Ashcombe House, Somerset
Ashcombe House at Swainswick, north-east of Bath in Somerset, England is a Gothic revival country house. It is a Grade II listed building. Ashcombe House stands on the slopes of the Lam Valley in 25 acres of grounds, it dates from the early nineteenth century, was altered in the late nineteenth century. It started life as a hunting lodge, there are the remains of the former kennels in the grounds; the 1900 1:10,560 scale Ordnance Survey map shows the building was known at that time as Ashcombe Farm, with Ashcombe Wood lying to the north-east of it. The house has a rear wing constructed from a converted coach house and stables, has nine bedrooms and six reception rooms, including a Georgian ballroom; the house was on the market in 2003 for £1.6 million. Musician Peter Gabriel rented the property between 1978 and 1987 as his family home and converted the house's barn into his home studio, where he recorded three of his albums: his 1982 album Peter Gabriel known as 4; the track "My Secret Place" from the Joni Mitchell album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm was recorded at Gabriel's studio at Ashcombe House in 1986, as were parts of the 1987 Robbie Robertson album Robbie Robertson.
Images of England page on the house Photos of the house
Baron Arundell of Wardour
Baron Arundell of Wardour, in the County of Wiltshire, was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1605 for Thomas Arundell, known as "Thomas the Valiant", son of Sir Matthew Arundell and grandson of Sir Thomas Arundell and of Margaret Howard, a sister of Queen Catherine Howard. Arundell had been created a Count of the Holy Roman Empire by Rudolph II in December 1595, he was succeeded by the second Baron. He fought as a Royalist in the Civil War and was mortally wounded at the Battle of Stratton in 1643, his son, the third Baron, was implicated in the Popish Plot and imprisoned in the Tower of London for six years. However, after the accession of James II he was restored to favour and served as Lord Privy Seal from 1687 to 1688, his great-great-great-grandson, the eighth Baron, was an avid collector of art and accumulated immense debts in building and furnishing New Wardour Castle. He was succeeded by his cousin, the ninth Baron, he was younger son of the sixth Baron. On his death the titles passed to the tenth Baron.
He voted against the only Catholic peer to do so. He was succeeded by his younger brother, the eleventh Baron. Two of the eleventh Baron's son, the twelfth and thirteenth Barons, succeeded in the title; the latter was a Roman Catholic priest. On the thirteenth Baron's death the title passed to his third cousin once removed, the fourteenth Baron, he was the great-grandson of Thomas Raymond Arundell, younger son of the aforementioned the Hon. James Everard Arundell, younger son of the sixth Baron, he was succeeded by his younger brother, the fifteenth Baron. When he died the titles passed to his son, the sixteenth Baron, he was killed in action in 1944 during the Second World War. On his death the barony became extinct. John Richard Arundell, 10th Baron Talbot de Malahide is the son of Reginald John Arthur Talbot, who in 1945 assumed by Royal licence the surname and arms of Arundell, and, the great-grandson of Admiral The Hon. Sir John Talbot and his wife Mabile Mary Arundell, daughter of Hon. Robert Arthur Arundell, fourth son of James Everard Arundell, 9th Baron Arundell of Wardour and Charlotte Stuart Parkin, youngest daughter of Dr. Henry Parkin, RN, Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets.
The Barons took their title from Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, now ruined. Thomas Arundell, 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour Henry Arundell, 3rd Baron Arundell of Wardour Thomas Arundell, 4th Baron Arundell of Wardour Henry Arundell, 5th Baron Arundell of Wardour Henry Arundell, 6th Baron Arundell of Wardour Henry Arundell, 7th Baron Arundell of Wardour Henry Arundell, 8th Baron Arundell of Wardour James Everard Arundell, 9th Baron Arundell of Wardour James Everard Arundell, 10th Baron Arundell of Wardour Henry Benedict Arundell, 11th Baron Arundell of Wardour John Francis Arundell, 12th Baron Arundell of Wardour Everard Aloysius Gonzaga Arundell, 13th Baron Arundell of Wardour Edgar Clifford Arundell, 14th Baron Arundell of Wardour Gerald Arthur Arundell, 15th Baron Arundell of Wardour John Francis Arundell, 16th Baron Arundell of Wardour In 1595, Thomas Arundell to become the first Baron Arundell of Wardour, was created a hereditary Count of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Rudolph II for his military service in Hungary against the Turks.
