Thursday 15 September 2011

A House and a Garden in Oxfordshire

I belong to a Fine and Decorative Art Society and today we had two private visits.  In the morning a lovely home, and in the afternoon a beautiful garden.
Broughton Castle has for over six centuries been the home of the Fiennes family and is still lived in by their descendants Lord and Lady Saye and Sele. Sir Ranulph Fiennes the explorer is their second cousin, and Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, the actors, are their third cousins. The original moated manor house was built in 1300, it stands on an island surrounded by a 3 acre moat.

It is impossible to show everything, but I loved this hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in The King's bedroom dated c.1800.  Every panel is unique showing different birds, flowers, and urns.
The Ladies' Garden

After lunch at Broughton Castle we proceeded to Broughton Grange. The skeleton of the garden was Victorian, but new life has been brought to its interior by Tom Stuart-Smith, a Chelsea Gold Medal winner.
A short addendum................................
You know the story, you have read the book, and seen the film, however, the new Jane Eyre film (No.16) is compelling viewing. I am a little biased, most of it was filmed in my home county of Derbyshire. Mr. Rochester's house is Haddon Hall, which I know so well. North Lees Hall on Stanage Edge is the home of Jane's wicked aunt. The brooding Derbyshire Moors must have been filmed in late winter/early spring; go there in the summer and it is a riot of purple heather, blue skies and views for miles. Finally the only place not filmed in Derbyshire was Mr. Brocklehurst's school, Lowood, and that was filmed at Broughton Castle.  On the film it looks very dark and bleak, which as you can see it is not.  The lady who took us around today told me that the film crew blackened all of the windows to make it so.
Jane Eyre


  1. Rosemary the images of Broughton Castle are stunning! What a beautiful place. The topiary in the Ladies’ Garden almost made fall off my chair! Incredible design and brilliantly maintained.

  2. I am relieved that you did not fall off your chair Bertie - I would not like to be responsible for you hurting yourself!!! That is high praise for Broughton Castle coming from a gardener from Hidcote.

  3. Ooooh, I comment on the same blog as a gardener from Hidcote :-D Rosemary, this post is absolutely wonderful. The pictures are beautiful and give such an insight into a place so few of us will get to see. The FDA Society sounds extremely interesting...and the looks so luscious for Lowood! I bet the films makers had to filter out so much colour....thank you. As always I learn so much from your posts.

  4. Hi, Rosemary! I'm glad you aren't Anonymous anymore. Your blog is absolutely gorgeous. How do you get such great color? Speaking of color, I'm amazed at the color in the gardens at the castle. It is the end of summer, when most gardens are looking pretty scrappy. But the colors, turning gold, with a few bright flowers left, and some seed pods, are a welcome sight. Fall in the garden can be beautiful, too. love, Beth

  5. Dear Kate - the castle is closed now until next year, but they are open during May - September when they open twice a week, 3 times in July and Aug. It is absolutely charming sitting on its own little island.

  6. Hello Beth - welcome, so nice to hear from you. Yesterday was a perfect day, one of those special autumnal sunny days which helps my little camera enormously. Much of the flowering was spent, but the grasses added an etherial quality to the garden.

  7. Hello Rosemary:
    What a delightful day. We recall Broughton Castle from years ago and certainly remember looking down into the Ladies' Garden which, from your photograph, looks to be rather better maintained than in the past. The hand painted paper is positively lovely and how one would love to afford something similar.

    The garden at Broughton Grange is completely new to us and looks to be most interesting. What particularly appeals is the sense of formal structures combined, as you show here, with exuberant planting.

  8. Dear Jane & Lance - we met Lady Saye & Sele wandering around with her kitchen roll and spray cleaner. We complimented her on how beautifully kept everything was, the house sparkled and the gardens were immaculate.
    The Broughton Grange garden is only 10 years old and was designed to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding countryside - it was lovely.

  9. What a beautiful place. A fairty tale of a home. Just gorgeous. Not at all as it appeared in the film. We have differences on the film - I didn't like it because of Michael Fassbender - didn't feel he was an appropriate choice for Rochester. But the locations were wonderful.

    How fortunate you are to live among these treasures. :)

  10. Dear Yvette - so pleased you like the photos of Broughton Castle. I found it a magical place to visit.
    I agree with you about Michael Fassbender, and most critics I have read feel the same.

  11. It's a real treat to see Broughton Castle. After my love for the NeoClassic comes NeoGothic and there are so many things to admire in this posting. I love that a peachy color is used with white Gothic trim, the detail of the Chinese wallpaper, and the perfect mixture of formal and informal in the Ladies' Garden.

    I imagine outings with the art society provide a lot of inspiration!

  12. Dear Mark - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing Broughton Castle. The Long Gallery was a real surprise when we came up the stairway and saw it. It was so bright and fresh looking, with the sun streaming in through the oriel windows.
    My art society has 2 - 3 trips a year, the last one was when I went to Strawberry Hill & Syon House, London home of the Duke of Northumberland. We have a lecture every month given by the top lecturers in the country, consequently we always have a long waiting list of people wishing to join.


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