Wednesday, 16 December 2020

A Pre-Christmas Walk around a house called Baddesley Clinton

It was a bright December morning for the latest of our pre-booked/timed outings to visit the grounds and surroundings of an early Tudor architectural gem built within a moated setting.
Anglo-Saxon settlements in England started to develop during the middle of the 5th century following the fall of the Roman Empire, which ruled here for nearly 400 years. At some point a Saxon man called Baeddi, Badde or Bade, probably a farmer from the Avon Valley, drove his cattle into the ancient Forest of Arden, where he made a clearing for them to graze. The area would have been protected from predators with a large deep ditch and wooden palisades to form an enclosure. Such a clearing was known as a 'leah' or 'ley' - hence Badde's Ley. It is most likely that a homestead built from timber or stone close to the enclosure would have been added at a later date. However, although no remains of any building have ever been found it is known that Baddesley Clinton has Saxon origins. 
The entrance to the house is one of the most visually pleasing architectural ensembles in England, with its combination of bridge, moat and crenelated gatehouse. Its stone and brick work and interesting windows relate the building to various architectural periods, but all blend harmoniously together.

The house and estate were home to the Ferrers family for 500 years, and despite being short of money from time to time, it passed from father to son for 12 generations. 

The Ferrers had several of their own armorial arms installed into the windows. 

This Crown glass is a very early type of window glass. The process of making crown glass window panes was perfected by French glassmakers in the 1320s, notably around Rouen, but they kept it a trade secret. As a result, Crown glass did not appear in this country until after 1678. Modern versions of this glass seen today tend to be referred to as Bullseye or Bottle-end glass.
Although the interior of the house is currently closed to visitors, it was possible for us to enter the inner courtyard.
When this large, strong door is firmly locked, the owners must have felt totally safe and secure within........... 

..........this inner courtyard.
Several of the inner courtyard doorways featured a stone carving of a horseshoe, but why were they hanging the wrong way up? In England hanging a horseshoe facing upwards in a 'U' shape is said to keep evil out and bring good luck into your home. However, in France they hang horseshoes the other way round to allow the good luck to pour out upon those who enter beneath. 
The explanation for this must be the fact that the Ferrers family were descended from Henri de Ferrièrs, a Norman nobleman, who was Master of the Horse to William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.
Time for a brisk walk around the grounds, a picnic, then home.


Most of the trees are now bare, but there is still beauty to be seen within their sculptural structure.





45 comments:

  1. What a fascinating house you have shared with us. I am always intrigued by moats and the drama of crossing a drawbridge. Baddesley Clinton does indeed have beautiful glass windows, well preserved despite their great age. The facade in the Inner Courtyard is so pretty, set off by the garden. One can imagine Tudor ladies walking there in their wimples!

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    1. I can now share your vision of the Tudor ladies in the inner courtyard Patricia.

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  2. What magnificent trees, and a fantastic house structure with it's moat and beautiful courtyard. Thanks for taking this walk for us.

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing Baddesley Clinton Barbara.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, No wonder rich Americans (and other foreigners) keep going to England to buy old estates like this. It has everything--beauty, history, and scenery. The only feature I find doubtful is that moat, which we talked about before. Not only is there the dampness factor, but there would be a danger factor too if anyone or anything fell in.

    The name of the house reminded me of the popular actress Hermione Baddeley, and a quick Wikipedia check told me that her birth name was Hermione Clinton-Baddeley, which must be connected somehow with this estate.
    --Jim
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I too looked up Hermione on the internet, but could find no clues as to her ancestry.

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  4. Dear Rosemary,
    Never have Christmas wreaths looked more beautiful. Those ancient doors are providing just the right background color and texture.
    The correct position of the horseshow will be debated for a long time.

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    1. Dear Gina - it was lovely to find that the house had been dressed ready for the Christmas season.

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  5. I love all the wreaths on those ancient wooden doors, and the info about English/French horseshoe placement -- fascinating! I just learned this week that the progenitor of my family name was a Norman knight's squire who was rewarded with a small landholding after the Norman Conquest.

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    1. That is very interesting to learn about your family name - hope you can learn more. I have some French in me from my grandmother whose maiden name was Jacques. Her ancestors came over here during the persecution of the Huguenots during the 16th century.

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  6. Dearest Rosemary,
    Wow, that was a treat for visiting and walking there!
    You enjoyed a clear blue sky and that helps for the view and for the excellent photos.
    Quite a history behind this and one only can wonder what could have been there in the 5th century.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - it was a great day out - blue skies, sunshine, a lovely historic house - we returned home refreshed and happy to have been out for the day in a safe environment.

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  7. Beautiful shots! You can really feel the history of the place.

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  8. Such a beautiful place and your photos are stunning. Hopefully one day we will manage to visit. Glad you had a perfect winters day for your visit. B x

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    1. A day out like this does great things for uplifting your spirits this year.

