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.

37 comments:

  1. I have never heard of Charlecote, but what a beautiful place to visit. The white cottage at the end has stolen my heart, how I would love to live in such a house. The Tudor house is a treat to see, and I do like the portico built to honour the first Queen Elizabeth. The blue gates are unusual, but look very stylish to my eyes. Walking in the footsteps of Shakespeare is rather fun, especially with the associated story. On our first visit to the UK, I did insist that we had to go to Stratford on Avon, and we visited the associated sites and houses there. So pleased you are able to be out and about again dear Rosemary.

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    1. Dear Patricia - you must have been really close to Charlecote when you visited Stratford on Avon. The first set of gates shown uses very delicate looking ironwork that almost resembles lace. The little white cottage caught my eye too.

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  2. The double gates and fences are stunning, but I wonder why the owners selected blue?

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    1. I have no idea why the ironwork is painted blue Hels.
      This is simply a guess on my part - in ancient Egypt, the Renaissance and throughout the Middle Ages, blue, being made from lapis lazuli, was considered to be the height of luxury.

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  3. Are the griffons on the gate piers facing inwards, or was the photo taken from the inside?

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    1. Yes, I am on the inside of the park and they are facing out towards the road.

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  4. Thanks for this interesting tour, Rosemary. I can only imagine the cost of upkeep on an estate such as this. As for the young Will Shakespeare escaping to London, he might never have composed his works had he languished in gaol, but thousands of schoolchildren labouring away at the plays and sonnets might have been very grateful for that!

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    1. Our ancient craftsmen certainly knew how to build something that goes on for hundreds of years.
      If young William had not fled to London then our school curriculum would definitely be different.

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  5. Dearest Rosemary,
    One even has to admire such architectural gems from medieval times more, considering the limited tools on hand! Very well thought out, also the ha-ha fence.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - the structures that were achieved during the Middle Ages were remarkable - the cathedrals, the castles, great houses etc, and as you mentioned all built with limited tools and few resources especially when compared with what we have today.

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  6. That is a beautiful grand house, and the turrets and chimneys are very impressive, important in those days. I love the white cottage. Your photos are stunning.

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    1. Thank you Polly - I wasn't very pleased with my photos so your comment was welcome.

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  7. Hello Rosemary, I love this old house, but I am not sure that the Elizabeth portico was an improvement. It doesn't seem to complement the main house, and it smacks of name-dropping. Is the fence famous for always having been blue? It might be a modern 'designer' touch. At that, it would make an interesting research project to explore the historical paint colors of wrought iron. Perhaps, like many things, iron was more colorful in the past.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I imagine that name dropping and of course the prestige could have been the main point of the exercise. As I mentioned to Hels previously, I have no idea about the blue paint or its history. However, I believe that the wrought iron must have always been blue. All of these decorative colours are researched by conservators very thoroughly in order to keep everything authentic. I have, however, read that painting wrought iron black is actually a relatively modern thing to do.

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  8. I like the Shakespeare connection, LOL!

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    1. I didn't realise myself until I remembered that he had grown up nearby, and delved a little deeper.

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  9. What a wonderful place, beautifully explained. Never heard about the 'Ha ha' thing before.
    The third last picture is perfect, nicely framed.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and your kind comment.

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  10. That's what I liked about touring England years ago, majestic mansions, quaint villages and landscaped grounds round every new corner. Scotland is a impoverished cold desert by comparison as I soon realized on my first visits down there, seeing apples and plum orchards everywhere and at least 10 degrees warmer, even in the autumn. The rare novelty of sitting out in a country pub garden wearing only a tee shirt in the evening. Not practiced much up here at all due to frost, wind, then midges. 2 degrees above freezing at the moment here... in May!

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    1. But Bob you have your wonderful majestic mountains and magnificent lochs which I really love. However, I was amazed when I saw the Scottish weather on the TV on polling day

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  11. Thanks so much for a wonderful tour of mansion, gardens, river and charming thatched roof white house. I'm thrilled to learn about all of these details, since you have taken me on the only tour I'm likely to have of that area.

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    1. May be one day Barbara you will come over, you know what they say - never say never.

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  12. Another glorious house I'd never known about. Indeed, I'd not heard the Lucy name before but they must have been rather canny with their money to have not been either bankrupted by the visit by ERI or the continual upkeep over nearly a millennia of occupation! Is that something of a record in the UK, I wonder?

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    1. Strange as it may seem it is surprisingly not that unusual - off the top of my head and starting with the letter A I can think of Arundel Castle, Alnwick Castle, then here in a valley close to me is Berkeley Castle, in Scotland there are several - Inveraray Castle, and so the list goes on.
      The house and grounds of Charlecote are now administered by the National Trust, but the Fairfax-Lucy family still live in one of the wings of the house, which is not open to the public.

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  13. What a fine house and grounds. I often wonder how many such properties would have survived without the intervention of the National Trust.

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    1. Some people are anti-NT but I consider that they have been great saviours of our heritage including properties, landscapes, and coastlines.

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  14. What a stunning building and gorgeous landscape, I enjoyed the reading and envied you all that wonderful non polluted fresh air :-)))

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed seeing it Jane - hope all is well with you.

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  15. I've heard of Charlecote but was never able to put an image to it. Now I've seen it I do want to visit. Lovely to think that might be possible after all these months of being shut in.

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    1. Hope you manage a visit Jenny - I suppose that you do know that you have to pre-book online to gain entry. At the NT the following weeks booking visits are released online every Friday.

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  16. It's a long time in history in one family. Wonderful. They have nice family name "Lucy", sounds like Lucky.
    The building is fantastic, I like also the last photo, the cottage is cute.

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    1. I also like the name Lucy - glad you enjoyed seeing this historic building. That little cottage caught several other bloggers eye too.

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  17. What a magnificent property. I'm glad you are able to get out and visit, especially now in the spring when everything is so fresh and beautiful. The little white cottage is charming, and the stone arch bridge shows the patina of the years.

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    1. Next Monday we can actually go away for a holiday and stay in a hotel - I have almost forgotten what that feels like. We are taking a trip away and feeling strangely excited at the prospect.

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