Woodchester Mansion and Park

S1051995 copyNympsfield, Near Stroud, Gloucestershire

8th and 9th July 2016                                                    Photos by Hetty

Woodchester Mansion is owned by Stroud District Council and managed by the Woodchester Mansion Trust. The Park is owned by the National Trust

We walked the long route down through the 18th/19th century landscaped park, by the five lakes, and back up to the car park, then returned next day to visit the Mansion.

Click here for map of walk           8 miles, 4 hours 40 mins

Mr H plays the musical logs, and has a swing

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By 1610 there was a hunting lodge in a deer park, and in 1631 the Dulcie family bought the estate. The hunting lodge was enlarged and by 1750 it was a house called Spring Park. Capability Brown landscaped the grounds, removed the formal gardens, and created the lakes from fish ponds. After more alterations the estate was sold to William Leigh in 1840

This was part of the stables of Lord Dulcie’s Georgian house, which could accommodate 8 carriages and 18 horses

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Jacobs sheep and Belted Galloway cattle

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One of the 5 lakes – each one higher than the other and made by a huge dam

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Parkmill Pond

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Kennett Pond

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Honeywell Pond

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Restored Boat House on Middle Pond – early 18oos

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Woodchester Mansion

William Leigh bought the estate in 1845  and had the Georgian House demolished – on the advice of Pugin (who designed the Houses of Parliament). The architects were Charles Hansom (whose brother invented the Hansom carriage) and Benjamin Bucknall, and it is built like a church. The house was abandoned in 1873, when only the shell was complete, but the money ran out. It allows a fascinating look at how the house was constructed, as it is a Victorian masterpiece. The Woodchester Mansion Trust started restoration in 1992, but they will not finish it. Read about its history here.

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A model of how the finished house would look

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It has lots of carving

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Between these two parts of the building is the chapel, which is covered in scaffolding and on the list to be restored:

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Gargoyles throw rainwater away from the walls

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Work stopped before the floors were put in here

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A new carving based on an old one

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Tools were left behind

S1052051 copyThis little chap is in the laundry and rainwater from the roof would come out of his mouth to be used

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In the chapel a mirror allows an easier view of the ceiling

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This gallery would have been seen from Mr Leigh’s private gallery opposite, which was not so decorated

S1052060 copySpiral stairs to the gallery – like a castle

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S1052068 copyThe ceiling of this corridor is only part finished

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The drawing room is the only room to be finished – after William Leigh’s death

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Everything is made of stone – even the curtain pelmets

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This would have been the library on the ground floor

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This was to be the dining room. It still has the wooden centring for the arch, and a wooden ladder

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The grand staircase from the corridor

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The bosses were never carved – how were they going to do that in-situ?

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S1052122 copyThis would have been the sink for the ladies loo

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The floor has not been put over the vaulting from below

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In the courtyard are a row of owls

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Even the bath was carved from a solid block of stone, with water to come from the mouths of gargoyles

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S1052135 copyThe shower water too – only cold though, the other was for a pull chain.

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The fireplace in the bathroom

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Even the down pipes are made of stone

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The chapel seen across the central courtyard

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It  feels like it would have been a very cold house to live in, if it had been finished


All images on the website copyright of HettyHikes.co.uk

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