In our small town we are very fortunate to have many of the homes, built at the turn of the century, still being lived in today. I started with two of the cottages in previous posts and now, after taking another stroll through town, I’d like to feature one of the larger homes once lived in by the Vinson family. Notice the azaleas are in full bloom now!
Today, we’re looking at the Vinson House, although the original home was white.
Professor William Vinson came to our town to teach mathematics at the college. He married Miss Lily Helper, one of H.P. Helpers’ large family of daughters and they settled into the antebellum Blake home, on the curve of Main Street, owned by the college. After teaching for fourteen years he died and his widow moved out of the home owned by the college and built “the Vinson Home” for herself and their two children. Her daughter, Miss Maude, became a teacher of French, Mathematics and Latin at the high school where she was described as, “rather more than plump, her hair long since escaped from whatever contrivance of hair pins held it together at the start of the day, her dress always green or maroon, whitening with chalk dust as the day wore on. She was energetic, good humored and outspoken, setting academic and moral standards.”
The Vinson House became a boarding house for the college students, providing a living for the genteel Mrs. Vinson and her family.
I hope you enjoyed our walk through the village today! Get out there and see what’s going on in your neighborhood and post it for the IPhriday Photo Challenge!
Oh boy! I got a threefer in this photo taken in New Orleans! I loved the tiny cottages, the first of many squeezed into the landscape, and refusing to give up!! There is so much going on in this photo; the planters, the garden, the head on a stick, the flag, the bench, the lavender trash bin, the birdhouse and a big fat crow! Do you see the orange painted cement blocks in the street at the front? That is to mark the owners parking spot! The color for today is Jungle Green, but the photo also had tomorrow’s color, Laser Lemon and then I saw it had a Lavender too, Saturday’s color! I’ll call it my Jungle Laser Lavender Photo! New Orleans is all about Color! If you haven’t been to this beautiful city, it is like nowhere else! So much history, so much fun, so much music, so much food and so much COLOR!
Jungle Green has been included in Crayola assortment since 1990. It is known as Land of the Free in the “State Crayon Collection.”
Laser Lemon is a fluorescent color originally known as Chartreuse from 1972 to 1990. It is also known as Chevaulin Chartreuse, found only in the special “Scarlet Pimpernel” set.
This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola Challenge! Enjoy!
Smallhythe Place, the home of Ellen Terry, is located on a rural road, near Tenterden, where we made our base during my English Garden Tour. Coming from a narrow, graveled, country lane from the Bullein Barn B&B, Smallhythe Place was at the end of it. Everyday we were amazed at all the cars parked here and the visitors going to the home. It was so convenient we thought we would save it to the end of our stay. This is not a big estate like some of the other National Trust properties we toured. This was a smallish house sitting on a smallish property. When we did visit, what a delight it was! As with all the National Trust properties, the hosts of this property made you feel so very welcome and were so knowledgable! I did not know a thing about Ellen Terry! First let’s look at her house, which is now a memorial to her.
This is what I learned………………….
One day, in 1899, Ellen Terry was out for a buggy ride in the country (this is well away from London) with Henry Irving, (the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London’s Covent Garden), who was also her theatrical partner for twenty-four years. Upon seeing a cottage at the side of the small lane near Tenterden, she made up her mind this was where she wanted to live and die. So she bought the place. She lived there until her death in 1928. The half timbered house was built in the late 15th or early 16th century. The house was originally a “Priest House” and then called the “Port House,” because of it’s location on the River Rother, which is now just a trickle along the side of the house. At one time this place was a thriving shipyard, the Old English word “hythe” means “landing place.” It is far off the beaten tract, even now. She definitely wanted her peace and quiet, away from the crowds! When Terry died in 1929, her daughter, Edith Craig, opened the home as a memorial to her mother and then the National Trust took over the property when Craig died in 1947. Smallhythe Place is filled with mementoes of Terry’s career in the theatre. In 1929, Craig set up a barn on the grounds, as a theater, where William Shakespeare plays were performed every year on the anniversary of her mother’s death. This is continued even today.
