I visited four Cotswolds villages: Broadway, Bourton-on-the-Water, Bilbury and Tetbury. They all have buildings in Cotswold stone, and some have a stream running through, expensive shops and art galleries, and a host of restaurants and tea rooms.
Pilbury has a row of picturesque row of weavers’ cottages built in local stone and owned by the National Trust. They are probably the most photographed cottages in England.
Tetbury has an interesting Georgian-period church – St Mary the Virgin.
The core of Chavenage house dates from the 16th century, with additions in the 17th century and early 1900’s. The tour takes in the oldest rooms of the house, which have many original and interesting contents. The Chapel (restored and altered in 19th century) is also worth seeing.
Cromwell slept in one of the bedrooms.
Chavenage retains the atmosphere of a family home, and the family do not employ any staff for opening the house to the public. The tours conducted by George Lowsley-Williams or his sister Caroline are immensely entertaining and informative.
The house is frequently used as a film location for films and TV series, e.g. Poldark.
The grounds can be visited but are unremarkable.
Visited on 20 Oct 2018
Parsonage Farm is a late medieval/early Tudor timber-framed former farmhouse with an original inglenook fireplace, a signed late 16th century glass window and has original beams throughout the house. The owners have an unique collection of authentic late medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan and Stuart furniture which is on display throughout the house.
The grounds are no longer part of a farm but around the house are a vegetable garden, orchard, re-created medieval pleasure and herb gardens, Oriental-style “banqueting house”, and several other themed garden areas.
I visited the house and grounds under the ‘Invitation to View’ scheme. The enthusiastic hosts gave a guided tour of the old rooms of the house, followed by a guided garden tour and then refreshments with the option to try some Tudor-style snacks and soft drinks, followed by a talk on various medieval subjects.
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.