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Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum

Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum

The Gardens and Arboretum located in Essex, feature landscaped woodland walks and footpaths, with vistas across the lakes to the Millennium Walk and the 18th Century Walled Garden, recently remodelled to provide a stunning combination of contemporary and traditional landscaping and planting. The Visitor Centre offers a Tea room, Gift Shop and Plant Centre. A great location for a relaxing woodland walk or a day out with the family. Open 6 days a week throughout the Summer, including Bank Holidays and Half terms …

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerdydd) is a medieval castle and Victorian architecture Gothic revival mansion, transformed from a Norman keep erected over a Roman fort in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.
The Roman fort
There may have been at least two previous Roman forts on the site. The first was probably built about AD 55 during the conquest of the Silures tribe. From the late 2nd to the mid-3rd century, civilian buildings associated with iron working occupied the site (Roman fort).
The Norman castle
The Norman keep was built on a high motte on the site of a Roman castra, first uncovered during the third Marquess of Bute’s building campaign. The Norman keep, of which the shell remains, was constructed about 1091 by Robert Fitzhamon, lord of Gloucester and conqueror of Glamorgan. After the failed attempt of Robert Curthose, duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror’s eldest son, to take England from Henry I, Robert of Normandy was imprisoned here until his death in 1134. The castle, rebuilt in stone, was an important stronghold of Marcher Lords, in the de Clare and le Despenser dynasties, also the Beauchamps Earls of Warwick, Richard of York through his marriage into the Neville family, and the Herbert family, Earls of Pembroke. In the 18th century the castle became the property of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, who became through his Herbert wife a major landowner in the area, and whose heirs developed the docks that transformed Cardiff from a fishing village to a major coal exporting port during the 19th century.
The Victorian mansion
In the early 19th century the castle was enlarged and refashioned in an early Gothic Revival style for John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute by Henry Holland. But its transformation began in 1868 when John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute commissioned William Burges to undertake a massive rebuilding which turned the castle into a 19th century fantasy of a medieval palace, with a series of rooms that, perhaps, constitute the highest achievement of later Victorian Gothic Revival design.
Rebuilding began with the Clock Tower, planned 1866 – 1868 and begun in 1869. The towers continue westward, the Tank Tower, the Guest Tower, the Herbert Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.
Bute and Burges were two hearts in harmony. Furthermore the third Marquess was the richest man in Britain. So Burges could realise his dreams. His imagination, his scholarship and his sheer high spirits combine to make Cardiff Castle the most successful of all the fantasy castles of the nineteenth century.
William Burges was able to create a richness and fantasy in his interiors that has rarely been equalled. Although “he executed few buildings as his rich fantastic gothic required equally rich patrons his finished works are outstanding monuments to nineteenth century gothic. As such Cardiff castle was the last great masterpiece of the gothic revival, its interiors some of the most magnificent that the gothic revival ever achieved.
From the park, all five towers appear in enfilade to produce a wonderfully crowded variegated and romantic Victorian skyline. It has been suggested that Burges’ work is overpowering. Mordaunt Crook responds that, whilst at Cardiff "the lily suffers from a surfeit of gilding.. (the) suffocating richness was the aim. (The rooms) are fantasy capsules, three dimensional passports to fairy kingdoms and realms of gold. In Cardiff Castle we enter a land of dreams".
Informed opinion agrees that the castle at Cardiff is outstanding but argument continues as to whether it is unique. Mordaunt Crook contends that there is nothing in Victorian Britain to match its obsessive exoticism. "Alton castle, Eaton Hall, Carlton Towers, Alnwick, Peckforton, none approaches the Burgesian Sublime. And none has comparable interiors. Cardiff is incomparable. Its silhouette has become the skyline of the capital of Wales. The dream of one great patron and one great architect has almost become the symbol of a whole nation."…

Bank Hall

Bank Hall

Bank Hall is a Grade II* listed building situated on the banks of the River Douglas near Bretherton, Lancashire. The present building was built in 1608, by the Banastre family using Jacobean hand made bricks. The building was constructed on the site of an older wooden house. It passed through numerous generations of the Banastre, Fleetwood, Hesketh, Legh, familys and extended dramatically in 1832 by George Anthony Legh Keck. When he died in 1860 leaving no heir, the house and estate passed to the Lilford family. The House was leased out to many tenants some of whom were well known locally and some of their guest included the Aga Khan. During the Second World War, the army used Bank Hall to control the shipping and troop movements of all the North West ports of England and Wales. Following the war the house was used by the Lilford Estates until 1972 when the house was vacated.
In 1995 the Bank Hall Action Group formed to save Bank Hall and continue to the present day to maintain the gardens. Urban Splash will help restore the Hall and gardens with work hopeful to start in 2012.
The gardens feature Lancashire’s Oldest Yew Tree, one of two fallen Coast Redwoods in the UK and carpets of Snowdrops followed by Daffodils and Bluebells in the 18 acres gardens. The house also has a walled garden which will be restored by the Heritage Trust for the North West as a Heritage Garden …

