Saturday, 8 May 2021

Charlecote Park

The Lucy family have lived at Charlecote for over 950 years. The de Lucy or de Lucé  family originated in Lucé, Normandy and arrived in England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. 
The Tudor house seen today was built in 1558 by Sir Thomas Lucy to replace a much earlier property.
Sitting alongside the R. Avon Charlecote is considered to be one of the earliest of our grand Tudor houses.
The Coach House
Four of these handsome hexagonal turrets with leaded ogee cupolas and weathervanes sit at all four corners of the main house along with two more at either side of the main entrance through the coach house.

450 years ago, in 1572, Queen Elizabeth 1 stayed at Charlecote on her royal progress from Kenilworth Castle.  In order to honour her visit this stone colonnaded entrance portico showing the Queen's own heraldic arms was added to the front of the house.

A 'ha ha' surrounds the formal gardens, separating them from the Deer Park. A 'ha ha' is a recessed landscape design element which creates a vertical barrier whilst preserving an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond. A 'ha ha' also acts as a protection to the formal gardens from grazing cattle and deer within the park.  

A single arch stone bridge within the park crosses the R. Dene which then travels down a cascade to join up with the R. Avon.

Young Will, the 'Bard of Avon' grew up along this stretch of river - as a youth did he also walk these pathways? Historically it is said that in 1583 he was caught and apprehended for poaching deer in Charlecote Park by Sir Thomas Lucy himself, who also happened to be the local magistrate. He threatened William with prosecution, but young William immediately fled away to London. It is thought that Shakespeare satirised Lucy with the character of Justice Shallow, who appears in Henry 1V, Part 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Part of the boundary of the Deer Park adjoins the small village of Charlecote.  

The deer park boundaries are all fenced using traditional split-timber deer pales.