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.
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!
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!
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?
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.
I was rather taken with this bureau and its tangle of potted plants!
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.
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.
Wood panelling always makes a room feel snug, don’t you think?
The garlands on this fireplace reminded me of the fresco designs seen in the Roman villas of Pompeii.
And the (presumably) Delft tiles in this one reminded me of visiting Delft last year.
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.
I think this is croquet paraphernalia!
I always like taking photos out of leaded windowpanes like this one, which offers a glimpse over the Grade II listed garden.
That looks like the perfect spot for a game of croquet.
I quite like the lighting in this one of Emma!
Another excellent writing desk.
A rather more elegant way of playing Solitaire than the hours I used to waste playing the computer version!
More tapestries, but overall quite a cosy bedroom.
Don’t you just love old bottles? So much nicer than the garish packaging of today.
The library: always my favourite room in any country house.
I remembered the lovely wallpaper in this room from last time I visited.
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.
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.
I’m sure this chest would tell some interesting tales if it could talk.
The strangest hobby horse you ever did see!
There’s a good use of potted plants throughout the house, this window being a prime example.
And this one, with its majestic bird cage reminiscent of the Kew Gardens glasshouse or the Crystal Palace.
The house is built around a little courtyard, which doesn’t seem to get much light judging by the covering of moss.
A rather good range oven to end with. Just imagine what it would’ve been like next to that during a heatwave!
Find out more about visiting Chastleton House here.