Thursday, January 11, 2007

English Country House - The Vyne


I promised you a house today. I think I have mentioned more than once that my dear old mum lives in Hampshire. I worry about her a lot. She is all by herself. Fortunately, she loves to visit old places with us when we are there and she has lots of good friends nearby. But still I worry.

My mum lives in the heart of one of the most historical parts of England, bordering on Dorset and Wiltshire and near Marlborough Downs. Salisbury and its cathedral is a local shopping center for her, and so is Winchester. Did you know that in the time of William the Conqueror, Winchester was the capital of England. Our kings were crowned there. I will take you to Winchester and Salisbury on another occasion. But as you can see, when I say in my biography that I go home every year to steep myself in the past, you really can’t help it.


Of course, this is not a travelogue. I don’t organize it in any way that you dear reader could follow in my footsteps. I leap from lily pad to rock, landing on whatever takes my fancy. Today I thought we would visit The Vyne and since this house is in Hampshire, we went there with mum. Which is why my introduction.

The house dates back to Tudor times. Little remains of the original Tudor house, it has been updated over the centuries. I love writing that. Updated over the centuries. Imagine. This house was lived in when Henry the VIII, the fat one with all the wives, walked the earth. In fact, his chamberlain, William, first Lord Sandys built the first house.

It passed into the Chute family in 1653, who owned it, renovated it from time to time and then handed it over to the National Trust in 1956.


As usual, I harken back to my reminder, that this house was not built during the Regency, but people of the Regency walked in these rooms, lived their lives in these rooms and in some cases ruined these rooms. Wellington was known to have been a guest of the Chutes in 1817 and after, since he lived nearby.

The Vyne is a charming mishmash of periods. It has a Tudor chapel not seen anywhere outside Royal Palaces. It has a 16th century stained glass window, in all its glory and
it has a fine example of linen fold paneling – paneling carved to look like fabric.

The pictures that are scattered through the blog are things that can be seen today that would have been in situ as my builder husband would say, in the Regency. Please note, that Some of the shots are taken by me – those outside, the inside are culled from the guide book.

I finish with a favorite picture, taken by me in the Spring. Bluebells in a sun-dappled copse that we discovered as we drove around the outskirts of the estate. We saw a deer jumping through wheat on one side of the road and bluebells on the other, with black pheasant running around amongst the flowers.

Enjoy and happy rambles. Next time I think I will take you to an interesting little edifice that I found in Dorchester.