Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Baddesley Clinton - Knights Have Dwelt Within Their Walls, Fugitives Fled To Their Secret Chambers, Cavaliers Knocked at Their Oaken Doors



A National Trust visit was long overdue, so yesterday armed with cheese sandwiches and the camera we jumped in the van and headed south across the border to Warwickshire.


A home has stood at Baddesley Clinton since before the Norman Conquest. Set in the heart of the Forest of Arden, although the moat surrounding the manor house dates from the 13th Century the house wasn't built until the middle of the 15th Century. Baddesley Clinton was acquired by Edward Ferrers in 1526 and the property remained in the Ferrers family for over 500 years until being acquired by a distant relative in 1940. In 1980 it was bequeathed to the National Trust and opened to the public two years later.


Over the course of its history Baddesley Clinton has provided refuge for those seeking escape from the outside world, never more so than during The Reformation, when the house offered shelter to persecuted Catholic priests escaping the 1559 Act of Uniformity. Harbouring priests was seen as an act of treason and owner Henry Ferrers faced certain death if it was discovered that he'd rented out the house to the ardently Catholic daughters of Lord Vaux who'd installed priest hides (see photo below) within the house to hide Catholics. 



As the centuries passed, the house developed to suit the needs of the occupants.



Some of the most radical changes happened in the late 19th Century. By then the house was occupied by a group of Bohemians collectively known as The Quartet. The story goes that Rebecca Dulibella Orpen lived in County Cork with her aunt, Georgiana Chatterton and was courted by the wealthy Edward Dering. Her 53 year old aunt was somewhat deaf and when Edward asked for her niece's hand in marriage, Georgiana misheard him, thought that he was proposing to her and accepted. Apparently very chivalrous, Edward didn't correct the mistake and married her despite the 25 year age gap. 


Marmion (what a brilliant name) Ferrers, the last in the line of direct descendants, married Rebecca in 1867 and all four moved into Baddesley Clinton. Both couples remained childless and inseparable, devoting their lives to the restoration and refurbishment of Baddesley Clinton & to painting, writing and religion. Georgiana died in 1876 and Marmion in 1884 leaving Edward to marry his true love, Rebecca, in 1885.


Baddesley Clinton was closed earlier this year for maintenance work. The kitchen, a Victorian addition, was one of the rooms restored.


Although rather dark, Baddesley Clinton felt welcoming and cosy, with lots of the personal possessions of the Ferrers family on display.


We loved the creaky floorboards and the strong smell of beeswax.



Henry Ferrers used the Great Hall for a reception room and entertainments. When the carved heraldic chimney piece was installed on 2nd March 1629, Henry was recorded as saying Work in the great chamber have finished and set up the chimney piece....which I like well but the unicorn is not set up for the crest, and is as I think made too big and the horn too big, and too upright, and the eyes ill set and sidelong.





Typical me, touching up the curtains to see how they'd work as a frock.


The stain below the fireplace is rumoured to be blood from the grisly murder of a priest in 1483.





Runners in this vibrant print cover much of the floor at Baddesley Clinton. Isn't it gorgeous? 


You know me, I can't walk past a rail of clothes without taking a closer look. 




An illustrated article on Baddesley Clinton appeared in the first edition of Country Life in January 1897 where writer John Leyland described the house  as A truly quaint and beautiful domestic survival of the English country life of the olden time


He continues Mailed knights have dwelt within their walls, fugitives in troublous times have fled to their secret chambers, cavaliers have knocked at their oaken doors...... 


About seven miles from Warwick… all amid the silent woods, its grey walls and timber gables reflected in a lake-like moat, stands the old Hall of Baddesley Clinton. Its aspect carries you back hundreds of years. You will readily, if so disposed, conjure up an old-world history when you look at it, and if you have any antiquarian interest – and who has not at least a tinge of it? – you can easily forget for the time that you are living in the Nineteenth century.


The gardens were gorgeous. Many of the visitors already knew each other and the names of the gardeners, they must picnic there every week.


Many National Trust properties have second hand bookshops in the grounds but the one at Baddesley Clinton was incredibly well stocked and staffed by a very knowledgeable gentleman. We found an amazing post-war guidebook to Greece for just £1.


After we'd eaten lunch we strolled around the estate accompanied by some very friendly ducks.


Despite being issued with a map on arrival we still managed to get hopelessly lost in the vast grounds much to the disdain of the estate's livestock.


