My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Sunday, 6 July 2008

No dragons but gardens, a house and a church with a library

I arranged with Pete to go Dragonfly hunting this weekend, but unfortunately the weather was not helping. On Esher Common there have been sightings of the Emerald Dragonfly which is usually seen in early July; pity really that no-one has told the Emeralds this as they were nowhere to be seen. In fact, not a single dragon or damselfly anywhere albeit we hunted in the usual places. Apart from Black Pond (which is large) there a two very small ponds where I have seen many before but today - the ponds had no water in them at all, let alone anything flying.

In view of this we decided to go to Chiswick House and Gardens. Sadly the Gardens have not really been looked after that well for some time now, but it was definitely worth a visit.

Chiswick House and Gardens is of major historic, architectural and landscape significance. The house is one of the world’s most glorious examples of Neo-Palladian design, and its pioneering Gardens are widely considered to be birthplace of the English Landscape Movement.

The estate was formed in the mid 17th century by Sir Edward Seymour, and bought by the 1st Earl of Burlington in 1682. The landscape contains areas of great historical interest displaying the work of famous garden designers such as Burlington, Kent, Lewis Kennedy and Samuel Lapidge.

The gardens still have a beauty to them; the Water Cascade was remarkable and some pretty planting in one of a, more formal, garden.

The house was interesting. Two "wings" of the house had been demolished in the 1950s and no evidence of their being remains. The ground floor would have been the servants quarters and was, not surprisingly, quite plain and undecorated. However, on arriving on the first floor the change was dramatic. Much richer in decoration and some of the rooms were amazing. "The Blue Velvet Room" was a vivid, almost Royal Blue, with much brilliant gilding. The walls were covered in, now, deep blue flock - it was quite dramatic. The "Red Velvet Room" was larger and although, attractive did not, for me, have quite the same impact.

Much statutory everywhere; some of which had been brought in from the large, park like, gardens as it has been suffering from weather damage.

Fortunately, the rain rained most of the time whilst we were in the house, and then it was on to Langley (Berkshire) to hunt for lunch and a visit to St Mary's Church

As luck would have it, there was a pub immediately opposite the church - very handy. Pleasant lunch and a very very yummy choccie pudding which, was covered in Belgian Chocolate and defeated me - I had to leave some - oh what a waste!

Then on to St. Marys where we were given a warm welcome.

The Church was lovely; small and friendly with some beautiful flowers that caught my eye immediately.

After a wander around the Church itself, we had a guided tour through, what was once, a private pew with a screen separating it from the main body of the church, into the Kedermister library. This is a Jacobean Library and was absolutely fascinating. The wall panelling and doors very decorative and two Jacobean chairs, proof of good construction, stood against the walls.

From a copy of the "Pharmacopolium"
"The library contains over 300 large, leather bound books, works of theology and church history, provided for the use of "Ministers of religion and other fit persons"."
The Pharmacopolium is a book containing Pharmaceutical remedies for various ailment The very helpful gentleman talking to us about the library then requested me (much to my embarrassment) to read his choice of remedy which I provide here.

Before reading this, I hasten to add that is applied externally!!

"Take a white hard Dogges turd, beate it into pouder, and take English honny and mingle them togeither, and
spread it thick upon a Linnen clothe, and heate it against the fire and lay it all over the Throate,
Downe to the kennell bone, and change it with fresh, morning and evening, and binde it hard thereto, and it helpeth." The spelling is as written and I will leave it to my readers to decide whether or not that would like to try it - let me know how you get on please?

After this time so well spent, we were then invited up to see the newly refurbished tower and bells.

And there we met the church's Campanologists who, not only gave us a demonstration by ringing the bells, but much information about the art of bell ringing as well.

We next proceeded up more very narrow stairs where we could see the "back" of the Church clock and all it's workings. Looking up a ladder to yet another level, one of the bells could also be seen.

Anyway, enough of my rambling - herewith some pics.
Chiswick Gardens and House

St. Mary's Church
(I'm not very practiced at indoor photography - but here goes!)

A "walk" through the private pew

into The Library

A day of surprises in great company!


avalon said...

Well done on your indoor photos, going up in the bell tower must have been interesting and the clock tower, it looks like you had a good day out.
But leaving your chocolate pudding shame on you!

Tricia said...

Hi Avalon - it's quite criminal leaving anything chocolate - but I just couldn't manage it!

Carin Fuchs said...

I am sorry that you could not go dragonfly-hunting in Esher Common, but I am sure your visit at Chiswick House/Gardens and St. Mary's has more then compensated for it.

All your pictures are fantastic, I like the ones of the library best. What a beautiful display of craftmansship.

Tricia said...

Carin - thanks for your kind comments. Hopefully the dragons will return when the sun shines!! And yes, the rest of the day certainly did make up for it.

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