23 September 2012

(9) UK - Grimsthorpe Castle, Bourne

After the brilliant sunshine and warm weather of yesterday, it dawned cloudy and cold this morning.
Not to be daunted, we set off for Grimsthorpe Castle in Bourne, Lincolnshire - this was our last castle visit - after 3, I think one can say, not another b.....castle!

However, don't be put off by us if you really love castles - they are extremely interesting and have wonderful old/ancient! furniture. Normally very ornate as was the case hundreds of years ago.
Grimsthorpe Castle was built for a visit by Henry V111 in 1541 and is still owned by the same family although this is now in a trust. There are over 1500 privately owned houses, parks and gardens in the historic houses association and 500 of these are open to the public at various times of the year. Imagine visiting all of them!!!

The house is very symmetrical, both outside and inside and it is tastefully done. The guides in each room were very informative and proud to show off the various tapestries, thrones and furniture from the House of Lords. I loved the ceilings - very tastefully decorated and not so overly ostentatious as Burghley House where every inch was covered in either in paintings or art work.
The 35 bedrooms are all used when the family have visitors and we saw the bedroom where Prince Charles and Camilla slept when Prince William received his "wings" We can only dream of this sort of life but, then again, would we really like to be in the public eye all the time? I think not!! Naked pictures of myself would not fetch a great sum on the open market, unless for their hysterical value.
I loved the ceilings in this house - very simple, yet decorative - not like the ceilings at Burghley House that cover every square inch of space.

One gets the feeling that the Burghley House owners were very much " gotta keep up with the Jones" mentality - cover every inch with either art or paintings.
Grimsthorpe Manor seems more genteel and tasteful.
Trimming of the yew hedges and topiary continues through September. The Topiary is over 100 years old and the shapes have been trimmed and cut by various gardeners over many years. It takes over 600 hours annually to trim all the hedges with an electric trimmer! Imagine in years gone by - a full time job!

The gardens were not at their best - end of summer - but still delightful. The Vegetable garden had rows of various coloured lettuces, making an interesting display. Huge marrows, artichokes, cabbages, beans etc reminded me of my gran's veggie patch, albeit on a smaller scale. Raspberries and apple trees - all delicious when picked fresh from the garden.
The lake is huge - 50 acres and was designed by John Gundry in the 1700's. One can walk around this in approx. 1 hour but with the rain, we gave it a miss and chose to have tea and scones in the tearoom instead.

Our drive around the parkland was conducted by Chris who sports a pony-tail. He has worked for the estate for 14 years and told us where the sheep or Shetland Ponies were put to graze, showed us the mound of the old monastery - these stones were used in the castle when the monks left and there are no remains still visible, showed us the avenue of Horse Chestnut trees and the vision that they have of creating different habitats for various species. The old, dead trees are all left a provide a habitat for beatles and the disused limestone quarries now have gentian species blooming during summer. This is the furthest north that they are found.
In better weather it would have been a fabulous day as the rain did spoil it somewhat as this curtailed our walks.

© Judelle Drake

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