Saturday, 4 August 2012

Crinkle Crankle and 18 Carat Gold

This is the land of my birth. The place where I learnt to love wild flowers, appreciate walking in the countryside, and enjoy the architecture of the many beautiful properties in the area - this is Derbyshire - my roots.
I knew that in the village of Sudbury, Derbyshire, there was a Crinkle Crankle wall hidden away somewhere. I must have read about it and remembered that it was near to the village school. On arriving we made enquiries of a local who had neither heard of it or knew anything about it. Crinkle Crankle walls, also known as Serpentine walls, and ribbon walls are an uncommon feature, and I was keen to find it. We saw a road sign - School Road - so decided that would be a good place to start. On arrival at the school a caretaker emerged from the door, the schools are empty for the summer, and he asked what we wanted. I described what we were looking for, and he said he had noticed it for the first time recently. He showed us round to the back of the school where we had a quick look, before he let us out again, padlocking the gate as we departed. 
The wall is made of half circles. On this side it forms bays, a perfect place for growing new and rare vegetables for Sudbury Hall, one of the last Jacobean houses to be built in the country. This must have been part of their walled kitchen garden at some stage.
The next task was to see the other side of the wall. It now has private gardens backing onto it and is split up so impossible to see the whole curving line of the wall.
A cheeky knock at a door elicited a very kind lady who gained entry for us to one part of the rear side of the wall.
Sadly my best attempt
A better example showing the rear of a much smaller crinkle crankle wall in Norfolk
courtesy  of wikipedia
Sudbury is what is colloquially called an Estate Village, meaning that the whole village was built by the the Lords Vernon of Sudbury Hall for the worker's on their estate. 
The Butcher's shop shuttered up for Sunday
The local Public House - the Vernon Arms
Village shop
Village stocks
A quick dash to Chatsworth House, which was wrapped up like a big parcel on my last visit. The Duke of Devonshire has spent 40 million pounds having the stonework cleaned, and the window surrounds and finials gilded with 18 carat gold. It has been restored to the way it would have looked when it was first built in the 17th century, and I was sceptical as to how the windows might look.
Lying in the Derwent Valley and known as the Palace of the Peak, Chatsworth still remains one of my favourite stately homes.
An elegant 17th century bridge spans the river Derwent to Chatsworth House
A collage of one of the entry gates newly gilded
The golden windows sparkling in the morning sunshine are a triumph together with gold gilding on the carved stonework and finials topping the classical urns  - time was short - a family wedding was urgently calling.
My sister gave me a flower arrangement from her daughter's wedding.

44 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    We once saw a very fine example of a Crinkle Crankle wall somewhere but now have no idea where we were. That at Sudbury is very fine and it is something of a pity that it is now divided up.

    The windows at Chatsworth look spectacular and very splendid when caught in the sun.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - Most Crinkle Crankle walls can be found in East Anglia, Norfolk and Suffolk. In Suffolk in particular they claim to have twice as many as in the whole of the rest of the country. I know of two others in Derbyshire, and in Hampshire there are two examples, one of which dates from the Napoleonic wars, and was constructed by exiled Hanoverian soldiers.
      Yes, the windows at Chatsworth really do sparkle and shine in the sun.

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  2. Dear Rosemary,
    Great pictures! The area you were born is beautiful and impressive. Buildings are retain their beauty without being made interventions. Very pretty village!
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - the village is still pretty much as the Vernon family constructed it. The main intervention being the motor car as per usual.
      Glad you enjoyed the pictures, and thank you for your comment.

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  3. Your first picture is one of the best I have seen on your blog. I also like the gate.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Dear Filip - that is very generous of you - thank you.

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  4. Another great post jam packed with new discoveries for me. I have never heard of a crinkle crankle wall before and sadly I have never visited Chatsworth but those sparkly windows are enough to pique my interest. Nice to see a Village Post Office, quite a rarity these days.

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    1. Dear Paul - Crinkle Crankle walls are great fun, but few and far between. Isn't is extraordinary that a Post Office should be a rarity these days!!!
      Chatsworth is worth a visit, the interior is wonderful. However, since the documentary on TV every man and his dog seem to be turing up to visit. We arrived very early in the morning before the crowds.

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  5. Oh, I really loved this post, Rosemary! It's full of some of my favourite things - glorious wide views, fantastic architecture, full of charm and quirks and Chatsworth, also one of my favourite stately homes,looking truly magnificent after its cleaning and refurbishing.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - that is so kind of you - you have truly made my day. Thank you, and so pleased that the post was 'right up your street'.

