The morning's tour of West Stow Hall meant a somewhat later start to our day's travels than we had anticipated. First visit was to Ickworth.
Everything about this estate is Italian save for the fact that it was built during Georgian times. Frederick Augustus Hervey, the 4th Earl of Bristol loved everything Italian. The Rotunda is based on a design by an Italian architect and was to serve as a museum for his vast collection which included many things Italian. Work began on the rotunda in 1795 and was incomplete on his death in 1803. The responsibility of finishing the house fell to his son. The family owned the property until 1956 when the house was given to the National trust in lieu of death duties. The East wing is the Ickworth Hotel, leased from the trust and the West wing was recently completed by the Trust and used as a conference center.
The gardens are Italianate and formal. Pleasant to walk around but not my favorite garden to visit. We had arranged to join the tour of the house and managed to do a quick tour of the gardens around the house before heading into the house. There we were treated to a wonderful guided tour of 'below stairs'
LAVENHAM GUILDHALL (NT)
In 1524 Lavenham was considered the 14th wealthiest town in Britain. It was the wool trade that brought the inhabitants their wealth and the world famous Lavenham blue cloth was exported to many countries.
Close timber framed buildings were considered to be a sign of wealth and this town boasts 320 such buildings all in remarkable condition. The Guildhall, above, is one such building which today belongs to the National Trust and houses a museum of the village's history and the story of the wool trade.
Rameses the mummified cat found in the roof of a nearby house. Cats were often entombed in the walls of house to keep away evil spirits.
In the walled garden plants that were used for dying the wool in the middle ages.
We took a stroll around the town and admired the medieval houses. We had learnt earlier that it was the Victorians who painted the wood black and that this was not how they had been originally. Many of the houses had their black paint stripped replaced with the original lye treatment that was used to prevent insect damage.
I remembered that many times house leeks were grown on the edges of roofs to ward off evil spirits. Maybe these yellow plants growing on this roof were also allowed to grow for a similar reason.
It had been on my plan to next visit the Sutton Anglo Saxon Hoo burial ship, but the afternoon had worn on and we needed to be getting to our stop for the night; Tuttington Hall. I felt we should at least try to contact our hosts for the night to let them know what time we would be arriving. This was made all the more difficult by the loss of our phone and the fact that rather like in the US public pay phones are few and far between. We stopped 3 times at phone boxes to find no phone and one time at a Tesco supermarket. Assured by the gentleman collecting the shopping carts that there was a public phone in the store we parked and went in only to be told there wasn't one. So, it as without communication we arrived at Tuttington Hall and with the hope that they had not given away our room for the night. As we pulled up outside our hosts, David and Andra Papworthe, rushed out of the open door to greet us. Tea was served in the sitting room after which we took a stroll around some pretty spectacular gardens.
One again we were accompanied by the family dogs. My attention was drawn to this delightful little dish garden which also seemed to act as a water dish for the dogs. I later learnt it was a pig feeder. I wonder what that ittle grass with the burgundy seed heads is? Would it grow in Texas, I wonder.
Garden troughs are always a favorite of mine and their placement in the gravel pathways is something that I really love.
A beautifully well maintained vegetable garden. I'm sure we would be sampling some of their produce at the dinner table. And the chicken house would no doubt produce our breakfast eggs.
We ate dinner with Andra and David in their fabulous Millenium conservatory which looked out over the gardens. Cromer crabs were on the menu. What a treat.