The cottage sits near the road and every day as we passed by, on the way somewhere else, I wondered if it would still be standing when we returned. It really leans!!!!!
I loved the acknowledgement of the unwelcome plant! Silverweed!!!!!
The window picture was my favorite of the garden! It gives an idea of how serene the place is! It is the perfect cottage garden!
There is a small refreshment center and outdoor seating at Smallhythe.
It is just the cottage that you imagine in fairy tales! I can see why Ellen Terry chose to live here! So next time let’s take a peek inside Smallhythe Place! Who exactly is Ellen Terry? We’ll find out next time! See you soon!
Here we are at Hever Castle, draw bridge and all! We’ll be taking a good long look here! See you soon!
Scotney Castle is another National Trust property and is a real bargain as there are actually two castles and beautiful grounds here to see. Since we have previously explored the old Castle ruins and the lower gardens in previous posts, today we will be going to the new Scotney Castle.
At the top of the hill stands the new Scotney Castle, which was built to replace the Old Castle between 1835 and 1843. It was designed by Anthoney Salvin, in the Tudor Revival architectural design. Following the death of Elizabeth Hussey, in 2006, this estate was opened for the first time by the National Trust in 2007.
We read previously about the Darrell family, who owned the estate for 350 years, and the ghosts and hauntings during that time that have become legend. In 1778 Edward Hussey bought the estate and his grandson, also named Edward, built the “new” castle from sandstone quarried from the slope below. The hollow created was developed into a quarry garden and contains a 100-year-old impression of a dinosaur’s footprint.
When Christopher Hussey died in 1970, the estate was left to the National Trust, which let out several apartments in the castle and on the estate. Margaret Thatcher rented the Belfry flat during the 1970’s and 1980’s, using it for weekend escapes from Westminster. Very knowledgable staff greet you and are present on the first and second floors as you tour on your own. The house was left just as it was and it is priceless to see how the other half lives! My favorite rooms were the kitchen, dining room, and dish room! Enjoy your day at Scotney Castle!
“Fear God, Honor the King”, a reading on one of the fireplaces! Love it!
As promised, today we’ll walk the grounds of Old Scotney Castle! Can you recognize the pictures I created for the Haunted Scotney Castle blog, from the daytime pictures?
First, the aerial view so you get an idea of the ruins of the old castle and the gardens.
Then we’ll walk down to the ruins that sit at the bottom of the hill to get a closer look! Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them!
Then the gardens…………..
Then the ruins……… up close and personal!
And the haunted entry and bath in the daylight!
Tomorrow we’ll be at the New Scotney Castle! Back up the hill we go! See you there!
Near Sissinghurst Castle is a “not to be missed” pub called The Three Chimneys Freehouse. Located at the intersection of three country roads, the outside is much as it was hundreds of years ago. During the Seven Year’s War (1756-1763) some of the three thousand French prisoners at Sissinghurst Castle, who were placed on parole, were allowed as far as the pub. At the time the locals called the pub “The Three Wents,” or three ways, referring to the three paths that led there, but the prisoners called it Les Trois Chemins ( The Three Paths). Did the locals think the French were saying three chimneys or did that name refer to the chimneys on the pub? Or could it be the three chimneys at the three paths? The sign at the pub reflects the paths part of it’s past. See the particulars about The Three Chimneys Freehouse here.
The Three Chimneys is dated 1420 and the half timbered structure remained the same for 500 years. At that time it was a simple country ale house. Although The Three Chimneys has never lost it’s character there are now several eating areas within the pub, the newest being the seating area overlooking the gardens. There is lots of history to be gleaned here and I particularly liked the story of the last man who died here. Needless to say, there no longer is a pond outside.
Here was our appetizer at the Three Chimneys Pub; a mushroom and cheese dish for two. A GIANT field mushroom with carmelized red onions was drizzled in balsamic and topped with a grilled soft goat cheese! Delicious!!!!
