"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas at Baddesley Clinton

I returned to Baddesley Clinton last Thursday with my friend as she had never seen the house decorated for Christmas.

We had a rather nice Leek and Potato soup on arrival and then made our way to the house where we greeted by a group of Mallard.

In the end I decided not to take the monopod to try and steady the camera so as I suspected, despite much alteration of the camera settings, the light was just too low for the camera. The ones below are the best of a very bad bunch so you can imagine what some of them were like!

I did take quite a lot of photos of stained armorial glass - these are memorials to Henry Ferrers (1549 - 1633) who was known as "the Antiquary" because of his scholarly pursuits.

The cropping of these photos isn't very good as I used the software which came with the camera which is pretty basic but I think the glass is beautiful.

It wouldn't be Christmas without a Ghost Story and there are several ghosts connected with Baddesley along with an indelible blood stain. I have mentioned the story before of Nicholas Brome who lived in the house in the fifteenth century and killed a priest when he saw him tickling his wife under the chin. A mark in front of the fireplace in the library was believed to be the priest's blood. However, recent tests have revealed that it is in fact pig's blood - rather spoiling the story (my children were fascinated by the blood stain when litte!).

The Ferrer family was staunchly Catholic and three Priest Holes were constructed to hide priests during the religious persecutions of Elizabeth I. Phantom footsteps heard pacing along corridors are said to belong to the long dead Catholic priests as they rushed to hide from persecutors.

In the late nineteenth century Rebecca Ferrers heard phantom footsteps and witnessed a door handle being jerked loudly close to her but she had seen no-one.

There were also reports at around the same time of the ghost of a man wearing a scarlet jacket. Rebecca Ferrers noticed the resemblance to a miniature of a Major Thomas Ferrers who fell from the ramparts of a fortress and died in France in 1817. She had a priest say mass for the Major in 1887 and his apparition was seen no more and phantom footsteps also became less frequent.

My friend and I noticed a distinct chill in the air as we left the library - probably a draught but still.................

A lovely day out in great company - thanks J.


Toffeeapple said...

I do like a good ghost story. Those windows are quite superb aren't they?
I like the natural decorations too.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Many thanks. The windows as you say are superb and its amazing to think how old they are. I like natural Christmas decorations too - I bought a display of greenery to hang up at home and all the leaves and berries and seedheads had been gathered on the estate :)

ShySongbird said...

A lovely, festive post Caroline and I think you did very well with the photos! All the stained glass is beautiful, so colourful. The chill/draught at the end of your tale, after the ghostly goings on, was perfect :-)

I too love natural Christmas decorations and always gather greenery from my garden, holly, ivy etc. to decorate the house. I like the way they have incorporated fruit and nuts. Poinsettias always look so nice and Christmassy too, the one in your photos was a beauty.

Thank you for yesterday's reply...which I understood completely. I may well look into that idea :-)

Pete said...

love the glass. and the mallard meeters and greeters:D

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Many thanks Jan :) Glad you liked the Stained Glass too and the ghostly goings on!

The decorations were rather inspiring :) I have a Christmas Tree in what is now a huge tub that I put in the porch each year although have to admit we do have a fake tree in the house. I love Poinsettias but they never last long for me - I am not very good with house plants. I think I over water them!

Good luck if you decide to join the local Club.

Pete - the glass is rather lovely. Did you see the rather interesting feature tonight on the One Show on church stained glass?