still privately owned and is at the heart of a thriving agricultural estate which provides resources both to maintain the house and to ensure the fabric of rural life remains intact. The earliest parts of the building are the medieval Pele Tower and the Hall which date to between 1250-1300 and were constructed by the de Redman family of Yealand Redmayne. A Charter from William de Lancaster, in circa 1170, gave Norman de Heiland (or Yealand) land at Levens but reserved the fishing, hawking and hunting of buck and doe, boar and sow for himself. Norman de Hieland later became known as de Redman and while there may have been a house at Levens at the time of the Charter to Norman de Redman, the medieval core which forms the centre of the present building is the remains of the Pele Tower and attached Hall range. The de Redman family held Levens until 1578 with Sir Richard III, who died in 1544, the last to live at the estate.

Levens1

Possession passed to James Bellingham in circa 1580. Incorporating the fortified tower, Bellingham completely refurbished the old house and added all available comforts. These included a separate dining room and servants hall, drawing rooms and built-in kitchens. All rooms were panelled using local oak or hung with tapestry and brilliant plasterwork gave them colour. The Great Hall stands with its staircase tower and the base of the Pele all facing the river and the ford. Constructed of limestone rubble with sandstone dressings, the north front features an embattled tower with mullioned and transomed windows.

Levens6

James Bellingham’s great-grandson Alan was to lose the whole estate through gambling. In 1686 he put his affairs in the hands of trustees and in 1689, they sold his Westmorland lands to his kinsman Colonel James Grahme. Colonel Grahme was Keeper of the Privy Purse and Keeper of the Buckhounds to King James II. Grahme accompanied the King to Rochester on 18th December 1688 during the Glorious Revolution when the King was overthrown by a union of English Parliamentarians with William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange). Following the Revolution, Grahme lived at Levens with his wife and added two wings running south and west for kitchens, menservants bedrooms and a Brewhouse. After Grahme’s death in 1730, the Levens estate passed to Henry Bowes Howard.

Levens3

South elevation service wing and Howard Tower

The south elevation service wing (above) dates to circa 1700 and features mullion and transom cross windows which are surmounted by a square domed clock-tower with gilded ball finial. The Howard Tower was built in 1820 to connect the Elizabethan part of the house with the later south wing.

Levens7

North elevation

The gardens were designed for Colonel Grahme in 1694 by Guillaume Beaumont, a pupil of le Notre at Versailles. Beaumont had been gardener to King James II and worked at Hampton Court Palace gardens. Of his garden and designs, only Levens survives today and the topiary garden is the oldest in the world. The original garden plan includes a rose garden, an orchard, a nuttery, a herb garden, vegetable borders, a beech hedge walk, herbaceous borders and a bowling green.

Levens4

Levens Hall is Grade I Listed and the gardens are considered to be of national importance.

Levens5

Temple Sowerby: Acorn Bank House

ABankHse3

Acorn Bank stands on the site of a religious house of the Knights Templar dating to 1228. On their suppression, the estate passed to the Knights of the Hospital of St John who held it from 1323 until the Dissolution. In 1543 it became the property of the Dalston family. Building the house in several phases, parts date from the 16th century and the main block was rebuilt during the mid 17th century. Constructed of sandstone and ashlar, the south front (above) features a symmetrical nine bay facade with a second floor band and a central doorway with segmental pediment. The whole house was given a new facade in the late 17th century and the Georgian sash windows were added in the 1740’s. The estate passed through marriage to the Boazman family from County Durham in the early 19th century.

ABankHse6

Acorn Bank with 180 acres of park and woodland was given to the National Trust in 1950 by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe (Mrs McGrigor Phillips). Dorothy was a Yorkshire writer and traveller who with her second husband, Captain Noel McGrigor Phillips, purchased the property in 1934. They renamed Acorn Bank as Temple Sowerby Manor and set about the restoration of the house which Dorothy filled with her impressive art collection. Noel had been injured at Gallipoli as an officer in the Great War and sadly died in 1943. Dorothy gave Acorn Bank to the National Trust (without its contents, which were dispersed) and moved to Scotland with her third husband. Thereafter, the house was leased to tenants and most recently, the Sue Ryder Foundation used it as a nursing home until 1996. The building, which retains none of its original contents, then returned to the direct management of the Trust.

ABankHse7

Most of the rooms retain 17th and 18th century panelling, fireplaces and cornices and the majority of the doors are original. During the time the house was used as a nursing home, many of the first floor rooms were partitioned into two bedrooms. As the partitions had been carefully erected, they were removed with little damage to the fabric of the walls and ceiling.

ABankHse1

The east staircase features a Venetian window with Doric columns and a single pane of heraldic glass (above). The sandstone stair was a final addition to the house and was added in 1745 by John Dalston, great grandson of the first. The stair is cantilevered and the coat of arms in the window are those of the Clough family, Dorothy Una Ratcliffe was born Dorothy Clough in 1887. At the head of the stairs are paired Ionic columns and original pedimented door cases feature on each of the landings (below).

ABankHse9

The fabulous panelling is original to the Drawing Room (below) and dates from the 1670’s. It has a carved decoration of oak leaves, acorns and vines (the name Acorn Bank dates from at least 1600). Made from a mixture of oak and pine, the panelling has always been painted. Investigation has revealed ten coats in its 350 year history with a stony white being the earliest colour, a duck egg blue dating from the 1930’s and a pale green from the final 1980’s paint scheme.

