"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

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Hanbury Hall - Part 2: The House

As mentioned in the last post Hanbury Hall was built in the early 18th century by Thomas Vernon (1654-1721), a successful London lawyer, as his country retreat. Bowater Vernon (1683 - 1735) inherited the estate from Thomas and immediately set about the squandering the fortune he had been left.

I found the story of Emma Vernon (1755-1818) particularly interesting. She married Henry Cecil, heir to the 9th Earl of Exeter and they lived together at Hanbury but Emma fell in love with the local church curate - a William Sneyd. Unable to continue living a double life she confessed to her husband Henry and promised to give up Sneyd and be a faithful wife. However, when she went to say goodbye to William at a Birmingham coaching inn she gave Henry the slip, escaped out of a window and ran off with Sneyd to Portugal. She did eventually return to the Hanbury area following Sneyd's early death and later married a local lawyer. She finally moved back in the Hall after the death of her first husband Henry. Following Emma's escape to Portugal, Henry exiled himself to Shropshire where he lived as a gentleman farmer falling in love with and marrying a local farmer's daughter, Sarah Higgins. When Henry finally returned to his landed status she became known as the "Cottage Countess".

This photo of the Cupola is taken from the guide - it was another occasion when I could have done with the zoom on the Canon bridge camera!

Sorry for the quality of some of the photos - usual story of low light and low shutter speed!

Main Hall (Great Hall)

Drawing Room (Great Parlour)

Dining Room (Withdrawing Room) - this was my favourite room.

Sitting Room (My Lady's Parlour)

The Great Staircase - Sir James Thornhill's (1675/6-1734) paintings show the story of Achilles - a great hero of the Trojan War recorded in "The Iliad" by Homer. Other works by Thornhill include the Painted Hall at Greenwich Hospital and the Cupola of St Paul's Cathedral.

The Cedar Bedroom - this was the bedroom of Lady Georgina, wife to Sir Henry Vernon (the first baronet)

The Blue Bedroom - the worsted damask hanging around the bed dates from the 1730's.

The Hercules Bedroom with views of the Sunken Parterre

After looking round the Hall we sat in the Parterre for a while and

then went and had another cup of tea (it was very hot the day we visited). I managed to resist the scones!

Finally, a quick look round the shop and second hand bookshop (for once I didn't make a purchase!).

It will soon be conker collecting time.

The Eastern gazebo - the Moorish looking window was designed by R W Billings.

It was a lovely day out and I hope we can return perhaps in the Spring to explore the parkland and look for veteran oaks - remnants of the Feckenham Forest. The Parish Church of St Mary in Hanbury also looks well worth a visit - it is located on top of an Iron Age Hill Fort (Alfred Watkins (leylines) would be thrilled :)

The Strange Things You see on Motorways

On the outward journey the M42 was very congested :( so I amused myself spotting unusual items.

An interesting registration number!

The dreaded Active Traffic Management System was in use (I am sure this causes more problems than it is supposed to solve!) and just ahead is an unusual car wrapped up like a parcel

and here's a better view when we overtook it.

I've never seen anything like it before unless it is a brand new car being delivered somewhere - all protectively wrapped up?


Wendy said...

I love the story of Emma and Henry and their tangled relationships. It is interesting, too, that both the house and gardens give a real sense of the 1700s. The Victorians and later generations don't appear to have erased much from that time. I look forward to reading all about the veteran oaks after your spring visit.
The car is very strange!

Margaret Adamson said...

Great tosee the inside of the house. Don't think I would like that number plate and that car all wrapped up is strange

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy Thanks so much. I loved the Emma and Henry story too - would make a great book :) You can get some interesting snippets from the NT Guide book. I will try and find a portrait of Emma when we go back and take a photo! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the car!! :)

Margaret Adamson - thanks very much. I wouldn't like the number plate either! :) Car was most peculiar!

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

far too posh for an oik like me!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - My husband isn't keen either Simon - he disappeared half way round as he had had enough!

Caroline Gill said...

I spent a lovely day with relations in the grounds some time ago - again a very hot day. The parterre gardens are superb. I adore this kind of garden for the vibrancy of colour and all the insects the flowers attract. But I have yet to venture inside the hall. I'm glad you liked my kingfisher pics. That kind of avian serendipity has only happened to me once before, and that was on an early visit to Minsmere when, after a predominantly East Anglian childhood of no Bittern sightings, I entered the Bittern Hide and ... guess what!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks Caroline - if you return the inside of the hall is worth a visit. I liked the parterre gardens the best - they really were superb. I was so chuffed for you to get those great photos and loved your story about the Bittern :) I didn't see one when we came to Norfolk but have seen them at Brandon Marsh and Ladywalk NR's and heard them boom at Leighton Moss :)

Hello September said...

Just stumbled upon your blog. I LOVE the layout design and am wondering if you would be so kind as to share the name of the template. Thanks so much!

Ragged Robin said...

Hello September - Welcome to my blog and thank you for your very kind comment. I just use the very basic blogger design which you can find under layout.

There is a favicon box at the top for the blog address then a navbar then a header for blog title then croscol for the waxwing photo - all found under blogger's own options. The main box is for blog posts and then down the right hand side I have added "gadgets" e.g. About Me, Blogger List, Followers, Labels. When I first set the blog up I kept it private and played around with Blogger's own designs until I got what I wanted - believe me it is very very basic you see much more complicated blog designs! When I create a new post I don't have many options using such a basic blog design but I can add bold, underline, italics, (and I have just finally discovered how to add links!!). For photos click insert image and choose your file and I stick with the medium size centred. Hope that helps.

John Scurr said...

Re number plates you wouldn't want.

I found this on someone else's blog!


Hope the link works.

Thanks for the comments about the Heraldry Book on Baddesley Clinton, I shall keep an eye out for that.


Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - I can't get the link to work (tried copying and paste) which is a shame but I did find his twitter feed and one photo with number plate Publish - I suspect you mean a different one so I will scroll through older tweets!

I was at Baddesley today - didn't see the heraldry book and forgot to ask if they still had it :( So sorry - will try and remember next time I go!

John Scurr said...

Sorry the link wouldn't work. The picture was in the comments on the numberplate PUB 115 H, the plate was AM 15 ERY, but it's all in the spacing.

Don't worry about the Baddesley book, the chances of me getting down to The Midlands is fairly slim at the moment.

Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - Not to worry John - I did see the Publish tweet but didn't check replies! :( I wouldn't want the plate AM 15 ERY !!!! :)

I've got a feeling that when I bought the Baddesley book there were several on the same theme and I just bought the one (at about £10 each hard to justify buying more!) but when I returned some years later with a friend and asked if the others were still available I was met with a blank look! :( But I will remember next time I go to make enquiries as I was keen on getting them all (have a feeling there was one on an animal/bird theme) (ps even if you can't get down here at the moment you may return at some time in the future so if I have any joy will let you know!)