Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snowshill Manor and Garden

Snowshill Manor, a traditional house, but only on the outside.
This was not what we were expecting.  I don't know how we could have been prepared for this, even after reading the blurb in the guide book.  Walking up to the house, we skirted around the apple orchard, then on up the hill to the main entrance.  A lovely manor house, with a huge mulberry tree to one side, flowers in bloom in the beds which line the walls.  Everything seemed normal.  (Cue eerie music upon entering.)
Apples in abundance on the trees.  Later in the year, they will be for sale.

Lots of blue flowers, this one is a globe thistle.

Purple/blue allium, for a little change.

The Wade family motto was "Let Nothing Perish", so Charles Wade spend his life and inherited wealth collecting things he thought were beautiful.  Some were ordinary everyday objects, others rare and extraordary.  He was also a skilled craftsman who repaired items not in perfect condition as well as making things, from wood carvings to an entire Cornish fishing village, in miniature, to go around his fish pond!
Bone carvings made by French prisoners during some war with England.

Full suit of armor, with a selection of helmets.

Bicycles hanging from the ceiling.  There were also bicycles below them on the floor and some were hanging on the walls, too.

The house is full of his collections.  In fact, he bought the house specifically to house his treasures.  He restored the house from a semi-derelict state, trying to keep true to the time periods when each part was built.  He lived in a small cottage on the property, where he also had his workshop right next to the kitchen, in case he needed a cup of tea.
One small corner of the musical instrument room.

Lost a key?

A room full of things.  The writing around the walls was made by Mr. Wade.

The rooms are fairly dark, not a lot of electric lights, at Mr Wade's instruction, nor are there labels. He wanted a sense of mystery and discovery.   Bill took photos without the flash, and surprisingly, most of them turned out.  There were docents in the rooms to answer questions.  They were all very friendly and helpful, even answering the odd ones with a smile.  The National Trust does a good job training their docents.
Every sort of spinning wheel imagineable.  He also had a loom that was used to weave the coronation robes of
King George VI.

The string instrument corner of the music room.
St George and the Dragon made into a clock on the outside of the cottage.
The Wade Family Crest.
All of the items were in fairly good condition.  Mr Wade was skilled at repairing and rebuilding.  If something wasn't quite right, he fixed it.  All of the items were purchased from local antique dealers, out of people's barns and houses; wherever he found them.  He did not travel to collect, although he did own property in the Caribbean where the family money came from.
Mr Wade donated his collection, the Manor and Gardens to the Trust a few years before he died.  His wife. who lived 40 years more, was allowed to continue living in the little cottage, but decided instead to live in a hotel in London.  Perhaps it just wasn't the same without her eccentric husband.
In his garden with a hillside behind.

Roof of the priest's cottage where Mr. Wade lived while filling up his Manor house.

Home grown tomatoes.

I think we may have to go again.  There is so much to see in every nook and cranny, that one could visit several times and still not see it all.  Wow!
A Whirly-gig made in the mid-1800's.  I want Bill to make me one.

Walking back through the parking lot we saw this Austin 6 from the 1930's.  Fit right in with the house.

Isn't this a beautiful headlight?

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