Cadhay, Devon

East Front, Cadhay

East Front

Cadhay was mostly built in the 1540s as a Tudor house with hall, screens passage and domestic wings, by John Haydon, a lawyer who grew rich dissolving monasteries. His nephew added a fourth range with a Long Gallery, enclosing the courtyard.
The courtyard is the pride of the house and contains statues of Henry VIII and his three monarch offspring, Edward, Mary and Elisabeth. The stonework is laid checkerboard, of limestone alternated with local ‘chert’ flint.
A later owner, William Peere Williams, altered many rooms and put an upper floor in the Great Hall, forming a dining room below and the Roof Chamber above. The front was also refaced in smooth stone.
A Cambridge academic, Dampier Whetstone, bought the house in 1910, rescuing it from agricultural use and re-instating its Tudor character. The Williams-Powletts bought the house in 1935 after leasing it, and the current owner, furniture maker Rupert Thistlethwayte, a direct descendant of the Pouletts whose coat of arms appear above various fireplaces, has restored the house.
The rooms and contents are of some interest. Most rooms are double aspect with interconnecting doors (no corridor). The Long Gallery, a curiously narrow room with a barrel vaulted ceiling, acts as a kind of family museum. The Roof Chamber has a notable but much altered beamed ceiling.
Outside are some fine gardens, to the side and rear, also some ponds. A walled garden is divided into allotments.
The house is opened to the public on Friday afternoons. Tickets for the house tour and gardens are sold at the tea-room. For the rest of the week, the house is let out as a self-catering unit for wedding parties, etc.
Fish Pond, Cadhay

Fish Pond

Courtyard, Cadhay


Roof Chamber roof, Cadhay

Great Chamber roof

South front, Cadhay

South front

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Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset

Lytes Cary front This medieval manor was originally the family home of Elizabethan herbalist Henry Lyte. A copy of his book on herbs can be seen in the hall. In the 1750’s the Lytes were forced to vacate the house, which became partly ruinous. Sir Walter Jenner and his wife bought the house in 1907, restored the medieval part of the house and built a new family wing on the east side.
Today, visitors can see the medieval part of the house, with period contents collected by the Jenners. A number of downstairs rooms and three bedrooms can be seen. Outside is the chapel, which predates the house and, has no direct access from the house.
Lyte’s original gardens have long disappeared, but the Jenners created gardens in an Arts and Crafts style, and the gardens were further developed in the 1960’s onward by National Trust tenants the Chittendens. The garden contains a formal section with lawn and yew bushes, and other more informal parts.
While of modest size, the house contains various rooms and contents of interest.

Lytes Cary North Front

North front

Lytes Cary West Front

West Front

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Felixtowe Museum

The Felixtowe Museum is housed in the old submarine mining building to the right of the Landguard Fort entrance.
The exhibit rooms span a range of interests from the military to local social history.
Rooms are devoted to seaplanes, naval matters, defensive mines, a local mental asylum etc.
It is well worth a visit if you are visiting the peninsula. Check opening days before travelling, as the museum is manned by volunteers and the opening days seem limited.

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Leiston Abbey

Ruin with flint panels These ruins of an abbey built by Premonstratensian canons date mainly from the 14th century. Substantial ruins remain standing, some to full height. A side aisle is roofed and in use as a hall, and other parts are incorporated into a farmhouse, now in use as a school. An adjoining monastic barn is being restored and converted into a hall.
The remains of carved stonework and flint panelling can be admired at various points on the ruins.
Visit time ~30 mins.

Ruin with farmhouse

Ruin with farmhouse

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Orford Castle

Orford Castle from approach The castle was built in the 12th century by King Henry II. Its keep is of unusual design, being circular internally, with three flanking towers which contain the stairs and a number of chambers.
Originally it had a substantial outer wall with defensive towers, similar to Framlingham Castle, but this has entirely disappeared. The main hall is at first floor level, with another circular hall above.
Unlike the outer walls, the keep is well-preserved. Stairs give access to a basement, various small chambers, and the roof. The roof towers contain a former bakery and guardroom.
The flat roof is modern. The original roof was conical and hidden behind the upper walls.
Fine views of Orford Ness, the countryside, and the town can be had from the roof.
The castle makes an interesting visit. Visit time ~ 1.5 hours.

Main stairwell


Chamber, Orford


Orford Ness from castle roof

Orford Ness

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Landguard Fort

Landguard casemates The Landguard Fort lies near the end of a spit of land near the Port of Felixtowe. There have been several forts on this site, but the present one is of 18th and 19th century construction, with a few 20th century additions. The 18th century fort was pentagonal, but two sides of this were replaced in the 1870’s by a curved bastion containing heavy guns, plus a semicircular building enclosing the centre parade ground.
The fort has had various uses, including as a control point for mining the estuary in the Victorian period, as part of extensive port defences in WWI, and as a Fire Command Headquarters in WWII. During WWII the defences included 6″ guns.
The fort’s usage declined after the war, closing by the 1960’s.

