Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Day of Amazing Architecture and Textiles

Today is the third full day of our Jane Austen itinerary and I have seen more than I ever dreamed of!

This morning we visited Sudeley Castle and Gardens near Winchcombe in the Cotswolds.  What a beautiful historic castle in a gorgeous landscape.  Once again we have been blessed with the most gorgeous fine and warm weather. This has made all our photos so special.

The castle has an incredible and varied history, being associated with many English monarchs of the past including Richard III, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Charles I.  It had fallen into disrepair by the nineteenth century but was rescued and restored by the Dent family, wealthy Victorian glove makers. They have transformed the castle and grounds and opened them to the public.

The grounds are manicured and spectacular with lots of different garden areas featuring English cottage garden flowers, especially roses.

Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII is entombed in St Mary's Church next to the castle.



The tiles were pure inspiration for a new quilt design.


Helen Bertram of Whitecroft Tours has a flare for finding the most amazing items of interest to quilters and embroiderers.  Our tour of the Cotswolds included viewing exquisite textiles: Tudor stump work, gorgeous laces, tapestries and samplers.



In the afternoon we experienced an incredibly detailed private tour of Stoneleigh Abbey including all its associations with dear Jane Austen.  This wonderful estate was inherited by Austen relations and we know from Jane's letters that she visited the estate.

The rooms of this beatiful place are simply breath taking.  The main saloon was huge, decorated with glorious plaster work in the 1760s showing the Greek myth of Hercules.



Our very informative guide, Rachel, was dressed in charming period costume. She made all the connections to Jane Austen and the influence the estate had on her writing come alive.   

The plot and characters in "Mansfield Park" are thought to have been inspired by family circumstances Jane learnt about during her visit to Stoneleigh Abbey in 1806. 

I especially loved all the dark wood panelling on the walls, the amazing tapestry chairs and the gorgeous library of antique books.




I was particularly fascinated by th Queen's Bedroom where the Abbey hosted a visit by the young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  The family arranged the most spectacular bedroom ensemble, complete with a magnificent bed covering made from old ball gowns.

An amazing day, topped off with another superb meal at:



Another great day.  I do not want it all to end.

1 comment:

  1. Again you were right by where I live when you visited Sudeley on Wednesday morning. I was in town myself dropping my dog at the groomers on Wednesday morning.
    You are having great weather for visiting our British Castles and historic houses.