Today we are visiting Stanway House, an outstanding example of a Jacobean manor house, owned by Tewkesbury Abbey for 800 years and then for 500 years by the Tracy family. Their descendants, the Earls of Wemyss, still live here. The manor was built with the warm soft yellow stone known as Guiting Yellow and has a stone roof and a jewel-like Gatehouse. The oldest part of the house is the gabled west end which includes the great hall, a light-filled room due to the full height bay window. Most of the furniture in the house has been here since it was made, which includes a pair of Chippendale day beds and exercise chair from 1760, many rare paintings, and two Broadway pianos. More spectacular than the house are the gardens, created in the 1720‘s by garden designer, Charles Bridgeman, who became the Royal Gardner in 1727. The garden includes fine specimen trees, broad terraced lawns with herbaceous borders, eight ponds, a brewery, and a 14th century tithe barn, now used for events and as a theatre. Through a restoration project during the last decade, the manor claims title to one of the finest water gardens in England, including the single jet fountain at 300 feet, the highest fountain in England and the highest gravity fountain in the world. Thanks to it’s location at the foot of the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile footpath from the Cotswold Edge to the Cotswold Hills, primarily from Chipping Campden to Bath, this area has been protected from many changes of the 20th century. This is what makes the Cotswolds so charming! It’s unspoiled! J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, was a regular visitor to this lovely village on the Cotswold Way and stayed at the Stanway House often. I can just see Peter and Wendy flying out of the windows and over the beautiful grounds of the Stanway Manor!
Close by is Stanton, one of my favorite villages in the Cotswolds! It was hard to choose my favorite because I just loved all the villages, but arriving in Stanton on the tiny village road, too small for tourist buses to come through, we circled lanes of Cotswold cottages! The rose covered cottages flowed in a gentile sweep across the countryside of horses. There were the most unusual lamps and lamp posts here, it was just so picturesque! It is a horse lovers paradise and the B&B’s offer horse back riding and stables.
I hope you enjoyed the travels through the Cotswolds and for another look at the English countryside consider doing the Cotswold Way! For an interesting adventure into finding a cottage in the Cotswolds, follow Diz White in her book, Cotswolds Memoir; Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage. In addition to finding the cottage of her dreams it gives a personal tour of the Cotswolds with a visitor’s guide!