Waltham Windmill

Waltham Windmill

A six sailed working windmill that still grinds it’s own flour. A rich historical site with lots of interest for families. Miniature Railway, cafe, Rural history museum, Old fashioned sweet shop, clothes shops, interior shops and fantastic Indian restaurant. Free parking, picnic areas and play park. Toilets (incl. disabled) …

Healing Moat

Healing Moat

In 1995 an archaeological survey was carried out on a 37-acre site in Healing, which was to become the Wisteria Drive development plus the medieval field, known by the villagers as the sheep field …

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle

The history of Chiddingstone Castle can be traced back to the early 1500s. During its life, the castle has undergone a number of architectural changes and has been owned and lived in by an eclectic mix of people and families. The early timber-framed Tudor dwelling, inhabited by the Streatfeild family, was first replaced and partly transformed into High Street House in the 1670s. The building went through another transformation during the early 1800s when the then owner, Henry Streatfeild (1757-1829, High Sheriff of Kent, 1792), decided to rebuild the house to resemble a medieval castle and commissioned William Atkinson (1774/5 – 1839) to design the changes. The high street was diverted to make way for the lake and Chiddingstone Castle was born. Characteristic of the castle’s history, Atkinson’s plans were never completed due to a lack of funds. Thus the castle’s transformation was partially finished according to Henry Kendall’s (1776-1875) design during the 1830s by Henry Streatfeild’s son, also called Henry (1784-1852). The Streatfeilds did not occupy the castle after 1900 and finally sold it to Lord Astor in 1938. The castle served as a base for military forces during the Second World War, and General Montgomery reviewed his troops here before taking command of the Eighth Army. After the war, it was home to the Long Dene School until 1955, when Denys Eyre Bower bought it to house his collections. An exhibition on the history of Chiddingstone Castle, situated in the newly created Streatfeild Room on the first floor, explores the different aspects of the castle’s eventful past. Topics covered in the exhibition include the architectural changes of the castle and its surroundings, life at the castle and the use of the castle for educational purposes by the Long Dene School. The history of life in the area is also detailed in this exhibition room and an explanation of how the Castle has become at the heart of the local community and the work involved by the private charitable trust in keeping the building and the collections open to the public for future generations to enjoy. It is also possible to book private appointments with the Castle’s Collections Manager (curator@chiddingstonecastle.org.uk) to view an archive of the history of the local community, housed in the Community Archive Room at the Castle…

Ipswich Museum

Ipswich Museum

Explore Ipswich’s past with stories that will inspire you. This fascinating and unique museum gives you the opportunity to meet the famous woolly mammoth, the elegant towering giraffe and other wonderful curiosities from the natural world …

Christchurch Mansion

Christchurch Mansion

Christchurch Mansion is built on the site of the Holy Trinity Priory, founded in the 12th century, which was suppressed by King Henry VIII …

Hollytrees Museum

Hollytrees Museum

The house was built in 1718 on the site of an Elizabethan house by a London builder, Thomas Blagden, for Elizabeth Cornelisen of Camberwell, London. The detailed articles of agreement survive in the Colchester and North East Essex branch of the Essex Record Office [D/DR T28/21]. Nothing of the earlier house survives, but some of the old timbers were reused within the new building. The new house was square in plan with three storeys of four rooms and a basement containing the kitchen and store rooms. The west elevation included a small projecting bay containing the staircase, half landings and closets. Because of the considerable social changes in the 200 years since construction, it is difficult to be precise about the original uses of most of the rooms …

Picton Castle, Gallery & Gardens

Picton Castle, Gallery & Gardens

A beautiful 13th Century castle with wonderful Georgian interiors, Picton Castle is set in 44 acres of magnificent woodland and walled garden. The friendly guides bring the history alive and in 2011 new areas of the castle will be open to view tours. The nationally important woodland gardens contain unique rhododendrons and roses, rare conifers, tree ferns and bamboos and are of the RHS access scheme. The Gallery features a programme of exhibitions ranging from fine art to fine quality arts & crafts. Events include plant fairs, outdoor theatre, music evenings, family fun days …