Travel, Gardens, Food, Photography, Books, Shoes

Posts from the ‘What I Learned Series’ category

Christmas Foods and Traditions: The Trencher in Elizabethan Times

Marchpane or Marzipan

Marchpane or Marzipan

The 16th century was a fast-paced and fascinating time for the whole of Europe.

Improvements in design of ships meant they could travel further and faster, resulting in the circumnavigation of the world. Queen Elizabeth granted Sir Walter Raleigh a Royal Charter, which authorized him to explore and colonize any “remote, heathen and barbarous countries, not actually possessed by any Christian prince, or inhabited by Christian people, in exchange for a portion of the wealth found there.”  This shifted the balance of power from the East and allowed the English to grow and source foods for themselves in their colonies.

Perhaps the item that gained popularity most rapidly was sugar. Sugar had been used in Henry VIII’s  kitchens, but the expansion of the world allowed this precious ingredient to be more readily accessible.

Sugar was a high-status ingredient; it was more expensive than honey (which had long been used as a natural sweetener) because of the requirement for it to be imported. Sugar grows as a cane, but would be imported in a ‘loaf’ form. The highest grade of these sugars were the fine, white sugars which could easily be melted into a liquid and came from Madeira; next came Barbary or Canary sugar; and finally a coarser, brown sugar which required less rendering down but was, as a result, more difficult to work with. However, even this coarse sugar was expensive; this was not an ingredient which all in Elizabethan England would have had access to, but Elizabeth did and it became her favorite food.

Last time we learned about the Tudor trencher. How did that change in Elizabethan times?

The word trencher comes from the French ‘tranche’, meaning slice. In the late Middle Ages, a slice of bread acted as a plate, however by the 16th century this was replaced by painted wood or metal alternatives.

We also learned about the different levels of the seating plan, when one was allowed to eat at Court. The food was better, more plentiful and beautifully presented when you were chosen to sit and eat in a more prestigious hall. Queen Elizabeth added one more level of eating to the Court, The Banquet. This is not the banquet style of eating as we know today where the food is placed around the room on various tables and you move about picking what you choose to eat. This Banqueting consisted of a selection of some of the favored quests, who would take another meal in another room, or sometimes outdoors in a miniature pavilion. Only the guests of the highest status were invited.

During the banquet, a trencher would be placed in front of each guest. A delicacy would be presented on the unpainted side, which might include finely made sweet-meats, exotic spices, sugar confectionery, ornate marchpane sculptures or sweet gingerbread. These expensive ingredients and delicacies made a clear statement of wealth, status and power, and the trencher they were served on had to reflect this. Once the food was consumed the diner would turn the trencher over to find painted and gilded images and texts; biblical texts, moral texts or humorous sayings. These could be read aloud and discussed amongst the guests. They were intended to provoke discussion, and encourage story-telling, much like a Christmas cracker or fortune cookie today.

Sugared Lemons

Sugared Lemons

At court sugar was used in elaborate dishes. Sweets made from sugar paste (made from a mix of egg, sugar and gelatin) were made. A popular dish was ‘Leech,’ made of milk, sugar and rosewater and then cut into single bites. The popular treats were marchpane and gingerbread. Marchpane was made from almond and sugar paste and could be moulded into various shapes and elaborately decorated. Gingerbread required ginger, an exotic ingredient, along with a good dose of sugar. Fruit pies were made and sweetened with sugar and thickened with almond milk. Cheesecakes, custards and puddings were made. Sweets were flavored with nutmeg, mace, cloves, anise, coriander, rose water, almond or saffron. All this was available because England owned the sea!

Eating all this refined sugar, rather than sweetening with honey or fruit, had a big impact on the Queen and her court, who were eating lavish sugar desserts and cleaning their teeth with sugar, by rubbing their teeth with sugar paste, as sugar was also seen as having medicinal properties.

Queen Elizabeth had such rotted, black teeth that she had to have some of her teeth removed. She was so fearful of pain that the Bishop of London volunteered to have one of his teeth pulled, as an example!

We have no such thing as Christmas crackers in the US, so for a Christmas party and using the trencher idea, why not try this? When neighbors  or relatives come into the house, they could pick a slip of paper out of a hat with questions such as “What was your favorite Christmas food when you were a child?” “When did your family open gifts?” “Did you ever visit Santa at a department store?” “What is your favorite Christmas song or carol?” “Do you prefer to stay home or travel to visit friends/family at Christmas?” “What was the most memorable gift you received?” “Did your family make Christmas cookies? If so, what kind were your favorites?” And on and on! Ask that they not unfold the paper until dessert! Then, each person could take a turn to read the question and answer it. The conversations would go on and on! What fun for Christmas and a way to continue on with a very old tradition! Enjoy!