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  6. Dear Rosemay, Thanks to your "cheeky knock at a door" we were introduced to Crinkle Crankle walls. I had no idea they existed and they are so beautiful.
    I've seen gold in lots of places but never surrounding window frames. What an impressive and stately building is Chatsworth. Your country holds many treasures and we are so furtunate that you bring them to us in pictures and words.

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    1. Dear Gina - Isn't that just one of the reasons why blogging is such fun? we learn so much from one another. Now, if you are ever in a quiz and they ask the question, 'do you know what Crinkle Crankle walls are'? you will be the one to get the answer correct.
      I loved the external gold on the windows, it complimented the soft golden stone so beautifully, and also made the house shine.

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  7. Great photos! I love that wall. This is the first time I've heard of such a thing. The village is wonderful and quaint. Chatworth looks like a great place to visit. Love all of the gold.

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    1. The interior of Chatsworth House is really superb, but time was short for me this visit.
      You are not alone in learning about Crinkle Crankle walls, I do not think that they are generally known here either. The village is as it was built by the Lords Vernon and has hardly entered into the 21st century, but that is its charm. I will do a post on the Vernon's country house very shortly.

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  8. Rosemary, your birth place is magically full of charms! “Derbyshire” rings the bell and I remember it is the place where Mr. Darcy of Pride & Prejudice has residence. I had thought Derbyshire was an imaginary place till now. Crinkle Crinkle Wall is first to me, it’s so beautiful. Happy wedding to your niece.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - your knowledge is good. Yes, Derbyshire is real but Pemerley, Mr Darcy's country estate is fictional. However, you might be interested to know that Chatsworth House is believed to be the original inspiration for Pemberley.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the Crinkle Crankle walls, and thank you, my niece had a lovely wedding last Saturday.

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  9. I find that calling the serpentine walls Crinkle Crankle is charming. We have a public garden not far from here that has serpentine walls. The gold windows are a bit over the top for me but to each his own. I hope you enjoyed your family wedding. It was a lovely place for the wedding.

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    1. Crinkle Crankle is a rather pleasing term. The wavy shaped walls originated in about 1750. The shape of the wall being such that it actually gives it extra strength and can be built using only a single brick width.

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  10. Beautiful photos, Rosemary and an interesting post as always!
    I went to Chatsworth a few years back.... a magnificent place to visit and superb grounds for a picnic on a stunning summers' day. I remember everyone rushing into the water to cool down when they turned the water cascade on :-)

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    1. Dear Nat - glad you found it interesting. We arrived at Chatsworth last week very early in the morning and before the crowds, which have increased somewhat since the recent documentary on TV. At Chatsworth they have a very amiable attitude to the public allowing them on the beautifully manicured lawns and as you say into the water cascade.

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  11. What a lovely part of the country you came from. I have never held the term crinkle crankle before and loved the way you managed to find one and capture it. The village you grew up in looks wonderful and so pleasing to still have its own pub, shop and butchers. We enjoyed our visit to Chatsworth too such a beautiful setting and home.
    Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - I have mistakenly confused you. I grew up in Derbyshire but Sudbury is not the village where I lived. We went to Sudbury to visit Sudbury Hall, and I remembered that there was a Crinkle Crankle wall somewhere in the vicinity. I was delighted to find it, and now I am on a mission to discover more if I can. What a lot of Olympic fun you are having in your corner of the world.

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  12. Hello Rosemary, This is my favorite post of yours so far. The curved wall is so interesting and attractive, and I can see how it would be useful, also, in addition to the arch-shapes adding structural support. I'm not sure if split-rail fences are used a lot in England, but in America they are everywhere, and naturally take this same zig-zag form.

    I too was apprehensive when you mentioned the gilded casements, but they look really handsome and appropriate. I still have one qualm, however, that this grand example is enough; I would not like to see these on too many buildings, so I hope that Chatsworth House doesn't start a trend.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Parnassus - no, I have not seen split-rail fences here. I have just looked them up on wikipedia. The advantage of wavy walls was that they used far fewer bricks being only a single brick in width, but also gave warmth and shelter to plants.
      I doubt if any other country houses will do the same thing as Chatsworth. We have a very strict heritage watchdog, and Chatsworth House have only restored the house to the way it was when first built. The cost is also prohibitive, I believe it is most likely a one off.
      I am pleased that you liked the post.