This grant occasioned much controversy on his return to England over its effect on his English precedence and the legitimacy of foreign titles in England. The Arundell family thus held titles of nobility from different countries, governed by different rules. While their English titles descend according to strict primogeniture, the title of Count under the law of the Holy Roman Empire belonged to all male-line descendants of the original grantee in perpetuity. Arundell family Baron Talbot of Malahide Vivian, J. L.. "Pedigree of Arundell of Wardour". The Visitations of Cornwall: comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1530, 1573 & 1620. L. Vivian. Exeter: W. Pollard; the Latin text of the patent and translation http://www.leighrayment.com/ http://www.thepeerage.com/
Starting in the Middle Ages, a squire was the shield- or armour-bearer of a knight. At times, a squire acted as a knight's errand runner. Use of the term evolved over time. A squire was a knight's apprentice. A village leader or a lord of the manor might be called a squire, still the term applied to key public figures, such as justices of the peace or members of parliament. In contemporary American usage, squire is the title given to justices of the peace or similar local dignitaries. Squire is a shortened version of the word esquire, from the Old French escuier, itself derived from the Late Latin scutarius, in medieval or Old English a scutifer; the Classical Latin equivalent was armiger. The most common definition of squire refers to the Middle Ages. A squire was a teenaged boy, training to become a knight. A boy became a squire at the age of 14. Squires were the second step after having served as a page. Boys served a knight as an attendant or shield carrier, doing simple but important tasks such as saddling a horse or caring for the knight's weapons and armour.
The squire would sometimes carry the knight's flag into battle with his master. A knight took his squire into battle and gave him a chance to prove himself. If he proved his loyalty and skill in battle, he would have a "dubbing", an official ceremony that made him a knight. However, during the Middle Ages, the squire's rank came to be recognized in its own right; the connection between a squire and any particular knight ended, as did any shield-carrying duties. The typical jobs of a squire included: Carrying the knight's armour and sword Guarding prisoners Ensuring an honourable burial for a knight Replacing an injured or killed horse Dressing the knight in armour Carrying the knight's flag Protecting the knight Taking care of the horses Accompanying the knight to tournaments and the battlefield Maintaining the knight's equipment Scrubbing armour The young King Arthur served as Sir Kay's squire in the traditional tale of the sword in the stone that appears in literary works, including Le Morte d'Arthur and The Once and Future King.
One of the pilgrim-storytellers in The Canterbury Tales is a squire. In Cervantes's Don Quixote, the babbling Sancho Panza serves as squire of the deluded Don. In the children's book The Castle in the Attic, the protagonist William serves as the squire of Sir Simon, a knight from the Middle Ages who got transported to the present. In English village life from the late 17th century to the early 20th century, there was one principal family of gentry, owning much of the land and living in the largest house, maybe the manor house; the head of this family was the lord of the manor and called "the squire". Lords of the manor held the rank of esquire by prescription. Squires were gentlemen with a coat of arms and were related to peers. Many could claim descent from knights and had been settled in their inherited estates for hundreds of years; the squire lived at the village manor house and owned an estate, comprising the village, with the villagers being his tenants. If the squire "owned the living" of the parish church — and he did — he would choose the rector, a role filled by a younger son of the squire of that or another village.
Some squires became the local rector themselves and were known as squarsons. The squire would have performed a number of important local duties, in particular that of justice of the peace or member of Parliament; such was the power of the squires at this time that modern historians have created the term'squirearchy'. Politically, during the 19th century, squires tended to be Tories, whereas the greatest landlords tended to be Whigs; the position of squire was traditionally associated with occupation of the manor house, which would itself confer the dignity of squire. It is unclear how the village squire may still be said to survive today, but where it does, the role is more dependent upon a recognition of good manners and long family association rather than land, while relevant, is nowadays to be smaller than in former years due to high post-war death duties and the prohibitive costs associated with maintaining large country houses. In Scotland, whilst esquire and gentleman are technically used at the Court of the Lord Lyon, the title laird, in place of squire, is more common.
Moreover, in Scotland, lairds append their territorial designation to their names as was traditionally done on the mainland of Europe. The territorial designation fell into disuse in England early on. Traditional Education Squires did not receive much of any traditional education in the years that they were squires; the form of squire as a gentleman appears in much of English literature, for example in the form of Squire Trelawney in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. William Makepeace Thackeray depicted a squire in Vanity Fair as a lecherous, ill-educated, badly mannered relic of an earlier age. However, he shows their control of the life of the parish. Others include Squire Hamley in Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters and Squire Allworthy in the novel Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, himself a squire and magistrate. There is a notable squire in Cormac McCarthy's Outer Dark and Charles Reade's 1856 novel It is Never Too Late to Mend, where the squire uses his authority to abuse the postal and judicial services.