The Tudor Christmas and the Trencher

Tudor Trencher

Tudor Trencher

In 1526 the Eltham Ordinances were written at Eltham Palace. These were rules and regulations monitoring food purchases, storage and distribution of food across all the palaces.

The Eltham Ordinances also laid down instructions for court ceremony, for example how the food was presented and the manner in which it had to be taken to the table. The rules were put forward by the Lord Steward, who was chosen by the nobility and had great power and influence. He was also in charge of fuel supply, domestic services and the regulation of the entire estate.

At Christmas in 1526, about 600 courtiers were entitled to eat in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace. This group was made up of guards, grooms and general court servants. Henry VIII ate in his private lodgings and only ate with the majority of the court on celebratory or state occasions. Where you ate; which was the Great Watching Chamber, the Great Hall, the kitchens or in private lodgings on the grounds depended on your rank. The Lord Chamberlain granted permission for dining arrangements, writing the plan called the Bouche de Court, which gave an allowance to each named person for two meals a day (at 10am and 4pm) and allowed the daily ration of bread, wine, beer, candles and firewood.

Two seatings were required to seat all of the people, who would have been served two courses. 

To see how the food was distributed from the courtyard to the table look here. (Courtyard to Table)

I am always interested in what the most common of men did.

At the Tutor Court the food was brought into the Great Hall in “messes.” (a dish shared between four people) The food was served up by the most senior man at the table. For the lowest ranking members at a table the food was served onto a chunk of course brown bread with a slight indentation, called a trencher. What is important to note is that the bread was not eaten, just what was placed on the bread. After the meal, the used trenchers, with the soppings from the meal, were given to the poor to eat.

Leftovers from Henry VIII’s table, the Great Watching Chamber, and the Great Hall were collected in a ‘voider’ (a large basket) and would be distributed to the poor by the Almoner. Those who ate in their own rooms were to take their leftovers to the scullery for the same purpose.  The Eltham Ordinances, states: “all such as have their lodgings within the court shall give straight charge to the ministers and keepers of their chambers, that they do not cast, leave or lay in any manner of dishes, platters, saucers, or broken meat, either in the galleries or at their chamber door……. and likewise to put the relics of their ale into another vessel, so that broken meat or drink be in no way cast away or eaten by dogs, nor lie in the galleries or courts, but may be daily saved for the relief of poor folks.” Anyone who disobeyed this rule was punished and on the third offense, any who failed to give their leftovers to the Almoner would forfeit their allowance, lodging and “Bouche de Court” (the permission to eat and drink at court)

As eating was communal, it was important to follow the strict rules of etiquette: these were elaborate, yet practical, as they prevented anyone touching food that would be eaten by someone else. Everyone brought his own knife and spoon to the meal. The requirement for a personal spoon is behind the custom of giving one as a christening gift.

The Waissail Cup

The Wassail Cup

A final festive feature, celebrated during the Tudor Christmas was the Wassail Cup. This was a richly ornamented cup which would be paraded through the great hall, and drunk from by all present as they took part in a call-and-response ritual – the drinker would shout ‘wassail’ and the collective response was ‘drink hail’. The drink in the Wassail bowls was often a warmed alcohol, such as mulled cider, sweetened and spiced. The bowl shown above even has its own whistle to alert the kitchen that more drink was needed.

These were the Rules of Etiquette at the Tudor table.

Sit not down until you have washed.

Undo your belt a little if it will make you more comfortable; because doing this during the meal is bad manners.

When you wipe your hands clean, put good thoughts forward in your mind, for it doesn’t do to come to dinner sad, and thus make others sad.

Once you sit place your hands neatly on the table; not on your trencher, and not around your belly.

Don’t shift your buttocks left and right as if to let off some blast. Sit neatly and still.

Any gobbit that cannot be taken easily with the hand, take it on your trencher.

Don’t wipe your fingers on your clothes; use the napkin or the ‘board cloth’.

If someone is ill mannered by ignorance, let it pass rather than point it out.

Good rules to follow even now, I’d say.

Tomorrow, we’ll learn what happened to the Trencher in Queen Elizabeth’s rule! See you then!

The Elizabethan Christmas and the Tale of Oranges

The Elizabethan Christmas

The Elizabethan Christmas

To continue with my Christmas Foods And Traditions Series we will look today at the Elizabethan period of England.

As a queen, Elizabeth had access to some of the most luxurious foods that were on offer now from many parts of the world. Her food reflected the wealth and power of England and was an important status symbol.

Oranges were originally brought from China, but by the 16th century they were grown in Spain and southern France. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, sweet oranges were given frequently as Christmas gifts because they were expensive, delicious and sure to note how wealthy the giver was.

