Sunday 19 July 2020

Deorham

Walking down this very steep driveway leads to a valley that was once known as Deorham, an Anglo Saxon place name given to what is now called Dyrham.
The Battle of Deorham was fought here in AD 577 between the West Saxons under Ceawlin and his son Cuthwine, and the Britons of the West Country. The outcome of the battle was a decisive win for the West Saxons, allowing them to colonise three important cities - Glenvum (Gloucester), Corinium (Cirencester), and Aquae Sulis (Bath). Losing these three major cities was a huge blow to the Romano British. 
During the 17th century, Sir George Wynter, owned a deer park here, a farm and a Tudor manor house, but as he neared the end of his life he was suffering severe financial difficulties. However, his daughter Mary, who was his heiress, married William Blathwayte, and he took over the estate following the death of her father in 1689. William was the Secretary at War to William lll (William of Orange) and as a result of his strong royal connections, Blathwayte filled Dyrham with furniture, delftware and fine pictures that had a strong Dutch influence. The collection, which is still within the house, includes several very large delftware tulip vases which were designed and made during the period referred to as 'tulip mania'. 
vase courtesy V&A tulips added by Rosemary
It's a long steep walk down into the valley but well worth the effort.
The fine 17th century baroque house seen today was designed for William Blathwayte by William Talman, who was also the architect of Chatsworth House. However, interestingly, the house still retains much of its Tudor origins hidden away at its core.
Almost hidden from view on the lefthand side of the house is a very attractive attached Orangery and,
on the righthand side, but within the grounds, is the local parish church. 
Both the house and the church are Grade 1 listed.
The church and this western view of the house would have been the first sight that visiting guests would have seen as they arrived at Dyrham. The  west side of the house was designed by a different architect, a relatively obscure Huguenot named Samuel Hauduroy, completed in 1694.
But it is now time to tackle the climb back out of the valley - next week we are travelling to the northern edge of the Cotswolds to visit one of the best known and influential Arts and Crafts garden in Britain.

43 comments:

  1. Dearest Rosemary,
    Wow, that steep walk down proved to be a very worthwhile one!
    Great architecture and that Victoria & Albert museum piece of a Delft Blue tulip vase is stunning. You filled it up well!
    Again, your thumbnail on my sideline does not show - neither does mine about Wat Arun...? Strange behavior for the new Blogger!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Rosemary, did go back to legacy blogger and did upload the first photo anew, now it shows. Strange behavior.

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    2. Dear Mariette - I think that you would enjoy the interior of Dryham filled with so many treasures from your homeland.
      I have just tried doing the same trick as you, and it appears that you have found the answer to the conundrum - well done. Blogger still has a long way to go until everything is properly resolved.

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    3. Dearest Rosemary,
      No doubt I would enjoy the interior!
      Glad it worked for you as well. Indeed Blogger needs to improve a LOT.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

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  2. Another fine house that I'd never even heard of! One often hears of these great mansions holding an older dwelling within them and it always makes me wonder what the living arrangements were while construction was taking place; did the family go on living in the midst of a building site, or did they take to the road and impose on family and friends for the entire duration of the project? Some of these places must have taken several years to complete - and then you had to fill them with furniture!

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    1. Dryham is in the southern Cotswold - just a few miles outside Bath.
      I agree that it is strange that hundreds of years ago properties were updated over existing ones. I know that many of our streets that are lined with Georgian style houses are actually just a brick veneer covering up the fronts of hidden Tudor properties.

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  3. A very steep walk indeed! Which I assume adds to the drama of the house. What a gorgeous place. I would really love to see a big English country house someday. Thank you for the history lesson about it too.

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    1. You must come over Catherine once this wretched virus is over. The best way to enjoy many of these houses is to join the National Trust, they have enough properties to visit up and down the whole country for hundreds and hundreds of visits.
      Glad you enjoyed the bit of history - sometimes I get carried away with it, but hopefully endeavour to keep it reasonably short and to the point

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    2. I promise, there is absolutely nothing I would love more. ;-))

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  4. Dear Rosemary,
    This was a most enjoyable read. Your photos are so special. How interesting that the flower beds have gone to a more natural arrangement. Everything about this place is so charming. How lucky we, the readers of your blog, are to have you take us to these wonderful places.

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    1. Unfortunately the early summer herbaceous borders are slowly coming to their close and soon they will be making way for the next crop of late summer flowers.
      Thank you so much for your kind comment Gina, I am glad that you enjoyed the visit and the read๐Ÿ’š

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  5. Blathwayte certainly knew which side of the bread his butter was on and he laid it on thick.

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    1. I appears that he was well rewarded for his services.

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  6. Hello Rosemary, Another gem of a house--I love its dignity. I would be intrigued to see some of the Tudor remains, and how they contrast with the newer sections. Houses are often updated to various degrees, and when I look at old photos, it is often a real puzzle whether it is a newer house built in a slightly old-fashioned style, or an older house that was updated.
    --Jim
    p.s. I should be keeping track of all these new Blogger tricks. I hope to be posting again soon, and I am sure that I will need all of them!