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  9. A nice morning/early afternoon get-a-way before I continue with my Christmas preparations, Rosemary! I, too, love that evergreen wreath on that entrance door with all that forged iron! I'm afraid that we might get to that place in time where we, too, might want our houses protected so mightily. I hope not. The trees with their sculptural structure is perfectly descriptive phrase for such fine specimens! Whenever I want to draw a tree, I'm never quite adept at getting those upward branches looking natural, yet these in your photo seem perfect! How lucky you were able to enjoy all the gems and sunshine to boot!

    Mary in Oregon

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    1. If ever I designed my own house, it would definitely have an inner courtyard. It is a feature that I admire and like.

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  10. Thank you for the tour! What's not to love about the history and this house? The moat, the cookie-cutter chimney tops, the courtyard - and the framed Xmas tree in the arch!, the leaded twinkling glass ... Another jewel-box to explore one day. xx

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    1. I do hope that one day you will have the chance to explore this property, and at another time, hopefully, you would also have the chance to visit the interior too.

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  11. Thank you, What a wonderful historic house.

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  12. Fascinating is that glass.
    Decorations too for Christmas including the Christmas Tree - lovely garden for your winter.
    Bet it was lovely to get out and about and to see this house.
    Take care.

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  13. What an amazing building , immediately fell in love with the heavy and strong oak ( I think ) door and the windows with the Crown glass !

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    1. I loved that Crown glass and the doors too Jane.

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  14. Magnificent - the house and grounds, your story of the history, and of course your lovely photos making each of us wish we could have walked there with you both!

    I love the glass art on the windows, the doors with wreaths (photo#2 is awesome), the wine and oyster boxes, the squash and fuzzy throw . . . . . . but can imagine the dampness from the moat! The inner courtyard is so lovely - I especially love the small diamond effect beds which I'm sure will bloom with roses come next summer.

    Thank you dear Rosemary - love to you both and hope that we walk again together some day, somewhere.

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    1. The diamond effect beds in the inner courtyard are filled with yellow and red flowers throughout the summer representing the severn lozenges on the Ferrers family coat of arms.
      It is very strange to think that this house has sat in deep water for hundreds of years, but the walls do not have a damp appearance and there is no impression of dampness when you are inside the property either.
      It is my impression that our medieval builders both here and in Europe too were pretty smart, and that is why so many of our ancient buildings still stand today.

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  15. It's a beautiful place, I have not seen or hear of crown glass before, it's very beautiful. Lovely pictures, thanks for bringing this lovely post together.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing Baddesley Clinton Betty - that Crown glass is really lovely and it really sparkled in the sunlight

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  16. I thoroughly enjoyed my virtual tour through this property with all the striking architectural details. The crown glass window is an idea that is new to me, and I would think that the light shining through to the inside of the house would be beautiful. I often wonder how damp a house would be situated in a moat.

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    1. Hello Lorrie - Mary mentioned the same thing, but there was no sign of any dampness up the walls outside which you would have thought may have been covered in moss having sat in the deep water for hundreds of years. I have been inside and you do not get the impression of any dampness in there either.

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  17. Good history and I like the veg display. I only discovered recently why glass windows changed from the 1950s through to the 1990s as they developed new ways to create much larger sheets. Even in the 1950s porthole opaque windows on side walls and shoe box or pillow sized clear planes in front and back were common in new builds. You tend to forget just how much glass has evolved relatively recently, in the modern era.

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    1. The best glass that I have around our home is the roof of our conservatory. It uses a special glass developed by Pilkington's that self cleans itself. It is great and still sparkles like new even though the conservatory is over 10 years old.

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  18. Hello, Rosemary. I’m so attracted by the house’s architectural beauty with interesting details. I remember the talk about horseshoe hanging in your past post but was forgetting which way was English or French. The house standing in a moat, I simply wonder what would become of it in the time of torrential rains. Bare trees are beautiful soaring freely to the sky without any leafy ornaments.

    Yoko

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    1. Hello Yoko - there would be no problem with the water levels in the moat whatever the weather. The outer walls of the moat will have overflow pipes all the way around at an appropriate level. If there was torrential rain the water would run out of the overflow pipes, travel underground before entering one of the many streams, the river, or the lake to be found within the estate grounds.

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  19. Beautiful picture. I especially like the huge wooden door with the wreath.

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  20. I can move in next week :) That's for sure! That's my kind of house :)
    Have a lovely sunday and take care now!
    Titti

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    1. I will happily share it with you Titti - half for you and half for meX




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  21. Wonderful place and amazing photos.
    Wish you Merry Christmas. Hyvää Joulua.
    Take care.
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment. Happy Christmas to you too, be safe and take care💚

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