We did manage to find our way to St Michael's, Baddesley's medieval church. Aren't the baby skeletons on the gravestone odd?


Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire, B93 0DQ

Open daily (except 24 - 25 December)



See you soon.

Thinking of everyone affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.


55 comments:

  1. What an interesting history! Thanks for taking the time to pass it on...and the photos,too! Well-chosen. (As was your dress!) Love the sheep in the pasture, the books lining wall in one of the rooms, and the fireplace!

    Sad to hear of yet another tragedy in your fine country. Sometimes feels like the world is imploding with sadness, violence, and inability to exercise self-control...

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! Baddesley was beautiful, you could almost feel the love The Quartet had lavished on restoring it. xxx

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  2. Lovely historical post - thank you x

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  3. The Forest of Arden......sounds like Shakespeare.

    Sweet black and white floor. Well, the whole place is sweet.

    Don't be making a dress out of those drapes! They'll toss you out on your ear.

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    1. Warwickshire is Shakespeare country!
      But I've got a wonderful vintage pattern for an Afghani dress, it needs green velvet! xxx

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  4. That is such a lovely house. Strangely homely and the moat is fantastic. I'd love a house with a moat, wouldn't you?

    The baby skeletons were macabre to say the least!

    Lovely outfits both of you...

    xxxx

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    1. I'd love a house with a moat, too. Keep all those pizza delivering leafleteers at bay! xxx

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  5. I saw you handling the curtains before reading the caption and I thought that's what you were up to!

    I love your bag. It looks Arts and Crafts era.

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    1. I'm so predictable!
      I don't have many bags, that one is a favourite. xxx

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  6. What a beautiful description of Baddesley Clinton by John Leyland and I'm glad that Rebecca and Edward got together eventually, what a truly honourable gent he must have been.
    Those gravestones are a bit freaky...bet Em would love em. Xx

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    1. I bet she'd love those gravestones. I wish I could have read the inscription, I was intrigued as to who was buried there.
      Despite being 25 years Edward's senior judging by Rebecca's portraits, she was still a looker. xxx

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  7. What a beautiful description of Baddesley Clinton by John Leyland and I'm glad that Rebecca and Edward got together eventually, what a truly honourable gent he must have been.
    Those gravestones are a bit freaky...bet Em would love em. Xx

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  8. What a beautiful home. Old graveyards are always so interesting. Score on the book on Greece!

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    1. Of all the places to pick up a vintage travel guide! xxx

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  9. exactly like the outside of this castle i always imagined "the house of usher" from poe...
    but baddesley clinton is´t spooky at all - it looks warm and welcoming. what a treasure! that chimney piece, the furniture, woodwork and carpets are beautiful - even more because well used. and you look like the lady of the house in that romantic outfit!
    park and church and village are not bad either :-)
    xxxxx

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    1. Funnily enough from the outside I thought very similar but the feel of Baddesley's interior was so lovely and welcoming I'd have happily moved in (and requisitioned the curtains!) xxx

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  10. I love it when you report back from a historical visit, I get to 'visit' places I have never been to! Thank you x

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    1. Thank you! I'd definitely recommend Baddesley if you're ever in the Midlands. xxx

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  11. What a beautiful house. The photo's are lovely.
    Imagine agreeing to marry someone just because they mistakenly thought you'd asked them, bizarre!
    Those green velvet curtains would make a fab dress, you'd never get away with it though ;) xxx

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    1. I couldn't believe the story, I though the volunteer was having it on! What a patient man Edward was! xxx

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  12. Lovely photographs of such a lovely, inviting home... What an anecdote to get married "by mistake" - never heard of that one, so worth of a story! Thank you for sharing, dear!!

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    1. Unbelievable, wasn't it? If you wrote a story with a married by mistake theme, people would say it was unrealistic! xxx

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  13. What a gorgeous house! Always amazes me what bohemian lives some folks lived in the 1800's. Thank you for sharing your visit! xox

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    1. I know! the Victorians were so buttoned-up and conservative, The Quartet must have been the talk of Warwickshire! xxx

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  14. Such a beautiful place and the grounds look so inviting! I love the proposal story but the poor lady he wanted to marry though.