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  13. A mystery solved - sort of! Two of my grandchildren describe our house as the "crinkle crankle " house. I'm not sure where they heard this description and I'm even less sure of what they mean as we don't have serpentine walls. Old? Full of hidden corners? I must ask when I see them next.

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    1. Dear Nilly - Crinkle Crankle is said to derive from a local dialect in Suffolk, and that is all I know. Yes, do ask your grandchildren, and then perhaps you can let me know too. Whatever it means it is a lovely combination of words.

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  14. My first time seeing a crinkle crankle wall. Amazing structure. It must have been designed like that for each wall to capture the sun at different angles for the tall growing veggies..!!
    Chatsworth house looks stunning.
    What a wonderful adventure to go back to your roots.
    I love the gold gilted windows.. GB has some amazing properties..such wealth and beauty.
    loved the butcher's sign and the post office.
    The bouquet of white flowers so pretty.
    Thank you for this tour Rosemary.. as always i enjoy them immensley.
    val

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    1. You are spot on Val - they were designed to catch the warming sun and were historically used for growing fruit, and unusual vegetables.
      One thing that we do have in abundance for such a small country are many architectural gems. From country houses to cottages to wonderful old churches and beautiful gardens.
      The little village of Sudbury is a delightful place, a bit like going back in time. However, it is a lively modern day community like any other.

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  15. You are opening up a new world to us, Rosemary!

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    1. Hello DeVona - isn't that the wonder and joy of blogging? we can learn so much from each other. So pleased that you found this of interest - thank you.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,

    Thomas jefferson built a big serpentine wall at the University of Virginia, though I believe in his case, he was wanting a wide wall, but on a budget.

    The gilt window sills are astounding, not just as a final presentation, but even in concept! Now I'm in a funk that I can't do mine! I was even thinking when I read this posting, I wonder if I could airbrush yellows and browns to get the effect?

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    1. Dear Mark - I had heard about the one Jefferson built at the University of Virginia, but I have never seen a picture of it. I must have a look on Google, I believe that it was a very long wall.
      Yes, definitely gold window frames or sills would suit your home, and with your expertise I am sure you could achieve the right look.

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  17. I love your first shot: the open fields, rolling hills, and wildflowers. Then, the photo of the bridge, so romantically beautiful. It's amazing in this day and age that Chatsworth House is being restored and so well cared for (that is a lot of money) but I'm always thrilled when something of history and beauty is preserved.

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    1. Dear Rosemary - just to clean the stone work and gild the windows was a lot of money, and still parts of the exterior have not been finished. The interior of the house is out of this world, and in particular the central hall as you walk in, it takes your breath away.
      I took the first shot from high up - the valleys around there are very deep, but they are not obvious from the photo.

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  18. Dear Rosemary,

    what a lovely place you are coming from! THe red brick walls is something very very English in my mind and I have loved to read about the Serpentine wall ( I mean to have heard of this name, but really I had no idea what it was )

    I hope you had a marvelous time at the wedding! The flower arrangement is gorgeous!

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Demie and do hope that you have enjoyed the summer. I know from my son in Norway that the schools begin again for the Autumn very soon.
      Yes, red brick is one of the architectural styles you see here, and glad you enjoyed seeing the wall.
      The wedding went off very well - a happy day thank you, and welcome back.

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    2. Hi again! Yes indeed the schools are already starting next week ( on the 16th!) Summer goes away very fast...
      Where in Norway does your son live? ( sorry if you have told me that before I just can seem to remember it)

      Now I am going to read your new post : )

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    3. My son lives in Stavanger. He was here until last Friday, and now he has gone off with his family to a log cabin in Norway - cannot remember the name of the place. Children in England are only on their third week of the summer holidays and do not go back until the beginning of September.

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  19. Rosemary, now I want to go to Sudbury. What a treasure!I had never heard of a crinkle crankle wall before in my life. And that butcher's shop door is fantastic. Wonderful post. There are hidden treasures everywhere, aren't there?

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    1. Kate I thought that it was wonderful that the butcher's door and shutters were still as they have always been. Glad you enjoyed the post. Our main reason for visiting Sudbury was to go to Sudbury Hall, post following any moment now.

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  20. What a beautiful place to be from! Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I am always so happy to see you have stopped by.

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    1. Dear Lisa - I am always happy to visit your blog and read your beautiful poetic words.

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  21. I would love to own a crinkle crankle wall!

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