The fort makes a very interesting visit. All parts can be explored, and an audio guide is available. One of the casemates contains a huge replica gun. Visit time ~ 3 hours.
Outside the fort, the Felixtowe Museum occupies the former mining building, and the beach, visitor centre and nature reserve are nearby.
The approach to the fort runs between the nature reserve and the modern Port of Felixtowe with its cranes and container ships. There is parking outside the fort and a little further on at the visitor centre. The parking can fill up at peak times e.g. sunny bank holidays.

Landguard inner gateway

Inner gateway

Landguard from beach

Landguard from beach

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Framlingham Castle

Castle wall, exterior The castle was built by the Bigod family in the 12th century, and was home to earls and dukes of Norfolk for over 400 years.
The outer walls and towers are well preserved, but the halls and domestic buildings within the walls have not survived. Inside the walls is a poorhouse built in the 17th century. A number of decorated Tudor brick chimneys stand atop the walls. Most of these are purely ornamental.
It is possible to walk around the walkway on top of the walls (anti-clockwise only), access being via the shop in the present Great Hall. This gives good views of the surrounding country.
The castle is impressive and well worth a visit. Visit time ~ 1.5 hours
There is a public pay car park in front of the castle. The fee can be claimed back at the Castle ticket office.

Poorhouse inside castle walls


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Strawberry Hill, London

Side of house
Strawberry Hill is the first Gothic Revival house in England, built by Horace Walpole, son of the famous politician Sir Robert Walpole.
Horace Walpole is also known as the author of a Gothic romance ‘The Castle of Otranto’.
Walpole acquired the pre-existing house in 1747 and adapted and extended it between 1747 and 1770 as a Gothic house. He did not intend it to last beyond his lifetime, but remarkably, much of the exterior and interior detailing has survived to the present day.
The house has recently been the object of a major restoration, which included taking down and reconstructing the south-west corner, painting the exterior in the original white, and returning the various rooms to their 18th century appearance. Some work is still in progress, but the major rooms are complete. Fortunately, the house was one of the best documented in England.

Visitors will note that the house is attached to a brownstone crenelated building, part of the adjoining St Mary’s College. The immediately adjoining part is a 19th century house extension to Strawberry Hill, built for Lady Waldegrave. The next section appears to be Walpole’s 18th century “New Offices” or stable block, which Lady Waldegrave converted into bedrooms.
Further away in the College grounds and on the Waldegrave Road side of the range of buildings is Walpole’s Chapel, under a tree at the other side of the car park and behind the large 20th century Chapel. The Chapel interior dates from 1954.

Strawberry Hill is a very interesting building and well worth a visit. The house is an easy walk from Strawberry Hill rail station. Car parking at the house is limited and permit parking applies in adjoining streets.

Detail in Gallery

Detail in Gallery

Detail in Library


Chapel altar

Chapel altar

Chapel wall

Chapel wall

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Kempton Great Engines. London

Engine House ext
The Kempton triple-expansion engines are situated in Hounslow, West London, at a water treatment site. They were formerly used for pumping drinking water to a reservoir, but ceased operation in 1980, when the building and contents were declared a Grade II* listed monument. The site is now leased by Thames Water to a preservation trust.
One of the engines is in working order, and the other under restoration. These are the biggest engines of their type ever erected in Britain, and the working one is the biggest triple-expansion engine in the world still operating. Each stands 62 feet high, weighs around 1000 tons and generated 1008 Hp.
The handsome engine house is original and the walls are covered internally with glazed tiles. The colossal engines are still in their original positions, as are two steam turbine pumps and much ancillary equipment. One of the big engines is run on steaming days. There is a lot to look at, and you can get a guided tour to climb up on the non-working engine. This place really deserves to be much better known.
If visiting by road, the site is signed from the roundabout under the A316. Beware the speed bumps. Parking is under the flyover.
On an adjacent site is the self-described Hampton to Kempton Waterworks railway. This is a project to recreate the narrow-gauge railway that supplied coal to the site. So far, it consists of a loop of track in an adjacent field, and a steam engine and carriage. You can ride on it.

No.7 Triple Expansion Engine

No.7 Triple Ex. Engine

Turbine Floor

Turbine Floor



Narrow gauge Railway

Narrow gauge Railway

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Brunel Museum, London

Engine house chimney This museum is sited above the Rotherhithe Tunnel built by Brunel in the 19th century. It’s an interesting site, but you should manage your expectations before visiting. The museum (or rather, mini-museum) is housed in an original engine house above the tunnel. The pump engines are no longer there, but you can see a video and display panels about Brunel (father and son) and their project. There is access by guided tour to the original access chamber for the tunnel, a large underground cylindrical space. You have to climb over a small wall, go through a 4ft high opening and descend a scaffold tower. (Definitely no disabled access!) There is a modern concrete floor between you and the train tunnels. There is also a pleasant garden sited above the chamber roof.

There is no access to the under-river tunnel from the Museum. Instead, you have three options:
1) Take a London Overground train through the tunnel at any time of your convenience. You may not see much. Most of the Victorian brickwork is now coated with shot-crete.
2) Take a train excursion at a time when the tunnel lights are turned on.
3) Book for one of the rare walks through the tunnel, when the trains have been stopped for maintenance. It will cost you around £18.
By public transport, you can reach the museum by London Overground train to Rotherhithe, or by tube to Bermonsey, then bus. There is a great view of the river a few yards to the North.

Access chamber visit

Access Chamber

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