Now to tell the Great Citrus Fruit Escape……………

Father John Gerard, a Jesuit priest, continued to practice Catholicism and move freely among the gentry in Elizabethan Protestant times, and that landed him eventually in the Tower of London.

A  well-to-do prisoner in the Tower was allowed to furnish their cell to their tastes and bring in their own food to make life there more tolerable. Father Gerard was gifted some oranges and he would share them with the guard and warden to bribe them. He persuaded the warden to allow him to send crosses made from the left-over orange peel to his friends.

Father Gerard's Orange Peel Crosses

Father Gerard’s Orange Peel Crosses

Along with the crosses he sent a prayer written in charcoal, which the warden would read first.

Father Gerard Prayer Written in Charcoal

Father Gerard Prayer Written in Charcoal

However, when the warden was not looking, Gerard used the orange juice that he had saved, to write a second message between the lines of the prayer. Once the orange juice was dried it became invisible, only to be seen when re-heated by lamplight fire. Father Gerard wrapped all the orange peel crosses in the paper prayer-messages and sent them with the guard to be delivered.

The Orange Juice Message Written Between the Lines

The Orange Juice Message Written Between the Lines

Also during this time, Father Gerard met fellow Catholic prisoner, John Arden, who was being kept in another part of the prison, near the garden and the moat.

While in the Tower Father Gerard was tortured, often being suspended for days by his wrists in the hope he would confess to treason and could be put to death. His fingers were barely able to move after this.

Gerard and Arden were given permission to spend some time in each other’s company. The coded messages had been deciphered by Father Gerard’s supporters and a desperate escape plan was put in place.  On the appointed evening, the men met in Arden’s cell and loosened the stone around the bolt of the door that lead to the roof. They reached the roof at midnight, in time to see a rowing boat containing three men approach the walls. As they were about to make contact, a man came from a house below and assuming the men were fishing, began to engage them in conversation.

Gerard waited patiently for the man to leave, but by the time he departed it was too late for an escape that night.

Thinking that the escape was doomed, Gerard was surprised to hear next day that the rescuers were going to try again. Waiting until they had been locked in the Tower together, Gerard and Arden again climbed onto the roof. Throwing down a weighted cord they raised up a rope that had been tied to it by the rescuers below. The plan had been to slide down the rope, but the angle it made meant that instead the escapers had to pull themselves hand over hand along its length. It is worth remembering that Gerard had recently been tortured by being suspended in manacles, which made a hazardous descent even more difficult.

After his companion managed to climb down, Gerard realized that the rope which had been straight was now sagging – making the climb even more difficult. Holding the rope between his legs, Gerard pulled himself out from the high roof. Half way across he became exhausted and at one point was left hanging in the darkness, strength failing. In the end Gerard and Arden managed to escape, all in thanks to his oranges!  Can you imagine? Is this where the saying “read between the lines“ comes from? I should think so!

More to come in the Christmas Foods And Traditions Series! Enjoy!

 

21 Steps of Honor

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington, VA

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington, VA

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: What do you know about it?

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why? 21 steps

It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignity.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds; for the same reason as Number 1.

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent him from losing his grip on the rifle. 

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guards limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5′ 10″ and 6′ 2″ tall and his waist cannot exceed 30 inches. They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in the barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they have served as a guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of his life or give up the wreath pin. The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the load click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. 

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV. All off time duty is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A Guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President John F Kennedy,  Joe Lewis (the boxer), Medal of Honor recipient Audie L Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII, General George Patton IV, and many others.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty. In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US Senate and House took two days off from the anticipation of the dangers from the storm. The military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend their assignment. They respectfully declined. Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The Tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930. Let us remember the guards this day and the Unknown Soldier.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Foods And Traditions: Oranges

The Christmas Orange

The Christmas Orange

Why Do We Put Oranges in Stockings at Christmas?

1. St. Nicholas and his sacks of gold.

One explanation for this tradition stretches back hundreds of years to St. Nicholas, who was born in what is now present-day Turkey. He inherited a large sum of money, but devoted his life to helping others, and eventually became a bishop.

According to the story, St. Nicholas learned of a poor man who wasn’t able to find suitors for his three daughters because he didn’t have money for a dowry. St. Nicholas traveled to the house, and tossed three sacks of gold down the chimney for each of the dowries. The gold happened to land in each of the girls’ stockings which were hanging by the fire to dry. The oranges we receive today are a symbol of the gold that was left in the stockings.

2. Oranges were once a scarce treat.

Some also offer the idea that fresh oranges were hard to come by, especially in the north, so finding one of these fruits in your stocking was a huge treat, and a way of celebrating the holiday.  By the 1880s, oranges were in plentiful enough supply in the United States, coming from the new states of Florida and California, that they could be shipped across the country via the new transcontinental railway system. So clearly, Santa Claus, working with the local seasonal availability of fresh oranges around winter time and the newly available transportation system, took advantage of those and tucked oranges into the socks and stockings of many American boys and girls on Christmas Eve around the country.

