A day trip on 11th Sept with M&M Tours. Knole is a huge place on the top of a sandstone ridge with long views down through its deer park. It is said to have 365 rooms, 7 courtyards and 12 somethings as well as 52 something elses. You get the idea. Anyway most of them are shut for refurbishment, or are simply not open to the public. All the contents of the house are still owned by the family which gave the house to the National Trust – so no photography is permitted indoors.
It was built by an archbishop who clearly felt that the riches of heaven could wait whilst he enjoyed the same on earth. Then along came Henry VIII and out went the archbishop. Henry added the front courtyard, surrounded by small-windowed rooms for staff and horses. Later it was passed on to the Sackvilles, who had a leopard on their coat of arms, so stuck lots on the tops of gables and in painted and carved interior decoration. – if only decorating choices were so easy for us today.
Inside, at the foot of a grand and painted stairway is a naked lady stretched out deliciously on a chaise longue. I always thought that meant a ‘long chair’, it seemed to make sense to me – its long. But research reveals its a lounging chair. Anyway Giannetta Baccelli, for it is she, was the mistress of the 3rd Duke of Dorset, and she has been in this draughty location since at least 1982, which is the date of Jackie’s old Knole House booklet, which mentions her there. When she lived here she had rooms in Shelley’s Tower. Why Shelley’s Tower? because that was as near to her name the English staff could manage – Baccelli was reduced to the second half only – celli or Shelley.
Then we went to a pub for lunch and a couple of pints. The Cock Inn at Boughton Monchelsea where I drank Shepherd Neame Whitstable Bay pale ale. The description outshone the product, so I switched to Masterbrew for my second pint.
The house we visited was started in the second half of the 16th century, and was at one time a square plan with a central courtyard, but it lost two sides at some stage, but kept the courtyard, as you might see from this aerial photo, taken from their website.
The house is built of the Greensand on which it stands, and has a great staircase which is lit by stained glass windows which reuses broken glass from the church. It is shown here from the outside – not the best side to view the glass.
In one of the walled gardens I saw this portable pump set above a well. Just for show now, there seems to be an electric pump to raise water today.