Chastleton House revisited

Is there a more pleasant or classically British pastime than mooching around a National Trust house? Here in the Cotswolds there are lots of lovely ones, and among the most interesting is Chastleton House near Moreton-in-Marsh. I’ve written about it on here before, but I visited again with my dear friend Emma earlier this year armed with a better camera and I wanted to share a few of the details I captured this time round.

IMG_3500

The blossom had only just started to come out when we visited, and it was as encouraging a sign of the approaching spring as were the lambs frolicking around in the field opposite. In the current stifling heatwave, the delicious cool of spring seems but a distant memory!

IMG_3487

P3232325

Here is the first in-focus glimpse over the garden wall to the house in all its Jacobean glory. The daffodils give another clue as to how long it’s taken me to write about this outing!

P3232328

Approaching Chastleton House, one gets the sense that something is missing from the design. It was only when the guide pointed it out that I realised what it was: the front door! It’s hidden away on the left as you go up the steps. I’m not entirely sure why; maybe to reduce drafts?

IMG_3475

P3232108

The interesting thing about Chastleton – completed in 1612 – is that it was lived in by the same family for 400 years until it was taken over by the National Trust in 1991. They’ve taken a ‘conservation not restoration’ policy with it, preserving the house very much as it was the day the family left. I love the characterful air of decay this approach has resulted in.

P3232119

I was rather taken with this bureau and its tangle of potted plants!

P3232123

P3232127

I’m not really one for grandeur in a house and I tend to prefer the smaller, cosier rooms in houses like Chastleton, but you can imagine that there must have been some convivial gatherings in this room back in the day.

P3232131

Chastleton is full of interesting details that make it feel lived in. I’m not sure how many – if any – are originally from the house, but they do help to bring the place to life.

P3232137

P3232138

P3232141

Wood panelling always makes a room feel snug, don’t you think?

P3232145

The garlands on this fireplace reminded me of the fresco designs seen in the Roman villas of Pompeii.

P3232146

And the (presumably) Delft tiles in this one reminded me of visiting Delft last year.

P3232155

I’m not a huge fan of tapestries, but Chastleton is noted for some important ones, discovered in 1919, and I believe this may be one of them.

P3232159

I think this is croquet paraphernalia!

P3232173

I always like taking photos out of leaded windowpanes like this one, which offers a glimpse over the Grade II listed garden.

P3232185

That looks like the perfect spot for a game of croquet.

P3232188

I quite like the lighting in this one of Emma!

P3232183

Another excellent writing desk.

P3232194

A rather more elegant way of playing Solitaire than the hours I used to waste playing the computer version!

P3232198

More tapestries, but overall quite a cosy bedroom.

P3232199

P3232208

P3232209

Don’t you just love old bottles? So much nicer than the garish packaging of today.

P3232207

The library: always my favourite room in any country house.

P3232215

P3232217

P3232218

P3232221

I remembered the lovely wallpaper in this room from last time I visited.

P3232226

P3232228

P3232227

Back to what I was saying about that interesting air of decay, the windowsills in particular are a reminder of the National Trust’s policy of conserving rather than restoring the house.

P3232236

P3232240

P3232242

This is the Long Gallery. It has the longest barrel vaulted ceiling to survive from this period, making it the most noteworthy of all the rooms at Chastleton.

P3232241

I’m sure this chest would tell some interesting tales if it could talk.

P3232245

The strangest hobby horse you ever did see!

P3232252

There’s a good use of potted plants throughout the house, this window being a prime example.

P3232258

And this one, with its majestic bird cage reminiscent of the Kew Gardens glasshouse or the Crystal Palace.

P3232260

The house is built around a little courtyard, which doesn’t seem to get much light judging by the covering of moss.

P3232275

P3232276

A rather good range oven to end with. Just imagine what it would’ve been like next to that during a heatwave!

P3232294

Find out more about visiting Chastleton House here.

Leave a Reply