3. A treat during the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, money was tight, and many families simply didn’t have the means to buy gifts. Instead, it was such a treat, even a luxury, to find things like a sweet orange or some walnuts in your stocking on Christmas.

4. It’s the season of giving.

Another theory behind the tradition is that December is the season of giving, and the orange segments represent the ability to share what you have with others.

5. Is there anything better than the fragrance of orange and clove at Christmas? Not Likely!

6. Fragrant citrus fruits were exchanged during holidays for good luck.

Did you ever receive an orange in your stocking on Christmas morning?

 

 

Agatha Christie’s Biggest Mystery

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

In December 1926, Agatha Christie was a thirty-six year old, established crime writer, when she mysteriously disappeared. Early on the morning of December 3rd, Colonel Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps, had asked Agatha for a divorce because he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele. He then packed up and went to spend the weekend with his mistress. Later that evening, Agatha left the house leaving two notes; one for her brother-in-law saying she was going to Yorkshire and one for the town constable saying she feared for her life. Her crashed car was found nearby, hanging over the edge of a chalk pit, with her fur coat,  suitcases and identity papers thrown about the car and Agatha nowhere to be found.  A massive manhunt began which included the dredging of a large pond and thousands of police and locals joining to scour the countryside. The manhunt included the first use of airplanes to search for missing people. Archie Christie seemed unconcerned when summoned, yes, he had to be summoned to the crash site, and simply stated his wife was a mysterious and calculating woman, who probably made the whole thing up to promote her latest book! Astonished, the constable placed Archie at the top of the suspect list and had his phone tapped, where his affair and want of a divorce was soon discovered.

As the days went on, the search spread out to all parts of Great Britain. Fellow mystery writers got involved: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took one of Agatha’s gloves to a noted psychic and Dorothy L. Sayers visited Agatha’s house and the place where the car was found.

It wasn’t until December 14th that the search ended. As it turned out, Agatha had walked to the train station, after crashing her car, and took a train to London. In London she went shopping for  clothes and a new coat and then took the train to Harrogate, which she had seen on an advertisement at the train station.

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

She checked into The Old Swan Hotel and Spa on the 4th of December under a false name (using, ironically, the surname of Archie’s mistress) Harrogate was the height of elegance in the 1920s and filled with fashionable people looking for fun and excitement. Agatha Christie did nothing to arouse suspicions as she joined in dining, playing billiards, going for spa treatments and attending the balls and dances at the Palm Court at the Swan Hotel.

She even placed an advertisement in the newspaper offering where Teresa Neele was staying.

She was eventually recognized by one of the hotel’s banjo players, Bob Tappin, who alerted the police. They tipped off her husband, Colonel Christie, who came to collect Agatha immediately. Agatha seemed confused and mis-identified Archie as her brother.

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Agatha was brought home and was quickly and completely hidden from reporters.

Because nobody was providing any answers, various scenarios would later be given by the newspapers as theories as to what had happened: temporary amnesia, a nervous breakdown, a plot of revenge to embarrass and humiliate her husband, or a publicity stunt to increase sales of her books. Nobody knew for certain what had transpired. And nobody knows to this day. Agatha never, ever mentioned the episode again. Her divorce was finalized two years later.

And in the end the police charged Agatha Christie for the pay of all the police, and the use of the airplanes during their search for her.

So as noted in my previous post, I was not happy about missing the trip to Harrogate and exploring the Swan Hotel, which was a priority for me. But, as it turned out, my hubby took the time to go to the Hotel and take photos for me and while there he discovered that the Hotel was offering Agatha Christie Mystery Dinners during the month of November, in honor of the 90th anniversary of Agatha’s disappearance. It was a themed mystery taking place in Egypt among the archeologists. Everyone was to dress the part. My husband promptly signed himself up along with a business associate, another man, to attend the mystery dinner. When he told me about it I thought it would be a lot of fun and noted most people would dress the part. On the night of the event, many were indeed dressed in sheik’s robes, archeological dig clothing, or dresses of the roaring twenties, except for said two men. There was even a mix up in their names, since the hotel didn’t think two men would be attending the event together and it must have been a mistake in names, so changed one of the place tag names from Mr O——-, to just Olivia. The men had a good laugh and proceeded with the mystery.  During the dinner, several actors staged sketches and then went around to the ten various tables offering clues and talking to the guests. By the end of the evening the guests at each table were  to collectively name the killer. Table Ten did not discover the correct killer, but had a great time with their table mates, four women from Spain, four women from London, and two men from the US, in trying to figure the mystery out.

