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Charles Rex

Guidebook:Countryside

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Hampton Court Palace

 

Built in 1514 for Cardinal Wolsey, the Palace has been in the hands of the Crown since 1529, after the cardinal lost favor with Henry VIII. Located 11.7 miles upriver from London, it is an easy day trip for those courtiers looking for a boat excursion. The palace is of typical Tudor built, much more of a unity than the collection of buildings that are Whitehall.

 

The gardens are plain, with an open lay out. The main garden is heraldic in nature. Mythical beast statuaries dot the landscape, surrounded by minimal flowers. There is an orchard and a Privy Garden.

 

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A: West Front & Main Entrance B: Base Court C: Clock Tower D: Clock Court E: Fountain Court F: East Front G: South Front H: Banqueting House J: Great Hall K: River Thames M: East Gardens O: Cardinal Wolsey's Rooms P: Chapel.

 

Charles II, upon his restoration, rarely visited the palace, preferring his accommodations at Whitehall Palace in London. The only major change that the King has made so far was the addition of a great canal, known as the Long Water, added in 1662, based on the design of gardens in Versailles, laid out by students of Louis XIV's own landscaper, Andre Le Natre. The latest resident was lady Alyth who had an entire wing refurbished for her lying in. The Palace now resumes its vacant position.

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Athelhampton House

 

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The estate of Adminston is the country seat of the Viscounts Mountjoy and has been in the Blount family since the 13th century. The original Great Hall dates from 1485 and was much expanded during the reign of Elizabeth I with the addition of new wings and an entrance tower. Athelhampton House, as it is now known, is a calendar house, having 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 14 entrances and 7 courtyards.

 

Located 5 miles east of Dorchester the estate is known for its extensive dear park and extravagant renaissance gardens with numerous fountains and pavilions. The old garden walls are covered with pear trees which support an array of roses and clematis. The interiors are furnished in the Elizabethan style which although elegant and sumptuous in its day is now somewhat dated.

 

The house is known for two peculiarities aside from its park and gardens. During a repair of the original Great Hall a family of owls was discovered nesting in the derelict rafters. The renovation was modified to include an ingenious copula which integrated the nest into the refurbished Great Hall allowing subsequent generations of owls to continue residing within the Hall. The second oddity is that the house is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of an ape, a former pet who became accidentally locked within a hidden staircase and perished. The spirit of this lost pet is said to haunt the staircases of the house and many a night its nails have been heard scraping along the stair treads as it searches in vain for its owner.

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Basildon Estate

 

Basildon is a civil parish in the English county of Essex. Cromwell gifted Bisham Abbey as the entailed estate for Basildon.

 

Since the death of the Dowager Countess of Basildon, the mansion has undergone a grand face lift. Dark, muted colours were replaced with light fashionable fabrics. Rich, plush carpets were brought in, even some from the Ottoman Empire.

 

There were two wings to the mansion. The right was the family wing, with the masterbedroom, and the lady bedroom adjoined to the nursery. The left wing now contained guestrooms.

 

Downstairs the study also functioned as the library. There was a small family chapel upon the grounds, which could just be seen from the study. Naturally the house also held a salon, a diningroom, a breakfastroom and below the stairs the kitchen.

 

Pride and joy of the current countess were the lush gardens surrounding the house, which while geometric, also held a hint of cottage gardens with many wild looking plants and delightful colours. Wide terraces were set at the back of the mansion to be able to enjoy them in afternoon sun. The gardens contained an appletree, a large pond and a few sheds for the workmen.

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Barn Elmes

 

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Barn Elmes is located a few miles from Whitehall on the northerly loop of the River Thames between Barnes and Fulham in a quiet and rather clean stretch of river. The park and garden are expansive in the style of a country estate, and it is a frequent location of picnics and walks to the ladies and gentlemen of court. It is well-known for the outside to be open to such visitors. On any pretty afternoon punters can be found floating on the water and blankets spread out with laughter rising.

 

Once the home the Duke of Buckingham provided for his boon buddy, Abraham Cowley, and a place of secret retreat for the King and some of the literary sect, the Duke has once again decided to place those who have his patronage here. Although a far cry from the splendor of his other residences, Barn Elmes is a generously spacious three-story home with many sets of rooms, parlours, a music room, and a small hall for entertaining.

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Hardwick House & The Wilhelmina Boyle Academy of Arts

George advises to take a Ferry to cross the Thames rather than dare the dubious span of London Bridge, and then travel down on through Southwark and down Brixton Road, and once arriving at Brixton village turn left and ride on past Herne hill until you find yourself at Dulwich Village. Yes, the same Dulwich of the College for Boys.

It is but a two hour journey that brings one to the chosen retreat of the Earl of Chichester, or that might deliver him upon occasion into London town. The house is a building of some size, in reasonable condition and comfortably furnished. 

The Earls personal accommodations are in the West Wing. Out the back is the stables, and a summer house that he has settled to become his studio.

The Wilhelmina Boyle Academy of Arts: The East Wing of the house has been refurbished to serve accommodate five Artists-in-Residence.

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