Saturday 8 October 2022

Newark Park

Here's a fascinating fact about Newark Park: it's a registered war memorial. I didn't know a house and 700 acres of land could be a war memorial but the whole place was left to the National Trust in 1949 by Mrs Power-Clutterbuck, in memory of her son, James. He died in combat in 1917, after his plane was shot down by Manfred von Richtofen, otherwise known as 'The Red Baron'. And so Newark Park is officially listed on the War Memorials Register. 

But there are many other things you need to know about Newark Park. Firstly, it's not in Newark, but in Gloucestershire. 

Newark Park

It was originally a hunting lodge!
A Tudor courtier with a very brilliant name built the first hunting lodge around 1550. Sir Nicholas Poyntz had purchased the land from Henry VIII, as it had previously belonged to Kingswood Abbey before the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It became his 'New Worke', hence the name. He died in 1556, deep in debt.

Tudor costumes at Newark
Getting into the Tudor spirit of things

The Clutterbucks turned it into a Georgian mansion!
Debt seems to have been a recurring theme for owners of Newark Park - the next few people to take it on also had to sell up when they got into financial difficulties. Stability arrived in 1769, when the house was bought by James Clutterbuck. It was then inherited by his 3rd cousin, Lewis Clutterbuck who became the Reverend for the church in nearby Ozleworth. Lewis and his son (also Lewis) made a lot of changes to the property and to the gardens.

Newark Park Views

The Clutterbucks rented it out!
From 1867, the Clutterbucks rented the place out to various families who also extended the place and made changes. 

Bob Parsons comes to the rescue!
The National Trust initially let the property and it became a nursing home in the 1950s and 1960s. The house and gardens deteriorated. Then in 1970 an American architect called Bob Parsons took on a repairing lease and dedicated his life to restoring the place. He had been stationed in the UK during the war and returned afterwards, living in East Anglia and London before settling at Newark Park. He died in 2000.

Bob Parsons Painting
I'm not sure I like this painting of Bob and his dog Trudi,
but he loved it so who am I to argue
It has a crinkle crankle wall!
I'm not going to lie to you, readers: I had never even heard of crinkle crankle walls until I read about them at Newark Park. I tweeted about it and then crinkle crankle walls seemed to stalk me on social media for the rest of the week. They're everywhere, apparently. Here's one map of crinkle crankle walls in Suffolk. I'm not sure how useful this will be to you, but it gives you some idea of their popularity.

The Newark Park Scone

I was accompanied on today's scone mission by my oldest friends, Lisa, Sarah and Kathy, along with the young scone apprentice, Lara. It wasn't their first outing - they had also come to Horsey Windpump back in 2019. On that occasion, we travelled by boat along the Norfolk Broads so I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to offer the same excitement at Newark Park.

But Montsaye Comprehensive girls are nothing if not resourceful and we turned today's outing into an exciting affair by getting completely lost on our walk around the estate.

Luckily, I had forced everyone to have the scone as soon as we got there. The cafeteria at Newark Park is really just a well-equipped counter with a tent for rainy occasions. I was very doubtful that scones would even be on the menu but they were and we had good weather, so our luck was well and truly in.

Newark Park Scone

The scone looked great - nice and golden and fruity. And it was tasty enough - it was a little chewy for my liking but it was lovely to sit outside on a warm October day. 

Newark Park cafe

Eating scones is great but eating them with brilliant people is even better - massive thanks to my lovely crew for our Cotswolds adventure. Only three more places to visit!

Newark Park: 4 out of 5
Scone: 4 out of 5 from both me and the scone apprentice; 4, 3.5, 3.5 from the others
Crinkle crankle wall education opportunities: 5 out of 5

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