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Actors at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

It was soon discovered that one of the finely dressed women at this table was actually a 6 foot-five inch, well built man, named Bill! (the guest with the dangling earrings) Great costume Bill!

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Actors and Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Actors and Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

The Big Fight Skit during the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Dinner

The Big Fight Skit during the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Dinner

Another Death to Deal With!

Another Death to Deal With!

Table Ten

Table Ten

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

And to top off the evening….. The Swan dessert!

 Actors and Guests at Agatha Christie Dinner Mystery, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK

A great time was had by all and one thing is for sure. Agatha Christie is still the greatest mystery writer of all time, even her own!

Tomorrow will be the last day in Harrogate. Won’t you join me to find out all about it? See you then!

 

Great Dixter Manor, Part One

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

This is the oldest section of Great Dixter Manor and as you can see it tips to the left!

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

All great manors have a fascinating story to tell and Great Dixter is no exception. Nathanial Lloyd, born in Manchester, made his fortune when he founded his own color printing firm in 1893.  In 1905, he  married Daisy Field and rented a manor home in Rye where Nathanial could play golf on the weekends. He became so successful in his business, that by 1909, he was able to retire and devoted himself to golf and his passion for shooting. Nathanial and Daisy began to look for an old house to buy and they purchased Dixter, (a manor completed by the end of the Middle Ages), and its immediate grounds and farm buildings in May, 1910, for six thousand pounds, and the manor was re-named Great Dixter.

Nathanial and Daisy Lloyd

Nathanial and Daisy Lloyd

Lloyd hired Sir Ernest George as his architect, but soon realized that the apprentice to George, Edwin Lutyens,  was the man to complete his manor. Lutyens wanted to enlarge or adapt existing buildings by using local materials and build on existing traditions. He drew up plans which consisted of the mid-15th century original home and added additions to it, by bringing a yeoman’s house from Benenden.  He then added another addition to the house in 1912. So the manor then consisted of three houses, beautifully connected together. Lutyens admired the work of Gertrude Jekyll, who had a reputation for complimenting the grounds of the manors to the garden, which was a new approach to the English Garden. The ideas of Jekyll led Lutyens to design an English Garden for Great Dixter. Lutyens went on designing and building to become  “the greatest British architect of the twentieth (or of any other) century.”

Edwin Lutyens

Edwin Lutyens

This was the ” Yeoman’s House” moved from Benenden, seventeen miles away! I don’t think I could have had that big of imagination! How could the combining of the houses work? The Yeoman’s House was literally falling down!

The House Moved from Benenden

The House Moved from Benenden

Nathaniel and Daisy Lloyd raised six children at Great Dixter where they all developed a lasting attachment to the house and a deep knowledge of the garden. One of the bathrooms still has the pencil marks on a wall, recording their increasing height year by year. Selwyn (1909-35), the eldest child, went into the family business, but died at a young age from TB; Oliver (1911-85), whose second Christian name Cromwell spoke of Daisy’s ancestral connections, became a medical doctor and academic; Patrick (1913-56) was a professional soldier and died on active service in the Middle East; Quentin (1916-95) served as the estate manager for Great Dixter for many years; Letitia (1919-74) trained as a nurse; Christopher (1921-2006), the youngest child, was born in the north bedroom of the Lutyens wing and for the rest of his life Dixter was his home.

The Lloyd Childen

The Lloyd Childen

With the renovations and extension complete by 1912, Great Dixter was a large and comfortable family home. Central heating and electric lighting were installed from the onset and there was a domestic staff of five or more, including a chauffeur, a cook, two housemaids and a nursery maid. Outside staff included nine gardeners. For four years during the First World War, part of the house became a hospital and a total of 380 wounded soldiers passed through the temporary wards created in the Great Hall. In the Second War, Dixter housed evacuee boys from September 1939 until it was decided that they should go further west and away from the path of enemy aircraft.

After Nathaniel’s death in 1933, Daisy was in control until her death in 1972. Her contribution to the garden was most evident in the wild flower meadows, but her passion for all things plant related was as extensive as it was infectious. She was a determinedly energetic lady, an accomplished cook and brilliant embroiderer, who, having taken to wearing Austrian peasant costume, became an eccentric figure on the local scene. Christopher Lloyd, exceptional gardener and writer of gardening books, was the last Lloyd to occupy the manor and it was left to a charitable trust upon his death in 2006.

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Part of the manor is open, but no photography is allowed inside!

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

But we did manage a photo of the garden from the window!

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

We took many photos of the gardens around various out buildings such as the oasts, which were restored in 2012.

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

This was one of the meadows. I just couldn’t get wrapped up in it though. I didn’t like the formal topiaries mixed in with the meadow. I would have preferred all lawn around these, but they didn’t ask me.

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

I think they were undecided too!

