Friday, September 28, 2012

Baddesley Clinton

After Coughton Court, we had enough time this afternoon to also stop by Baddesley Clinton --our first visit to this lovely 16th century house, surrounded by a moat.  It was owned by the Ferrars family [of Tutbury Castle] after a daughter of the house married a Ferrars son at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Later, the family were prominent Catholic recusants, and as seems to be the case with these embattled Midlands Roman Catholic families, were embroiled in plots and civil war politics and the construction of now-famous "priest-holes" --hides for concealing the households' personal clerics.

We've seen similar medieval architecture at places like Coughton Court, Stratford, and Moseley Old Hall; but Baddesley Clinton has the most incredible Tudor-style architecture and design. Intricately carved dark wooden panels and furniture contrast with pale tapestries, white coverlets, and whitewashed ceilings, providing a beautiful portrait of sixteenth-century interior decoration.  I loved it!  

This room, used in Victorian times by the artists of the family, was my favourite.  

Late afternoon sunshine poured through the tall windows at each end of the room, and the woven straw matting on the floor smelled as I imagine sun would smell, if it had a scent.  Encouraged by an enthusiastic National Trust volunteer, all four of the kids climbed into the fireplace.  They kept trying to peer up inside, as if they expected to see a long-hidden skeleton, or some other cryptic relict of the past.

There was a well-told tale for the kids in this room --murder in the library, anyone?  [Complete with bloodstain on the floor; see lower far right corner of photo!] Needless to say, they were transfixed.

They also loved climbing in and out of a priesthole --an interactive model, of course; not the real thing!

The boys found ducks to chase, with no one to tell them off this time for following the wildlife with gusto.  Righty is desperate to hold a real live bird.  I think we need a flock of chickens for this boy to look after!

We are all exhausted this evening.  Some of us were early to bed but some, like me, drank too much coffee [I've run out of my special decaf beans] and my brain is still busy.

This blog has turned into a travelogue of sorts after we bought our National Trust membership early this year.  I'm happy with that, as it's wonderful for us to be able to look back at the trips we've made and remember the fun we've had discovering more about English history. 

But I also want to write.  Really write.  I've made so little time for it recently, and blogging has been my main source of writing discipline in the last few years.  I think I need to do more journaling on paper, too.  That seems to keep my literary creativity going at a reasonable pace.

Anyway, I'm off to bed now in the silence of this long-asleep house.  Finally.

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