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    1. Hello Jim - yes, I am sure that you will have no problems with new Blogger especially if you leave it until the last minute. Surely they will have ironed out all of the problems by then.
      I have been inside this property, and I must say that it is seamless. I have no idea just where the new begins or the old ends. Having said new, the new has now been around for over 300 years.

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  7. I ha a friend who had an apartment there once. Very grand. You can still just about make out the formal parterre garden on the front lawn from a plane.

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    1. It must be lovely to be able to fly over Dryham and see it from the air.

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  8. So many great buildings and estates down in England to visit. That is one thing we lack up here as I've done them all within a day's drive in the Central Belt and there's not that many. Didn't have the rich farmlands, longer growing seasons, or the real wealth of steady income over generations that the south still has to this day.

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    1. There must have been some very wealthy individuals to be able to build themselves such grand houses.

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  9. Fascinating, as always, Rosemary and well worth your walk.

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  10. Magnificent building and what a view from the top of the hill.
    How handy it must have been to have a church attached, bit like having a chapel inside the house.
    Take care.

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    1. The way that we walked in would have been far too steep for any horse and carriage arrivals. The little church nestles comfortably besides the grand mansion.

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  11. The level of wealth required to construct and maintain these extravagant homes defies imagination, as does the income disparity between the few extremely rich and the impoverished majority. They are, nevertheless, an evocative reminder of England's past. The countryside through which you rambled seems like a journey through the eyes of Thomas Hardy. At the end of a day spent there I would have gone to bed euphoric. Perhaps you did too, Rosemary.

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    1. I certainly retired happily having enjoyed a good walk in these beautiful surroundings on such a lovely day. I think that we all need little moments of escapism currently.

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  12. It is always a pleasure to visit a beautiful country house via your blog Rosemary. Durham is very elegant and sits beautifully in the landscape. So unexpected to approach down a steep drive. The flower garden is a delight and the tulip vase quite amazing. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hello Patricia - the driveway down was probably added during the early 20th century when more roads were built to support the new craze of driving motor vehicles. The main entrance to the house was in the valley from the western side of the house as guest would have arrived then by horse and coach.
      Glad you enjoyed and hope all is well with you.

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  13. How beautiful....and so well preserved. That is a magnificent tree in the last shot.

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  14. Dryham is a beautiful house and the first views of the house and church would impress visitors as they approached. The tulip vase is a most interesting and unique piece. We tend to arrange flowers more naturally these days, don't we? Tim and I talk about where we will travel next, once this pandemic is resolved, and England, with all the lovely gardens, parks, churches, and homes is high on the list. We did enjoy our time in the Cotswolds 4 years ago.

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    1. The tulip vases were created especially to show them off to visitors and guests as only the wealthy could afford tulips. During 'Tulip Mania' in the 17th century one tulip bulb would cost more than the yearly salary of an unskilled labourer, and a really good tulip bulb could cost the equivalent of a house.
      It is difficult to make any travel plans - I keep hearing warnings that this virus could be around for years. There is so much uncertainty and so many unknowns surrounding this wretched virus.

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  15. All so beautiful and obviously it was a perfect sunny summer's day for your latest outing. The third photo with the English countryside in the distance made me catch my breath - oh to have such stunning view!

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    1. We are fortunate to have many places that we can visit which are practically on our doorstep. As time keeps passing by, I am appreciating that fact more than every before. Love to you both.

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  16. What a divine little tour! Thank you Rosemary. We had plans to visit Chatsworth on the trip to the UK that never happened this May, so I recognised the architectural similarities straight away. I see from Tom's comment above that this house is now apartments. If I lived there, I'd become a church-goer just for the sheer pleasure of using all the "amenities"! ... Those Delftware tulipieres are wild!

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    1. I am sorry that you were unable to fulfil your visit here this year - hopefully you can at sometime in the future.
      It's a very long time ago that this property was used as apartments, and I believe that it was also used by refugees following the Second World War. It has now been in the hands of the National Trust for well over 60 years. Today it now looks much the same as when it was owned by Blathwayte, filled with his Dutch furniture, paintings, and treasurers. During normal times you can visit the inside of the house, but due to the virus the interior is currently closed.

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  17. Hello, Rosemary. What great views of the area. The views of the beautiful architecture standing in harmony with nature (#3 and 5) are worth seeing enough but the steep walk would make visitors feel pleased a lot more. I was glued to “… Sir George Wynter, owned a deer park here,….” What has become of deer? I hope in this valley, herds of deer grazing or resting under the trees still now like those in Nara Park and its surrounding nature. Take care.

    Yoko

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    1. Hello Yoko - the deer are still there, but they are wild, and stay away from the visitors. They are Fallow deer and about 200 of them. We saw four or five galloping through the trees - too quick for me to catch with my lens. The Anglo Saxon word Deorham actually means deer.

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  18. In this uncertain time with the corona virus still around, you are right traveling as much as you can now that it is possible, we don't know what will happen when the cooler weather sets in. England is so rich with history , castles and gorgeous landscapes, every opportunity should be used.

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    1. You are right Jane - I feel very safe and happy out of doors, but the coming winter may feel extremely long this year to us all with the overhanging threat from the virus.

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