Saturday, 14 August 2021

Broughton Castle.........

.........is a fortified medieval manor house in the northern Cotswolds which romantically sits in the middle of a moated island.  The original manor house, much of which still remains today, was built in 13oo. It is the family home of the 21st Lord and Lady Saye & Sele whose family name is Fiennes. Members of their extended family being Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer, and Ralph & Joseph Fiennes, the actors. 

The fact that the same family have lived in the house for over 700 years is clearly reflected in the atmosphere when you enter. With its great chambers, parlours, attics and knot garden, the house is very welcoming and comfortable. 

The owners are not 'precious' about their belongings. If Lady Saye & Sele, who incidentally is 90years old, is around, she will help small children try on the small leather body armour seen hanging along this corridor. 

I suspect that these fresh water clam shells may have been found in their moat. Moats were not only for protection, but were also a very important source of fresh food hundreds of years ago.

Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James 1, and mother of Charles 1, stayed at Broughton in 1608 with the King and their 14 year old son Prince Henry.

The bedroom she used still retains its original 14th c mullioned windows along with the original box pattern glass.

The view from the bedroom window shows a timeless pastoral English landscape.
The King's Chamber has a bold modern bed designed in a contemporary oriental style. The walls are decorated with Chinese handpainted paper which is in wonderful condition even though it has sat on these walls for well over 300+ years. May be there is a lesson for us all here regarding sustainability!!!

Every feature painted onto the paper is totally unique, nothing is repeated.

We climbed the winding stone stairway to the very top of the house and clambered out onto the rooftop. This gave a great overview of the surrounding area, and the walled knot garden clipped in an attractive fleur-de-lys design.

I loved this hanging oriel window, and the pretty juliet balcony. It was in this area that we met and spoke to Lady Saye & Sele, she was busily deadheading the roses. She is a delightful, friendly lady, who chatted to us for some time. She then bid us farewell and hastened quickly across the lawns to check on her husband. He was sitting beneath one of the very large trees sheltering from the bright sunlight. He will be 101 years old next month. They are a remarkable couple.

We had our visiting family with us which made it an even more extra special day out for us all.


40 comments:

  1. This was obviously a visit to remember from many standpoints, Rosemary. The hand-painted decorations on the wall are nothing short of magnificent and give me ideas of what I might do in our bedroom which is due for a once over! "Checking on her husband who is 101 years old" - I wonder how many of you ladies will be doing that for us! If the agèd gentleman is sheltering from the sun now, and given the way in which the Earth is heating up, we will be frying by the time we attain that age!

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    1. I am becoming ever more grateful David that I live in a country with a temperate climate. The current fires in much of southern Europe, California, and Siberia are really alarming - what have we done to our beautiful planet?

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  2. That wallpaper is amazing, not least because of its age and condition. It is strange to think of a castle being made cosy by the family.

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    1. The interior of the castle is delightful - it is called Broughton Castle but really it is a manor house.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, It is so much more interesting to visit a "live" house. The inhabitants give it an air of vitality and welcome that no amount of "they just left the room a few minutes ago" staging can ever do. And that is added to the fact that it is an exceptionally handsome building, and apparently kept in beautiful condition.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - it is a very handsome building which we all found to be very pleasing. It does make a difference to the ambience of a property when it is lived in and cared for by people who love it.

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  4. What a great castle with live residents, and I'm so thrilled you met the Lady. Your photos are excellent. That wall paper is art, no doubt about it. And the bed it pretty interesting too! Thanks so much for taking me on this tour!

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    1. It was the cherry on the cake for us to meet and spend time with Lady Saye & Sele. She was so sprightly and interesting and not at all like a 90year old.

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  5. Dearest Rosemary,
    Wow, what an exceptional thing to find Broughton Castle with its current owners!
    You were so lucky for being able to speak with Lady Saye & Sele and seeing her almost 101 years old husband!
    Those clam shells hopefully did not come from the moat... Back then it was smelly stagnant water that also functioned as their sewer system. Guess nowadays they will work with a septic tank inside said moat.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette,
      When it came to sanitation in medieval times things were truly disgusting. The link between sewerage and disease wasn’t even made until the c18th. Medieval people remained blissfully ignorant about the health consequences of poor toilet hygiene. No hot showers, shampoo or deoderant and most people had lice and nits.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,
    I love reading about Lords and Ladies and how they lived and still live.

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    1. Dear Gina - I wish that you could have been with us and met her, I am sure that you would have been as entranced by her as we were.

