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Chastleton House- a Jacobean Gem

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Chastleton House is a beautiful gem of a home just waiting to be discovered, sitting quietly rather like a grand old lady who has slid into genteel poverty but refusing to give up the grandeur of her youth. Nestled between fields and rolling hills Chastleton has a wonderful history and the feel of a place you could love and feel at home in .A Jacobean country house situated at Chastleton, Oxfordshire, England, close to Moreton-in-Marsh.

There are none of the usual things for sale at Chastleton, no tea shop or gift shop however there are sprawling beautiful Jacobean gardens with trees as old as 400 years for you to enjoy a picnic and the church next door does a wonderful job of providing tea and cake at weekends by volunteers to raise money for its upkeep. A secondhand book ‘shop’ is situated in the house alongside home grown produce so there are still mementos for you to explore and enjoy.

The land Chastleton sits on and the previous house that stood was owned by Robert Catesby, leader of the Gunpowder Plot but Walter Jones purchased the property in 1602, and construction started on the new building and by 1612 it was complete. 

In 1651 Arthur Jones, the grandson of the man who bought the house from Catesby, fought alongside Charles I at the Battle of Worcester. After their defeat, Jones fled to the house and, with Cromwell’s men in hot pursuit, hid in a secret room over the porch.

Having found Arthur’s exhausted horse in the stable, the Commonwealth soldiers thought that they had their man cornered and demanded supper and a bed from Jones’s wife, Sarah. She drugged their ale with laudanum, and, while they slept, Arthur escaped on one of his enemies’ horses.

Arthur Jones celebrated the Restoration by planting two oak trees at Chastleton which still survive. 

Chastleton has passed down the  branches of the same family, twice passing sideways to distant cousins in its 400 years history, before going into the protection of the National Trust in 1991.

One of the treasures here is the The Juxon Bible , one of a set of fifty ‘chapel bibles’ printed in 1629 and it  is said to have been used by King Charles I in his last days and most likely the bible that William Juxon, the Bishop of London, read from to Charles I on the morning of his execution in 1649.The bible was handed down through Bishop Juxon’s family at Little Compton (a manor located one mile from Chastleton), until his line died out in the late 18th century,and then found its way to Chastleton House. 

The house is made up of authentically furnished and restored Jacobean and Tudor rooms, which, whilst work has been done to restore and preserve unlike many other houses, this restoration has  left a building that seems  still a home and friendly not ostentatious.  The floors bend and buckle with ancient  timber, and you cant help but wonder at the feet that once trod the same piece that you  can now stand on. This upper floor chambertknown as the  long gallery occupies the entire length of the house. Here the roof is, unusually, barrel-vaulted, and beautiful plasterwork adorns every square inch of the ceiling. Unfortunately there is also evidence of the deathwatch beetle that has eaten away the fabric of the house over the centuries!

In the kitchens, which were in use until the 1950s, and you see the fairly primitive conditions in which food was prepared for hundreds of years here the blackened grime of centuries on the ceiling of the kitchens the evidence of local lore that an early resident declared that it was bad luck to clean kitchen ceilings, so it was never scrubbed or touched! 

In the beautiful gardens there are always croquet sets set out for you to play with and enjoy the game where here at Chastleton in 1865 the rules of lawn croquet were first codified. 

A wander around Chastleton is a foray into the past with a chance to take a deep breath and allow the air of tranquility to settle into your soul.






I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Travel

The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree?

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Summer is definitely the period when everyone is creating lists, this was created by Fbm Holidays  and are in fact two different lists, one for the towns and one for  villages.

Some of the places chosen are quite predictable, others less so. For example, at the first place in the list of villages we have Castle Combe which is a quite obvious choice, at second place instead is Portmeirion, a village that seems to have been transported from Liguria to Wales but is less known.

The lists don’t include anywhere in Scotland which instead has several rather lovely places.

The prettiest villages in the UK

Castle Combe , Cotswolds, Wiltshire

Portmeirion , Gwynedd

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Altruistic’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Bibury , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Polperro, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Llanberis, Gwynedd

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Hathersage, Top Area, Derbyshire

The prettiest towns in the UK

Keswick , Lake Area, Cumbria (pictured above)

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Salcombe , Devon

Cirencester , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Bamburgh , Northumberland

Whitby , North Yorkshire

Rye, East Sussex

Bakewell, Optimal Area, Derbyshire

Aberaeron, Ceredigion

Burford , Cotswolds, Oxfordshire

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Travel

The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree?

Published

on

The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree? thumbnail

Summer is definitely the period when everyone is creating lists, this was created by Fbm Holidays  and are in fact two different lists, one for the towns and one for  villages.

Some of the places chosen are quite predictable, others less so. For example, at the first place in the list of villages we have Castle Combe which is a quite obvious choice, at second place instead is Portmeirion, a village that seems to have been transported from Liguria to Wales but is less known.

The lists don’t include anywhere in Scotland which instead has several rather lovely places.

The prettiest villages in the UK

Castle Combe , Cotswolds, Wiltshire

Portmeirion , Gwynedd

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Altruistic’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Bibury , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Polperro, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Llanberis, Gwynedd

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Hathersage, Top Area, Derbyshire

The prettiest towns in the UK

Keswick , Lake Area, Cumbria (pictured above)

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Salcombe , Devon

Cirencester , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Bamburgh , Northumberland

Whitby , North Yorkshire

Rye, East Sussex

Bakewell, Optimal Area, Derbyshire

Aberaeron, Ceredigion

Burford , Cotswolds, Oxfordshire

 

 

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Travel

Conwy in Wales, from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution

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Conwy in Wales, from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution thumbnail

Conwy in Wales has a medieval castle and other buildings reminiscent of that period, but also boasts two bridges both of which are innovative projects typical of the boom in engineering projects that developed with the Industrial Revolution.

If you are in North Wales, which has also been very trendy lately, don’t miss the beautiful town of Conwy. on the estuary of the River Conwy. It has several sights and even a UNESCO heritage site. Edward I founded the town of Conwy in North Wales, between 1283 and the 1289 on the site of the ancient Cistercian abbey of Aberconwy, which was founded by Llewellyn the Great like many other princes of Gywnedd. At the beginning the town was called Conway.

The monks and the Abbey were transferred to Maenan by Edward I in the 1307 when the king decided to build a castle and demolish the abbey to have more space.

The remains of a 12th century abbey church are located inside the walls north of St Mary’s church.Additionally, there is All Saints Church, which now serves as Conwy’s parish church.

As part of its strategy to subdue the Welsh , Edward I increased the population of his new city with British colonists and issued an edict forbidding the natives from entering the settlement.

The port which is protected from the elements and used as a port to supply the goods to the castle, as well as a place of refuge and for fishing.

 

Conwy Castle

But the thing that you notice immediately in Conwy is the castle, which was the most expensive of the fourteen magnificent defensive castles designed and built by the architect and mason Master James of St. George, ordered by Edward I. A

The castle was built on top of a  rocky promontory, surrounded by the river on two of its sides, with the purpose of defending the city, subduing the Welsh and guarding the entrance to the city

Initially, the rectangular-shaped castle was built with an outer and inner wall and the walls were 5 metres thick. There were also four towers and a drawbridge, in short, the typical medieval castle.

Both the interior and the exterior of Conwy Castle have changed over the centuries. The castle was captured by the British, then by the Welsh and finally by the British in the War of the Roses.

It was badly damaged during the English Civil War in 1600 .

Conwy Castle was sold by Charles II to the third Viscount Conway, who subsequently stripped the castle of timber, roof and metal, leaving it in ruins. Note that the four Welsh castles built by Edward I of England are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site or Globe Heritage Website. These are Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and Harlech Castle.

The Conwy Walls

Conwy Community Walls, which surround and protect the city of Conwy. Admission is free and the doors are always open. They were completed as part of the castle defences in the year 1286.

The walls, high 10 meters and over two meters thick, extend for three over a kilometre. For their age, they appear to be in relatively good condition and are among the best medieval walls to be found in the UK.

The city walls themselves were also connected to the castle by a series of tunnels. There were only three doors, all easily defended with double towers, one on each side.

Originally, the path around the wall was divided into various sections, each of which was a separate path. Of which it had its staircase and age connected to the others by a wooden bridge

which could be removed quickly and easily instantly, if the besiegers attempt to climb the wall. If you pass this way, take a walk on the walls to get some nice panoramic views, but be careful not to trip and avoid if you are dizzy.

The two bridges of Conwy

Another thing to visit in Conwy is the Suspension Bridge now managed by the National Trust fund. It was built in 1826 on a project by Thomas Telford, this bridge is considered innovative and avant-garde to the paces. In fact, it was one of the first suspension bridges in the world. The cables of the bridge are embedded in the rock of the promontory of the castle.

The bridge is simple and was created to blend well with the town, in fact, the support towers of the bridge were designed to resemble the towers of the castle.

Conwy also has a tubular railway bridge, unique in the world to use Robert Stephenson’s design, a kind of iron ring. Designed by William Fairbairn and built by Robert McAlpine and built in 1850 Stephenson used the same design in his subsequent and larger Britannia Bridge that spanned the Menai Strait in Wales until it was destroyed by fire in the 1970.

Other things to see in Conwy in Wales

In Conwy you can also see the smallest house in Great Britain is located on Quayside in Conwy, the tiniest home,

This tiny one-story fisherman’s home is on the outskirts of the city.Otherwise visit the Elizabethan house of Plas Mawr built between 1289 and 1585 for the merchant Robert Wynn.

The Great Hall is one of the best preserved structures in the town,  and this is one of the best preserved Tudor building in all of Great Britain. The plastered walls hide a plethora of original elements and furnishings, many of which are still in use today.

Where is Conwy located?

Conwy is practically attached to Llanduno, you can get there in a few minutes by train via the legendary railway bridge. The fortified town is also located fairly close to Colwyn Bay. You will likely visit it as part of a North Wales holiday.

 

 

 

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