    I really love your dress too, it's beautiful xxx

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    1. Edward was too kind for his own good. What patience!
      I though my sleeves were appropriate for visiting a Medieval house. xxx

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  15. Baddesley Clinton looks like a splendid house inside and out. Quite cosy, too, and you look very much at home there. And of course, you had to touch up those curtains and look through that rail of clothes. I'd have been surprised if you hadn't. Love the proposal story but feeling about sorry for them too. Oh, and is that a caterpillar in the flower collage, top right? What a splendid specimen! xxx

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    1. Well spotted with the caterpillar! Aren't his colours amazing? xxx

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  16. such a wonderful house, thanks for sharing!
    (I'm also a huge fan of touching curtains and fabrics, thinking on make a dress, this must be called the 'scarlett o'hara syndrom', didn't it?)
    You look lovely in your floral maxi!
    besos

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    1. Haha! Scarlett O'Hara sums it up perfectly! Those green velvet curtains were crying out to be made into something for me to wear. xxx

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  17. Thanks for sharing, Vix. I love the moat, I can picture the knights and priests travelling over to get into Baddesley Clinton. I love second hand books stores, especially near places like this. Your outfit looks amazing- I'm on the lookout for some gorgeous, vintage maxis, I may have to have a peek at your website. Xxx

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    1. Hi Jess! Argh! I've put the shop on holiday. I really ought to add some more dresses when i get back from Greece, I'm drowning in maxis! xxx

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  18. You've visited lots of gorgeous places, but that is the sort of place I dream of living in. It's just perfect. I don't have that much stuff in my two-up two-down, I'm sure there's room for me there... No wonder people living nearby go back regularly.

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    1. It had such a lovely feel with tastefully cluttered Victorian makeover. I felt I could have lived there, too. The cats would have been fascinated by the moat! xxx

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  19. What a lovely building. Great photos! xx

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  20. I always love these little armchair visits I get to take along with you exploring old estates.

    Looks lovey and also looks like the weather was very good.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Thank you!
      We did get a bit of sunshine - eventually! I'd high hopes for a sleeveless dress but it wasn't to be! xxx

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  21. One envies the locals who can use this property as their weekend picnic park! The house itself, smelling of beeswax, would be a cool retreat on a hot summer day. Do hope you and Jon can return, perhaps to visit the bookstore? Here in the states, used books have no market in tourist shops -- only plastic tat and overpriced coloring books are standard.

    Your dress is charming, Vix, but the (suede?) jerkin makes it exactly right for the occasion!

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    1. A wonderful house, cool in the Summer and cosy in the winter. The Quartet were a talented lot! There's a vintage book fair there in August, I'd love to go back.
      It was a chilly morning so that suede jerkin added some much needed warmth! xxx

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  22. Oh, I would love to see this! So beautiful and full of history! You fit right in with your lovely dress. :)

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    1. After reading about the house i felt the need for a Medieval sleeve! xxx

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  23. I do enjoy your tours of National Trust properties, some of which we have also been to ourselves (although not this one) - it's great to get someone else's perspective, and be reminded of my own visit.

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    1. Hi Fran! I hope you manage to visit Baddesley eventually, it really was a lovely place. Glad you enjoyed the blog post. xxx

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  24. Another very enjoyable National Trust Tour, I always love these. England is so rich in History and so good at keeping it alive. Thank you for a most excellent tour and history talk!!

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  25. Absolutely love Baddesley, think you've pretty much captured the essence there! It was the first property we visited as members and our go to retreat in times of stress. The woven grass mats in the bedrooms were very fragrant when we were last there a couple of weeks ago, and the ducks are always over friendly! I love that sofa on the mezzanine overlooking the moat, could sit there all day!

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    1. I was looking out for you as I know it's a favourite place of yours! I loved it, that bookshop was spectacular and Jon took a fancy to the ducks! xxx

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  26. As soon as I saw your hand on those beautiful green velvet curtains, I thought, Vix... :) Thanks for taking me along with you and Jon on this National Trust adventure. Such a great story for which you are most suitably attired (and I notice Jon in shorts so am assuming a nice warm day??) I LOVE that you found the guide on Greece! xx

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    1. I can't resist fondling velvet!
      It wasn't very warm when we visited but I think the sun must have been encouraged by the appearance of Jon's knees, we've enjoyed a bit of a heatwave since Saturday. xxx

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  27. You'll get on the National Trust's naughty list if you touch up the curtains wherever you go! It's the shoes I have to watch with my husband...
    I love your frock, suits the surroundings splendidly x

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    1. I can't help myself! Jon's always after the hats! xxx

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  28. As soon as I saw you touching up those curtains, I knew what was going through your head lol! xx

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Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx