Friday, 30 September 2011

Little Malvern Court.

The Malvern Hills
courtesy daderot via wikipedia
I don't want to give the impression that I spend all of my time gallivanting around historic homes, September was rather a bumper month. 
My visit to Little Malvern Court two weekends ago, was as a result of work I have done for the Fine and Decorative Art Society that I belong to. It is a National organisation, and I was Chairman of our local society for 5 years. I was then appointed to be what is known as the Young Arts Representative for the West Mercia Area. This is made up of 19 Societies in 4 English Counties and also includes South Wales. My position was to help and co-ordinate the different societies with art initiatives for the young people in their area. This could range from organising a school visit to a gallery or place of architectural importance, having an artist in residence at a school, organising art exhibitions, purchasing art equipment, and awarding art bursaries to individual students. I did this voluntary post for five years, and the visit to Malvern was a very lovely thank you from the current Area Team.
Driving along the road, and suddenly seeing the Malvern Hills, I can hear Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance March playing in my head. It is known that his musical inspiration came from walking along the ridges of the hills.
Little Malvern Court sits on the lower slopes of the hills, and has been the home of the Berington family, by descent, since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. It consists of two distinct parts, the remains of a 14th century Prior's Hall once attached to a 12th century Benedictine Priory and a Victorian Manor house by Charles Hansom, who primarily designed in the Gothic Revival style.
I was invited along with others who have been involved in helping the societies in different ways for lunch, followed by a visit to the  gardens, and Priory.
A champagne reception was held in the 14th century Prior's Great Hall followed by a lovely hot lunch with all of the trimmings.
The Old Hall has a rare and spectacular interior roof with wooden cusped wind-braces. The monks had a central pit fire in the hall, and the roof timbers are still visibly black from smoke drifting up and out through an opening in the roof. At one end of the hall is a huge painting by Paul Delaroche of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Stratford being taken to the scaffold in 1641. At the opposite end is a 15th century altarpiece from Antwerp, an exquisitely carved treasure; Something that normally would only be seen in a museum not a private house.
courtesy Dr M E Rouse
courtesy bruce johnson
courtesy Dr M E Rouse
The Victorian addition attached to the 14th C Prior's Hall.
The house and Priory which is now the local parish church

14 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    How perfectly lovely all of this sounds to have been. How wonderful to have been invited to such a marvellous event after your many generous years of voluntary work.

    We were most interested to read of your role in co-ordinating Arts activities for young people across the Mercia Region. That must have been so rewarding and given you a good insight into the many and varied artists working in that region and beyond.

    Little Malvern Court is in such a commanding position and its surrounding countryside is so beautiful. As you say, Elgar is the most perfect background music to it all!!

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  2. Hello Jane & Lance - Yes, it was a very interesting role to have. It was a privilege to be involved with and to see the artistic talent that so many of our young people have.

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  3. this was such an exciting job you had!
    thanks for sharing knowledge and pictures with us Rosemary : )

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  4. Dear Demie, I was fortunate to have such an interesting position for 5 years. I loved doing it and it gave tremendous satisfaction.

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  5. This looks like a beautiful, peaceful place to spend some time...and sounds like you fulfill a very worthy and interesting role.

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  6. Very beautiful pictures!
    Congratulations

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  7. Thank you Nat - it is an amazing place to visit and even more so knowing that it has been there for over 800 years.

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  8. Thank you very much Antonio - I have had a look at your lovely paintings, but I could not get the language translation bar to work.

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  9. Spectacular countryside (that first photograph looks as though you're on top of the world), and most interesting buildings. I imagine the priory was a pretty cold place back in the 1500s! After Neo Classic, Gothic revival is a favorite style of mine. I was delighted to see that even the trellis at Little Malvern Court is Gothic.

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  10. You are right Mark, the Malvern Hills are in spectacular countryside with views over to the Cotswold escarpment in the east and the Welsh mountains to the west. I had not noticed that the trellis was Gothic in style - thanks for pointing that out.

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  11. Thank you Marius - I am pleased that you enjoyed looking at it.

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  12. Dear Rosemary,

    Your photographs of this gorgeous place are amazing! I see you live in the Cotswolds. I love the Cotswolds and plan on revisiting there some day. love, Beth

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  13. Dear Beth - How nice to know that this area is familiar to you. It will certainly be easier for you to pay a return visit now you live in Switzerland.

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