The Old Warden estate has a number of attractions including the Shuttleworth Collection of old aircraft and cars, and the Swiss Garden. Also on the estate are the Mansion, and Queen Anne’s Summerhouse. I visited on a Heritage Open Day when the Mansion, Swiss garden and Summerhouse were opened free of charge.
The Mansion is occasionally opened to the public and the Summerhouse is normally let out by the Landmark Trust.
The Shuttleworth Collection is open daily and well worth a visit if you are interested in old aircraft, cars etc. The Swiss Garden is also open daily (charges apply).
Invitation to View
I visited this medieval house under the ‘Invitation to View’ scheme in August 2018. 25-27 was once part of the long closed Sun Inn. It dates approximately from the late 14th century and is particularly well known for its 17th century pargeting (decorative external render). The interior also contains much interesting historic fabric.
When I visited, the house was unmodernised, but it is currently the object of renovation. Each of the two houses (now connected) has two principal rooms downstairs and two bedrooms above in no. 27 and three in no.25. There are cellars under no.27, and small flint-walled courtyards at the rear.
The structure is predominately timber frame with a ‘crown post’ roof. The spaces within the timber frame are infilled with wattle and daub, with some brick infill.
The pargeting on no 25-27 is of the rare raised form, and includes two unique giant figures, together with birds, foliage, various architectural motifs, a dog and even a stocking.
The area to the north of the city centre is known as Old Aberdeen and contains the University and St Machars Cathedral, and Seaton Park.
Picture gallery follows; includes King’s College, Bishop Elphinstone Monument, Powis gate.
St Peter’s Church, Tawstock. A Devon church included in ‘Devon’s 50 best Churches’ by Todd Gray.
The collection of church monuments is particularly fine. Most are connected to the Earls of Bath. Features of interest include the 16th century gallery, the manorial pew of the earls of bath, and two ceilings of Italian plasterwork.
The church is in a rural site, in the former park of the Earls of Bath. Nearby is an Elizabethan gatehouse, all that remains of an Elizabethan mansion. The house burnt down in 1787 and was replaced by the current Gothic style mansion, Tawstock Court.
Gunpowder has been manufactured on this site at Waltham Abbey from the time of Charles II and probably earlier. The site was purchased by the government in 1787 and incorporated as the Royal Gunpowder Mills. It manufactured increasing quantities of gunpowder, cordite and other explosives. After WWII it became the Explosives Research and Development Department, ERDE. The site was closed by the Ministry of Defence in 1991 and all valuable materials on the site were scrapped, and old records destroyed.
More recently, the site has been taken over by a charitable trust which preserves and displays the remains and also the natural history on the site. It is regularly opened to the public.
I visited the site as part of the ‘Invitation to View’ scheme of a date when the site was not opened to the general public. The visit comprised an introductory talk, a 2.5 hour walking tour and finally tea, sandwiches and cakes.
The walking tour included parts of the site not open to the general public (The public get instead a land-train tour of shorter duration).
The site is about a mile in length. The tour includes some intriguing brick and concrete structures, much greenery, a barge formerly used for transporting gunpowder, and a pond. It returns along the line of the later buildings used for making cordite. These contained beam engines (now missing) powering grindstones (now missing, but there is a replica in the last hut).
We did not visit every building (and not the film show).
Despite the length of the tour, there was not time to look at everything at leisure. 2.5 hours felt long enough on one’s feet, so anyone going on the ‘Invitation to View’ tour might want to factor in a follow-up visit on another date.
Overall, I’d rate this site as ‘interesting’ rather than ‘wow’. Worth a visit if you are interested in the subject.
A Devon church included in ‘Devon’s 50 best Churches’ by Todd Gray. St John the Baptist, Ashton SW Dartmoor.
A 15th century church with Perpendicular style windows. Roof, window tracery, floor etc restored 1881-3 and 1899-1901. Has a 5-bay Beerstone arcade and an important 8-bay roodscreen, paintings on west side of screen ‘the best in the county’.
St Nectan’s Church, Hartland.
The church is in the hamlet of Stoke, between Hartland village and the coast. It has a fine rood screen, painted ceilings and an interesting museum up a narrow flight of stairs. The museum has painted fragments from a painted ceiling and other relics.
The church has a tall tower that can be seen form some distance out to sea.