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Flowers, flowers everywhere!

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

The Loggia…….with more flowers and plants……

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

I hope you enjoyed the history of Great Dixter! There is a lot to explore here, so we’ll meet up with you again tomorrow! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, UK

While I was touring homes and gardens of the National Trust and National Garden Scheme this year, there were also two independent gardens that were recommended to me by my hostess at the Potting Shed. One was Pashley Manor near Ticehurst in Sussex. One afternoon we made our way there………

The land was owned by the family of Passelewe or Passele, a prominent family in medieval times. Simon Passelewe held many judicial posts including that of Justice of the Jews in the reign of Henry III, but his prominent role was extorting money from religious houses on behalf of the king. Sir Edmund de Passele, in 1317, built a hunting lodge on an island that fills the greater part of the largest of three ponds.  On his death it took twenty years to solve the dispute over his property because two wives claimed his inheritance and one was willing to murder in order to keep the inheritance for herself and the children. During the War of the Roses, around 1454, Sir Geoffrey Bulleyn, great-grandfather of Ann Bulleyn, a prosperous merchant and Lord Mayor of London, bought the property. The property consisted of 600 acres of land, a garden, watermill and an iron furnace.

Then over the next several hundred years the property changed hands many times and in 1922 Dr Hollist sold the estate and it sat vacant up to 1945, when it was occupied by troops and families escaping the bombings of London, for brief periods of time during the war.

The present owner bought Pashley Manor in 1945, as it was, then described as a haunted house. In 1950 going from the Grimm’s sketches of the manor from 1780, that were found in the Burrell Collection at the British Museum, the family was encouraged to restore the manor to it’s original closely timbered look from the early seventeenth century. The ivy on the house, was held in place by thick wire, and was a foot thick, but seemed to be a protective layer against the weather, and the boarding underneath was well preserved. The original color of the house was a hot shade of ochre yellow with dark brown trim!  Even the brickwork was washed over in a dingy yellow, but now over the years most of the bricks have faded to a warm red. The wash that was placed over the hot yellow ochre turned the house into a soft shade of pink and I found it quite striking! It is the first thing that gets your attention as you enter the long driveway to the house and gardens!

The Landscape of Pashley Manor

The Landscape of Pashley Manor

The Driveway of Pashley Manor

The Driveway of Pashley Manor

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, UK

The first sculpture as you enter the garden is His Eminence from Pisa!

His Eminence from Pisa, Pashley Garden

His Eminence from Pisa, Pashley Garden

His Eminence from Pisa, Pashley Garden

His Eminence from Pisa, Pashley Garden

We were soon to discover this is no ordinary garden! This garden shows off beautiful sculptures as well, from April through September. Twenty-three artists offer one hundred and thirty pieces of their artwork for viewing throughout the garden, and they are for sale also! Each piece is marked with a sign from the designer. Oh my, we are in for a treat! Let’s go in!

The Rose

The Rose, Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

The garden was meticulous! The flowers breathtaking, so let’s just wonder!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

There are the formal gardens, the rolling countryside and three ponds to wonder about!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Each piece of artwork was in a perfect spot in the garden to show it off!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

I liked the use of twigs to make a fencing and to support the plants.

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

There is also a fine restaurant on the premises as well as a gift shop!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Without a doubt my favorite flower was this one!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

There were sculptures everywhere!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

This was my favorite groundcover, saxifragis x urbium.  It is called “London Pride,” and has been grown along garden paths since the 1700’s. It has a fragile, spiky, soft pink flower in spring. Many of the elderly folks are drawn to this plant because they are reminded of their time in the war and Noël Coward’s song, by the same name, recorded during the Blitz. Cuttings from this plant quickly re-colonized at bomb sites and reminded Londeners that they too could re-build and move forward!  Listen to it Here! Do any of you remember it? The video and music is a tear jerker!

Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

London Pride, Pashley Garden, Ticehurst, UK

There is so much to see and admire in this garden. We’ll be back tomorrow! See you in the garden!

 

 

A Walk in the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK: Post Three

Through Another Garden Gate, the Potting Shed

Through Another Garden Gate, the Potting Shed

The Gardens at the Potting Shed, Bebenden, UK

The Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Today we are exploring the property of the Potting Shed, a good five acres to get us up and about! Don and Charlotte are the proud owners of this beautiful property and lovingly take care of it. As I mentioned yesterday, Don was a farmer, and then the head gardener to Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram on his estate called ‘The Grange’ in Benenden. When Ingram died in 1981, ‘the Grange’ was divided and sold in parcels. This is where the story gets very interesting……… you just never know what you are going to stumble upon when looking into gardens! Don bought a parcel of five acres of ‘the Grange’ that also had the original gardener’s cottage on it and that is where he and Charlotte lived. What a keeper! And that original cottage, where they still live, is very much as it was when it was built in the 1930’s. Tiny, small rooms with huge fireplaces, slate floors and an old fashioned kitchen with a stove that was built before the AGA, I envied! I wanted to take pictures so badly, but how do you say, “Wow I might never see another cottage like this again and I know this is your private abode, but can I take about 500 pictures?” So I kept my mouth shut and just oggled and awed.