To our delight the country pub has been recruiting great chef’s! The food offered in the neighborhood pub would make Jamie Oliver proud. The freshest local ingredients and creative food choices has definitely added to the charisma of the local pub. The atmosphere of the English Pub is what draws us to the pub in the first place. Sitting at a wooden table by the fireplace, cozy in a low ceilinged, small room, reminds us of days gone by. In the pub you are part of the community; catching up on news, celebrating events, just enjoying life! Today the locals are visiting the pubs like they have always done, although the pubs are now non-smoking and serving much more than the local ales. There are not as many pubs in town as there used to be due to the stiffer drinking laws, so the surviving pub needs to present it’s best. We were not disappointed in our choices and these two pubs were some of our favorites!
Tenterden, our “base camp” for our “Tour of English Gardens” was a thriving, busy, market town with the widest streets by far! Here one could find all the amenities and fine shopping one desired. Parking is at a premium here and an oddity for us was paying to park while shopping at the grocery store. It was, however, the largest parking lot in town and others would have parked there whether grocery shopping or not so I understand the meter business. We learned all about the meter system too! Every country is so different! Here you place part of the numbers of your car license plate into the meter machine along with your money at a localized spot! Voila!
Our favorite pub, “The Wooley”, in Tenderden was at The Woolpack, a 15th century hotel that has just undergone re-furbishment and new management. Located on High Street, in the heart of Tenderden, we had THE BEST cheese and mushroom hors d’oeuvre. It turned out to be a warm, thick, creamed, cheese soup with whole mushrooms in it and was served with a loaf of warm french bread! Need I say more! Delicious!!!! Be sure to check out the local pubs when visiting the U.K. You won’t be disappointed!
Man’s best friend comes here too!
As we learned previously, the property at Sissinghurst was already, for the most part demolished, or in need of much repair, by the time Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson bought the property in the 1930’s. That is why it looked so strange to me just to see a tower in the middle of the yard! You had to know that at one time there was a much larger castle and courtyards that surrounded the turret towers to fully appreciate what the grounds had looked like at this time. (See my 1770’s picture of Sissinghurst Castle in my previous post to get the picture.) That picture also reminded me of Knole, the childhood home of Vita. Did Vita want this property because it reminded her of Knole? Would Sissinghurst make up for the loss of Knole? I think so, in my opinion. And then came the gardens……
What I learned about the Sissinghurst Gardens………
Vita, who became in her own words, “a damned outmoded poet”, turned to writing weekly garden columns for The Observer, which in turn made her garden famous. By 1938, her friends and gardeners were flocking to see the gardens and what the Nicolson’s were accomplishing. Vita, began to charge one shilling to see the garden. Today as you enter the gardens you are given a wooden shilling to present to the gatekeeper to keep the tradition alive. First, let’s walk through the White Garden!
After WWII their attention returned to developing the garden and when Head Gardener, Jack Vass, returned from the war in 1948, the idea of a White Garden became a firm plan. Vita’s rose garden was moved from the area of the Tower Lawn and the Priest House to the Rondel Garden. The late rose garden area would now feature a white, grey and green garden. “ I have what I hope will be a really lovely scheme for it: all white flowers, with clumps of very pale pink. White clematis, white lavender, white agapanthus, white double primroses, white anemones, white lilies”……
Together, Vita and Harold, constructed a garden of connected “rooms” which would become a romantic substitute for Knole. Each room had a different character of color and theme, the walls being clipped hedges or pink brick. Nicholson spent his efforts designing new interconnecting garden walkways between Vita’s exciting flower interior of each room.
Vita’s thoughts on planting, “Why have one plant when you can have a hundred!” She loved to plant en masse!
One of the hedges was being trimmed! What an upkeep that would be!