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  7. What a treat that must have been. Amazing that the Lord and Lady have had such a long life.
    I like wallpaper which has not been in fashion for awhile, but is thankfully coming back.

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    1. The handpainted Chinese wallpaper is a remarkable survival.

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  8. Thank you, you have reminded me of a beautiful place we visited many years ago when our children were very small. I have fond memories of that visit. Your photos are stunning and I love that wall paper. The colours are still so vibrant. B x

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    1. I too visited here many years ago, but it was new to my husband and the rest of the family that were with us.

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  9. Smashing building. The food aspect of a moat was something I've never really considered yet it seems so obvious now. You tend to label things- 'defensive'... moat in this case and not really think beyond that unless you are there in person. Plus still water tends to be green now in summer with algae or weeds unless it's removed.

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    1. Moats had fish and eels in them along ducks and swans etc all of which provided the owners with food.

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  10. What a fabulous home! You had quite the treat on your day out, dear Rosemary, in so many ways. I particularly love the ceiling in the Great Hall (?) - and such a light-filled room, too, when castle rooms are usually so dark - and the glorious wallpaper. Queen Anne looked like she was totally loving her frizzy 'do!

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    1. The elaborate plaster work ceiling in the Great Hall was probably added around the time of the visit from the King. The room is very light because it has three enormous floor to ceiling windows in the alcoves. Queen Anne's hair reminds me of a 1960s bouffant.

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  11. Thank you, Rosemary. What a wonderful property. When you mention the moat being used for food I gather that dovecotes were for the same reason. I "googled" Lord and Lady Saye and Sele and they look a delightful couple.

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    1. When Lord Saye & Sele was a very young army officer his regiment was the first to discover the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and liberate the survivors. I found a video of him talking about the horrors of it.

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  12. What a place to be able to call home! From what I've read purely defensive moats are few and far between; most of them acted more as fish farms and a reservoir to water animals or put out fires, as well as being something of a status symbol. It looks a charming place to visit.

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    1. If every you are near Banbury it is a place that is well worth a visit.

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  13. It certainly is interesting to see and a place still called 'home'.
    The garden is looking good and that wallpaper is amazing being there for all those years.
    Take care Rosemary and certainly a good day out with family.

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    1. We loved our visit to this lovely house and garden Margaret.

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  14. How lovely to visit this grand house while its resident's continue to live there. It looks so inviting with its many delightful details: the gorgeous white ceiling in the parlour, the wallpaper which is divine, the box bedroom windows, and the oriel window all caught my eye. What a wonderful couple they are (I googled them too). Thank you for sharing it all with us.

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    1. I do think that they are a rather special couple - I have mentioned in another comment that Lord Sayle & Sele was a very young army officer who was in the regiment that first discovered the Belsen Concentration Camp which they liberated.

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  15. What a lovely castle! What a lovely garden! Thanks for sharing this with us Rosemary...
    LOVE from Titti

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    1. Dear Titti - we love visiting this wonderful building and garden, and I am pleased that you too enjoyed seeing it - take careX

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  16. I enjoyed reading this post so much Rosemary that I forwarded to Bob and he in turn sent it along to several people! The rich history both of place and family is amazing.
    I learned something I never knew about moats and the way they supplied food to the manor's residents - although I doubt I would have been able to bring myself to eat anything I could see swimming past my mullioned bedroom window!
    Such a fun day out for you and the family - so happy you get to see these lovely historic places, and thanks again for sharing with us who are stuck home looking at the same old scenery!!
    Hugs, Mary

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    1. I love this building, its surroundings, and garden Mary and I am pleased that you and Bob enjoyed seeing it too.
      I must admit that until this Pandemic I really hadn't appreciated just how fortunate we are to have so many places to visit here on our own doorstep.

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  17. What a wonderful post, your photos are very beautiful. Quite the best knot garden I think I have seen, and a visit is planned! What impressive ages both the owners are, it is obviously beneficial to live somewhere beautiful.
    I have hankered after a room decorated with Chinese wallpaper for many years and occasional check it out online. Only the price is holding me back!

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    1. Dear Rosemary - do go if you get the opportunity I am sure that you would really love this medieval manor house too.
      You are right I rather think that having a room today done in a similar Chinese paper would look very appealing.

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  18. I love visiting these homes vicariously through your posts. The grand sitting room with the red furniture looks both grand and welcoming, a difficult mix to achieve. The knot garden is so well kept and what a special treat to chat with the Lady of the house.

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing this lovely manor house Lorrie which made for a memorable day out with some of our family. I am now getting ready for more family coming to stay next week.

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  19. This is really lovely castle.

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