Now at the time I knew nothing about Cherry Ingram, so I had to find out more about him, so Don and Charlotte explained.

Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram (30 October 1880–19 May 1981) was an ornithologist, plant collector and gardener, who was an authority on Japanese flowering cherries.

In the early 1900s, Sir William Ingram employed Wilfred Stalker to collect bird skins in Australia for Collingwood to identify and catalogue at the London Natural History Museum, resulting in his first major publication. In 1907 he collected in Japan and for his work there he was made an Honorary Member of the Ornithological Society of Japan. However, his main interest was in the field study of birds; he made the first record of marsh warblers breeding in Kent. He was an accomplished bird artist. A planned book on the birds of France was interrupted by World War I and never completed, although part emerged as Birds of the Riviera in 1926. His 1916–18 journals record his war experiences and also his off-duty bird observations and sketches behind the lines in northern France. His published war diaries are packed with his pencil sketches of birds, people and landscapes. He interrogated pilots, on the height at which birds fly, resulting in a short paper after the War. He was member of the British Ornithologists’ Union for a record 81 years!

The Birdhouses, the Potting Shed

The Birdhouses, the Potting Shed

After World War I, horticulture took over from ornithology as Collingwood Ingram’s dominant interest. He created his famous garden at ‘The Grange’ in Benenden and collected plants across the world. His outstanding plant-collecting trips were to Japan in 1926 and South Africa in 1927.

By 1926, he was a world authority on Japanese cherries and was asked to address the Cherry Society in Japan on their national tree. It was on this visit that he was shown a painting of a beautiful white cherry, then thought to be extinct in Japan. He recognized it as one he had seen in a very bad state in a Sussex garden, the result of an early introduction from Japan. He had taken cuttings and so was able to re-introduce it to the gardening world as ‘Tai Haku’, the name meaning ‘Great White Cherry’. In March 2016 a book on his contribution to the survival of Japanese cherries was published in Japan: the title Cherry Ingram: the English Saviour of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms. He introduced many Japanese and species cherries to the country, as well as a number of his own hybrids. His 1948 book, Ornamental Cherries, became a standard work. Ingram introduced many other new garden plants, the best known of which are probably ‘Rubus Benenden’  a vigorous, medium sized deciduous shrub. Its white flowers have a yellow stamen at it’s center, and five saucer shaped petals. Its fruit are similar to those of the Bramble. The Rosemary, ‘Benenden Blue’ was also his work. Oh wow!

So now we will walk around the property and see what Don and Charlotte have added to it, besides the wonderful Potting Shed! Remember they are both artists, as well, and have added many cottages for their craft.

The Cactus Cottage

The Cactus Cottage

The Cactus and Succulants

The Cactus and Succulents

The Weaving Room

The Weaving Room

Inside the Weaving Room

Inside the Weaving Room

The Artist's Studio at the Potting Shed

The Artist’s Studio at the Potting Shed Property

The Artist's Studio at the Potting Shed

The Artist’s Studio at the Potting Shed Property

The Artist's Studio at the Potting Shed

The Artist’s Studio at the Potting Shed Property

The Chickens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Chickens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed can be reached Here. I am writing many posts on the Potting Shed so be sure to check them all out! Tomorrow we’ll learn more about this fabulous garden!  Until then ……..Enjoy!

Greenway, the Holiday Home of Agatha Christie

Greenway House, Holiday Home of Agatha Christie

Greenway House, Holiday Home of Agatha Christie

At Entry to Greenway

At Entry to Greenway

Wipe your feet before you enter!

I think what I liked best about Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home in Devon, was it was a home where I could see Agatha and her guests enjoying themselves. There were rooms, many rooms, filled to the brim with her collections; cupboards with stacks and stacks of dishes, her finds from her travels, games and puzzles scattered everywhere. The rooms reminded me of me; I like to collect things, especially from my travels, and find my treasures very comforting remembrances. One gets the feeling that Agatha is here in the house and as you wander from room to room you know you will find her right around the corner! This home is well loved and well looked after, so let’s take a peek inside!

The Drawing Room at Greenway

The Drawing Room at Greenway

The Drawing Room at Greenway

The Drawing Room at Greenway

The pillows have sentences from her books printed on them!