Jack Vass was a skilled propagator and many of the seeds and cuttings came from all over the garden. Vita would only buy one plant and cuttings would be taken from that and many plants came from friends and other private gardens such as the garden at Hever Castle. In total the White Garden cost three pounds. Later there was the creation of the Thyme Lawns, and the Moat Walk, as her rose collection continued to grow. By 1953 there were 194 different roses grown at Sissinghurst. Vita’s take on the garden was to allow the garden to have a certain wildness about it which fitted her romantic and free nature. Her strength was in creating imaginative planting schemes and using color in stunning combinations.
In 1967, The National Trust took over the garden, farm, and buildings. Today the garden is the epitome of an English garden and well cared for by eight gardeners and many National Trust volunteers. It is one of the most visited and loved gardens in England. I hope you have enjoyed the Gardens at Sissinghurst! It was one of my favorite gardens!
Here looking at the main section of the house, the Long Library is to the left, and the Main House is to the right.
From 1915 to 1930, Vita Sackville-West, poet, and her husband, Harold Nicholson, diplomat, lived at Long Barn in Sevenoaks, after the family had been forced to leave Knole, her family home, when Vita was not able to inherit the family estate because she was a woman.
In 1930 they bought the ruins and the farm around Sissinghurst Castle. The Nicolson’s must have had a good imagination and wanted something that would keep them busy for years, because Sissinghurst had had a long and colorful past, but by 1930 the buildings were all dilapidated and the grounds one massive field of weeds!
This is what I learned about Sissinghurst………
In 1235, the manor belonged to John de Saxingherste, a gentleman farmer. The house was protected by a moat, which provided the family with fish. This moat still exists on two sides of the orchard. By 1530 the manor was sold to John Baker of Cranbrook, a very wealthy man during the reign of King Henry VIII. The house was expanded and a entrance gateway was built. In 1560, son Richard, built a new house on the site around three courtyards with a Prospect Tower at the center. A smaller house to the north, known as the Priest’s House, was originally a banqueting house and later housed their priest.
By 1730 Sir John Baker died, leaving four daughters and as there were no men descendants left, the estate was sold to Horace Mann, who never lived there, but leased the property to the government to be used as a prison, during the Seven Year’s War. French Naval officers were housed in the tower and some of the graffiti of sailing ships, names, and dates still remain there. The three thousand prisoners referred to their prison as Chateau de Sissinghurst, and the name stuck. By the end of the war the sailors had destroyed the property; trashing, burning and looting the fine architectural details from fireplaces, doorways and windows.
In 1796, the parish of Cranbrook took over the lease, creating a poor house here where one hundred men were offered housing, employment and food. A devastating fire in the 1800’s destroyed the manor so badly that even the foundations of the house, that stood in the orchard, were picked up and carted away.
Here is a Map of the property after many years of work by the Nicholson’s. It gives you an idea of what was left on the property and how they mapped out the gardens. They lived in the smaller Priest House and the South Cottage, while re-building the remaining section of the gated wall, and set out to transform it into the beautiful house and garden it is today. In 1967 The National Trust took over Sissinghurst, the gardens, farm and buildings. Today it is one of the most popular manors owned by the National Trust. Tomorrow we’ll take a close up look at the gardens and how they developed over the years at Sissinghurst. Now let’s look at the buildings on the property of Sissinghurst Castle.
The Tower became Vita’s “Room of Her Own”, where she went daily to write for three hours. The rest of the day was spent working in her gardens. Here are some views of her room and the views she had when writing.
The rooftop shown in the picture above is the Priest’s House, now a B&B on the National Trust Property at Sissinghurst. Wouldn’t be great to stay in this garden?
Here is the South Cottage Farmhouse, another B&B on the property at Sissinghurst. It is a much larger property, in case you need more room!
Here are the Oasts, so we know this was a working farm!
Now these buildings make up the restaurant, gift shops and museum at Sissinghurst Castle.
Tomorrow we’ll explore the garden up close and personal and see the remarkable transition that took place and continues to do so in the Sissinghurst’s gardens. Vita and Harold had a definite plan for their new home! See you there!