Monday, September 22, 2014

Montacute Continued

I have this odd interest in ice houses, perhaps because these houses are underground to the keep the ice from melting and are always an adventure to find.  The one at Motacute was no different.

This ice house was thought to have been built in the late 18th  or early nineteenth century. So definitely in our period of the Regency.  It was, of course quite far from the house and half way to the ice ponds in the grounds.
 
This is the path we walked along to reach it and yet through that narrow little gap in the wall and then down.
and around. A great deal of thought and effort went into this. Clearly ice was deemed important.

I would not have wanted to be the one delivering or retrieving this ice.

 There is a latin inscription above the entrance Glacies frondeat atque Nives

Freshness springs from the ice and snow.


Ice was carried to the kitchen, washed and used in wine coolers and ice pails to cool drinks. It was also used to make ice desserts. Fish, game and fruit might also be placed directly on the ice to keep them fresh.


 This view on the left looks directly down into the bottom of the circular house. Poor person who had to go down there to chip out the ice on a regular basis.

They would have had a bucket and pulley system to removed the chipped ice, which would have been packed down to form a solid mass.  The ice could sometimes last as long as two years in such a deep house, and well packed with straw.

The second view is of the ceiling which is also circular and domed.

Okay so that is my ice house fix for a while. Hope you enjoyed the adventure too. One day I will find a way to feature an ice house in a book.  Dead body perhaps, frozen for two years. Hmmm. I will have to think about that one.