The Drawing Room at Greenway, (Notice the Dominoes on the Floor)

The Drawing Room at Greenway, (Notice the Dominoes on the Floor)

The Piano at Greenway

The Piano at Greenway

In the drawing room is the piano she played only to entertain herself, never to entertain her guests.

Old Photos at Greenway

Old Photos at Greenway

The Fishing Gear is Ready!

The Fishing Gear is Ready!

The fishing gear and picnic supplies are by the stairs in case you want a quiet spot at the river before dinner.

The Library at Greenway

The Library at Greenway

The Library at Greenway

The Library at Greenway

The Library at Greenway

The Library at Greenway

The library is comfy-cozy with a drink’s table by the door, just like in the old movies, and the frieze painted on three sides of the library’s upper walls is a timeline of WWII.  The frieze painted by U.S. Lt. Marshall Lee looks fresh, like it was painted only yesterday. Greenway was acquisitioned during the war, as an officers’ mess, and officers from the 10th U.S. Coast Guard flotilla headquartered here before D-Day.  When Agatha came back to the house after the war she wanted the frieze to stay, but the 16 makeshift bathrooms to go! 

Agatha's Closet

Agatha’s Closet

Her clothes are hung in the bedroom closet and her bags are packed and ready for the next adventure.

Books in the Library at Greenway

Books in the Library at Greenway

Love This Bookcase!

Love This Bookcase!

Love This Bookcase!

Love This Bookcase!

The Bathroom at Greenway

The Bathroom at Greenway AND

The Books in the Bathroom

The Books in the Bathroom

There are books everywhere in every room! Some are in very interesting bookcases! I loved the end-table spinning bookshelves! There is a small library of books even in the bathroom! 

Just One of the Pantries Full of Dish Collections!

Just One of the Pantries Full of Dish Collections!

Just One of the Pantries Full of Dish Collections!

Just One of the Pantries Full of Dish Collections!

The Kitchen at Greenway

The Kitchen at Greenway

The Kitchen and Pantry are always interesting to me! Look at all the dishes! Agatha’s mother and grandmother were collector’s too. You can never have enough dishes! Be sure to notice the typewriter in the kitchen. More about that further in the post!

The Dining Room at Greenway

The Dining Room at Greenway

The Dining Room at Greenway

The Dining Room at Greenway

I watched an elderly gentleman pick up every plate on the dining room table making sure they were made in England! The plates were beautiful!

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

A Portrait of Agatha with Some of Her Treasures

A Portrait of Agatha with Some of Her Treasures

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

One of the COLLECTIONS at Greenway

And the Dinner Gong!

And the Dinner Gong!

There were so many treasures to look at I asked one of the National Trust guides if everything was left at Greenway. She replied that the family (her grandson) took everything he wanted, but there was still plenty left over! Oh my, I’ll say!

Agatha never wrote at Greenway. She came here to relax, to read and go over her notebooks, many times reading her current mystery to her family and friends in the evenings. However, there is a writing project going on as part of the activities and events at Greenway and old typewriters are placed throughout the house, and even in the kitchen, where one can leave a message for Agatha. Some of the messages are posted on a Twitter account #Type Greenway! Very interactive! 

Greenway is one of my favorite National Trust properties, I loved everything about it. And tomorrow we’ll take a look at the gardens at Greenway! See you there!

Happy Outdoors

Purely amateur. Blogging just for fun, sharing photos and following other bloggers.

Dogwooddays

Life, Nature and the Garden

My Tiny Welsh Garden

Cultivating the art of patience while gardening in a small space

Hairbells and Maples

Gardening, self-sufficiency, exploring, photography

My Secret Garden

Everything I know about gardening I've learnt from a combination of my mum, Carol Klein and Monty Don. My garden is a tiny 2x3m yard requiring a lot of TLC...

Pots&Paws

The joy of a walled city garden with "helpful" hounds

Enthusiastic Gardener

Gardening, gardens, & plants in London, Suffolk, & abroad

Magdarae's narrative

Own narrative on random topics

Ben's Botanics

For plant lovers

Murtagh's Meadow

Ramblings of an Irish ecologist and gardener

The Shrub Queen

Garden Thoughts from Florida's Treasure Coast

sandmoos

stuffs and mo' other stuffs

crabandfish garden

This WordPress.com site highlights our mountain garden and the seasons, seaside reflections and some travel musings.

Dees Platter

Savour and Eat!!!

My camera and I...

“Go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, discover, adventure.”

OUR CROSSINGS

the beauty of a life of travel

Laidback Gardener

Welcome to Larry Hodgson’s world

Gardening on the Rocks

Landscaping among the boulders, bugs and bears in Buncombe County.

thehomeplaceweb

Drop in and stay awhile

Dining with Donald

Donald on dining in and out

A Suffolk Lane

A diary of my life in rural north Suffolk.

%d bloggers like this: