Saturday, 2 June 2018

Brockhampton Estate

I honestly don't mind that some people think the National Trust is a bit boring. They'll change their minds eventually. I've realised that the NT is like Alcoholics Anonymous - you have to be ready for it but when the time is right for you, it's the path to a happier life.

Take Brockhampton in Worcestershire. I'd like to think that the 20-year old me would have appreciated the sight of a beautiful 14th century manor house with a gatehouse and moat. I can confirm that the 44-year old me was completely awestruck by it:



I didn't have to search for this shot, either - it was just there, the scene that greets you as you walk along the path. It was so pretty - worth every single penny that I pay for my NT membership.

Brockhampton had actually done a good job of staying off my sconedar over the past five years. I didn't know anything about it and nobody had ever told me it was fantastic. I think the reason for this is that Brockhampton doesn't have any really scandalous ancestors or celebrity connections.

Here's some history:
  • The manor house you see on the right above was built by John Domulton in the late 14th century
  • The lop-sided gatehouse (to the left above) was added in Tudor times by the Habington family, who had married the Domultons
  • It then passed to the Barneby family by marriage, who became the Lutleys
  • The gatehouse wasn't a defensive feature - it was built to show off the family wealth
  • The same for the moat - it's not known exactly when it was built but it was used to keep fish and impress people rather than defend the property
  • By 1871, the family had moved to a large Georgian mansion on the estate (now rented out privately) and Lower Brockhampton started to fall into disrepair
  • An architect called John Buckler saved the old manor house through renovations
  • John Talbot Lutley left the estate to the National Trust
  • The chapel next door to the manor was probably built in the 12th century:

Brockhampton chapel

The inside of the manor house was also impressive. The Great Hall was restored by John Buckler so we see it as it was in medieval times: 



The crucks in the Great Hall are moulded, with battlements carved at the angle, and the struts supporting the roof apex form quatrefoil openings. (Yes, I've been reading the guidebook. No, I don't have any idea what it means.)

If you are a regular reader, you will know that I am probably the world's worst scone critic, because I just want everything to be brilliant all the time. And so my heart sank a bit when I went into the tearoom and all I could see was a pile of what looked like flat rock buns. They turned out to be the scones. I was worried.

However, they were actually very tasty indeed. Very fresh and really light. My earlier scone (yes, I had two scones today - the sacrifices I make for this project, honestly) at Edward Elgar's Birthplace had been a little bit doughy, so Brockhampton was a light, fluffy treat. 
Brockhampton scone

I'll finish with a picture of the rear view of the manor house - such a beautiful place - if you haven't been then I recommend it:



Brockhampton: surprisingly, wonderfully beautiful: 5 out of 5
Scone: fresh and lovely, just a bit on the flat side: 4 out of 5 
Ability of NT guidebooks to make you feel like a thicko: 5 out of 5

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