ABankHse5

The Drawing Room was an addition to the house made by John Dalston in 1670 and features an elaborately carved Robert Adam fireplace and overmantel. A structural survey made in 2013 concluded that although the Parlour floor above is stable, it is quite delicate. Advised to minimise the weight put on it, The Trust limits numbers to 10 people at any one time.

ABankHse4

Acorn Bank is Grade I Listed.

ABankHse2

Clifton Hall Tower

CHall1

The Tower of Clifton Hall dates from about 1500 and is all that remains of a substantial medieval manor house which was begun in about 1400. The hall was constructed by the Engayne family and was demolished in the early 19th century to make way for the existing farmhouse. Gilbert Engayne had been granted the manor, village and lands of Clifton some time before 1173. One of his descendants, Elianor Engayne, married into the Wybergh family and it was during her lifetime that the first manor house was built on this site. Following the death of Elianor, the sole Engayne heiress, in 1412 the house passed to her son from her first marriage to William Wybergh and became the property of the Wybergh family. The late medieval tower wing was occupied continuously from the late 15th century until the early 19th century and retains considerable medieval fabric and many original architectural features.

CHall4

Characteristic of the borderlands of England and Scotland, tower houses are a type of defensible house that were important centres of medieval life. Fortified towers were often added to manor houses during the troubled and unsettled northern Border regions throughout the medieval period. Not only built for defence, they were fashionable additions to the houses of ambitious local gentry like the Wyberghs and provided comfortable accommodation for the family.

CHall2

Constructed of red sandstone, the ground floor of the tower is divided into three rooms which later functioned as service rooms and a kitchen. Originally a single large room that functioned as a parlour, the ground floor would have been well furnished with a wooden decorated ceiling and painted plaster walls. The room was converted in about 1600 to serve the new hall built to the south of the tower with three new doors inserted into the south wall. The principle chamber, or solar, was a comfortable living room for the family and was originally entered at first floor level from both the old hall and an external staircase to the south.

CHall5

Ground floor 18th century fireplace

Shortly afterwards the family got into financial difficulties and in 1640, Thomas Wybergh was forced to mortgage the lands surrounding the manor. In 1652, during the Civil War, the next Thomas Wybergh had his remaining estates forcibly sold owing to his support for the Royalists. Only the manor house itself now remained in the possession of the family. Further trouble arose during the Jacobite uprising when William Wybergh was kidnapped by Scottish soldiers in 1715. The building was occupied and plundered in 1745 shortly before the Battle of Clifton Moor which was the last military engagement on English soil.

CHall6

The Upper Chamber

Access to the upper floors is by a newel or circular stair situated in the south west corner of the tower. The Upper Chamber (above) was the most private and secluded space in the house accessible only from the principle chamber on the first floor. Still retaining an original fireplace, the Upper Chamber has been subdivided in more recent centuries with the addition of 18th century windows in the east wall. When the house was altered in 1600, the two upper chambers were retained with one of them perhaps used for dining.

CHall7

The hall was demolished in the early 19th century with the tower remaining in use as a farm building until renovation during the late 1970’s. The tower was placed in the guardianship of the Secretary of State in 1973.

CHall8

The present roof is a 17th century replacement

The present roof (above) is a 17th century replacement of an earlier roof and was raised at the same time that the tower’s crenellated parapets and south west corner were built. Clifton Hall Tower is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

CHall3

Remaining fabric of the old hall

Temple Sowerby: Acorn Bank Dovecote

Dovecote2

On the southeast side of Acorn Bank Manor House stands a late 18th / early 19th century dovecote. Constructed of ashlar, the two storey building is of a square plan and features a slate roof with a central wooden clock turret with corner balusters surmounted by a wrought iron weather vane.

Dovecote3

While they are considered to be picturesque, dovecotes were functional buildings and were almost always constructed in vernacular styles using local materials. Free standing dovecotes are common and when they are attached to large country houses, such as Acorn Bank, they were designed to be a feature in the landscape.

Dovecote4

The building has two small dovecote openings under the eaves on the north side and features a Venetian arched window on the south side (below) with Tuscan columns. The dovecote is Grade II Listed.

Dovecote1

Kendal: Abbot Hall

AbbotHall1

Situated along the River Kent stands Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum. Constructed of coursed squared rubble, the Hall was built in 1759 for Colonel George Wilson with the design of the building attributed to the English architect John Carr.

AbbotHall2

The two storey building was occupied by Colonel Wilson and his wife, Anne Sybile Harrison of Lancaster, from the year of Abbot Hall’s completion in 1762 until the property was sold in 1772. The regular flooding of the Kent meant considerable inconvenience for the inhabitants of the Hall and although the house itself was grand, there was little land to provide sufficient revenue for the running costs.

AbbotHall4

The ground floor features corniced fireplaces with Baroque foliate decoration and decorative plaster frames to the walls.

AbbotHall5

Abbot Hall was acquired by Kendal Borough Council in 1897 with the aim of turning the grounds into a public park to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In the following decades, the Hall sat deteriorating and faced with the threat of demolition in the early 1950’s, locals banded together in 1952 to save the building. Following appeals to the community for funds, Abbot Hall was restored and converted into an Art Gallery which opened to the public in September 1962.

AbbotHall3

Now managed by the Lakeland Arts Trust, Abbot Hall is Grade I Listed.

Kimbolton Castle

Kimb4

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.

Kimb1

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.

Kimb3

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.

Kimb5

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.

Kimb2

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.