Saturday, 15 January 2011

A bit of history


First of all, thanks for visiting and thank you to all of you who left comments....I love reading them.

Last Saturday my very dear friend S came bearing gifts.....

This beautiful bunch of yellows....very spring-like, and very cheery. S and I  have known each other for almost 18 years now and share quite a bit of history. It was so lovely to see her.

She took me out for the afternoon (sans child!!!). We visited a lovely old house that is not too far from where I live. I am passionate about architecture and the arts, and I do love a bit of history so this was the perfect place.

Imposing position on top of sweeping hill

Stable block

The house is called Temple Newsam and forms one of the most impressive estates in England, with over 1500 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown in the 1700s. It was a rather dingy day so no photos of the grounds I'm afraid, but in summer they are a delight; full of azaleas and rhododendrons.

The house got its strange name (it has never been a temple) through being given to the Knights Templar in the mid 1100s. In 1377 the house (as it was then) was given to the Darcey family by Royal Decree. Between 1500 and 1520 a Tudor manor house was built on the site and parts of this still exist today.

Temple Newsam House has been at the centre of a violent and turbulent time in history, but always associated with the crown. Henry VIII seized it from the Darceys and gave it to his niece, Margaret, Countess of Lennox. Margaret's son, Lord Darnley, would marry Mary, Queen of Scots and that opened up a whole can of political worms! Portraits of Margaret, Darnley and the previous owners, the Darceys, can be seen inside the house.  I believe a lot of them lost their heads!

Some stability was achieved when the Ingram family bought the house. It was remodelled and added to several times and it was the Ingram family (who became the Earls and Viscounts of Irvine) who commissioned Capability Brown to landscape the grounds.

The estate was bought by Leeds City Council in the 1960s and has been carefully restored and preserved so that visitors can enjoy its splendour.

I loved looking at the paintings but what I love most is the interior decor, especially fabrics and wall covering. The lighting is quite subdued (and of course, flash should never be used in these historic places) but I wanted to give you a little taste......

This was a gorgeous little bedroom that may have belonged to a young woman at one time. The draped bed was actually very small, but people were much smaller then!

Another, grander bedroom. The fabric on the chair is embroidered by hand and the wallpaper is hand-printed.

This scary chap is carved into a very ornate marble fireplace....

More sumptuous sleeping quarters.....

And I tried to get a close-up of this fabulous silk patchwork bed-cover. I imagine it might have been made from dress fabric remnants or from dresses themselves when they were outgrown or no longer in favour.

In contrast, this was a servant's bedroom, possibly used by a lady's maid or gentleman's servant as it was next to one of the very grand rooms. Very, very simple and spartan and I imagine it was a bleak and lonely place, a long way from home.....

We could have stayed for much longer, looking at the paintings and we hadn't even got started on the ceramics (another passion of mine) but it was closing time and we had to leave. Another visit is needed to get the most from this house. Next time I hope my photos are better quality!!

Little S had his first ever sleep-over guest last night and this morning I tried to restore some semblance of calm by getting out the Monopoly board. I used to love playing board games as a child, still do, and Monopoly was one of my favourites.....another bit of history right there!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! xxx


  1. We have never been but I like the look and will put it on my 'to visit' list!
    Andrea I have not forgotton about the lovely award you gave me and will post about it soon,

  2. Thanks for the tour...very nice!

  3. Ooooohhh, if you go again I hope you get a good photo of that hand embroidered chair and a close-up of that hand-printed wallpaper!! I'm drooling! I saw that pic of the servants quarters and thought, "Hmmmm... kinda looks like my bedroom now." So sad.

  4. Seems you had a lovely day.Monopoly is our fav family game too

  5. Andrea. Our afternoon out looks totally gorgeous with your stunning pictures. Lets do it again soon. 18years!!! Can't believe it!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment here - I love to read what you have to say! x