In the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'B
Bath Stone is an oolitic limestone comprising granular fragments of calcium carbonate. Obtained from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines under Combe Down, England, its warm, honey colouring gives the World Heritage City of Bath, its distinctive appearance. An important feature of Bath Stone is that it is a'freestone', so-called because it can be sawn or'squared up' in any direction, unlike other rocks such as slate, which forms distinct layers. Bath Stone has been used extensively as a building material throughout southern England, for churches and public buildings such as railway stations; some quarries are still in use, but the majority have been converted to other purposes or are being filled in. Bath Stone is an oolitic limestone comprising granular fragments of calcium carbonate laid down during the Jurassic Period when the region, now Bath was under a shallow sea. Layers of marine sediment were deposited, individual spherical grains were coated with lime as they rolled around the sea bed, forming the Bathonian Series of rocks.
Under the microscope, these grains or ooliths are sedimentary rock formed from ooids: spherical grains composed of concentric layers. That name derives from the Hellenic word òoion for egg. Oolites consist of ooids of diameter 0.25–2 mm. Rocks composed of ooids larger than 2 mm are called pisolites, they contain minute fragments of shell or rock, sometimes decayed skeletons of marine life. Bath stone was taken from the Bath Oolite Member and the Combe Down Member of the Chalfield Oolite Formation, part of the Great Oolite Group. An important feature of Bath Stone is that it is a freestone, one that can be sawn or'squared up' in any direction, unlike other rocks such as slate, which forms distinct layers. In the Roman and Medieval periods, Bath Stone was extensively used on domestic and civil engineering projects such as bridges; the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, founded in 1738, was designed by John Wood the Elder, built with Bath stone donated by Allen. It is a Grade II listed building.
There is a fine pediment on the building, in Bath stone, which depicts the parable of the good Samaritan. St Stephens church, situated on Lansdown Hill in Bath, was constructed from a limestone sourced from the Limpley Stoke mine, situated in the Limpley Stoke Valley; the church has been restored. The material has been used outside Bath itself. Claverton Pumping Station at Claverton, built of Bath Stone in about 1810, pumps water from the River Avon to the Kennet and Avon Canal, using power from the flow of the River Avon; the stone was used for the Dundas Aqueduct, 150 yards long, has three arches built of Bath Stone, with Doric pilasters, balustrades at each end. Much of Bristol Cathedral was built of Bath Stone, the Wills Tower, the dominant feature of the Wills Memorial Building, is constructed in reinforced concrete faced with Bath and Clipsham stone. Bristol's Cabot Tower was faced with Bath Stone. Arno's Court Triumphal Arch was built from Bath stone in about 1760, was dismantled before being rebuilt in its current location.
Bath Stone was favoured by architect Hans Price, who designed much of 19th century Weston-super-Mare. In Barnstable, the 1855 construction of Butchers Row used Bath Stone. In London, the neo-classical Georgian mansion Lancaster House was built from Bath Stone in 1825 for the Duke of York and Albany, the second son of King George III, as was St Luke's Church, Chelsea in 1824, several other churches, including Church of Christ the King, were built from the material. Apsley House, the town house of the Dukes of Wellington, was remodelled by the 1st Duke, using in Bath Stone cladding over the original red brick. In Reading, the original building of the Royal Berkshire Hospital of 1839, together with the wings added in the 1860s, are built of Bath Stone, with slate roofs, they are now listed grade II* by English Heritage. In 1860, the nearby Reading railway station, incorporating a tower and clock, was constructed by the Great Western Railway using Bath Stone, the company used it for Chippenham railway station.
Other mansions which have used Bath Stone include: Gatcombe Park, Goldney Hall, South Hill Park, Spetchley Park. In 2002 the East End of Truro Cathedral was renovated and restored with some of the ornate Bath Stone replaced with harder-wearing Syreford stone. In 2005 the West Front was restored similarly. Both projects were supervised by MRDA Architects of the Cathedral architects. Bath Stone was mined underground in Somerset. In the early 18th century, Ralph Allen promoted the use of the stone in Bath itself, demonstrated its potential by using it for his own mansion at Prior Park. Following a failed bid to supply stone to buildings in London, Allen wanted a building which would show off the properties of Bath Stone as a building material, he acquired the stone quarries at Bathampton Down Mines. Hitherto, the quarry masons had always hewn stone providing blocks of varying size. Wood required stone blocks to be cut with clean edges for his distinctive classical façades; the distinctive honey-coloured Bath Stone was used to build the Georgian city.
Stone was extracted by the "room and pillar" method, by which chambers were mined, leaving pillars of stone to support the roof. Allen built a railway line from his mine on Combe Down which carried the stone down the hill, now known as Ralph Allen Drive, which runs beside Prior Park
Edith Maud Olivier MBE was an English writer noted for acting as hostess to a circle of well-known writers and composers in her native Wiltshire. Olivier was born in Wilton, of Huguenot stock, her father being Canon of Wilton, her mother the daughter of a bishop, she was one of ten children. After receiving schooling at home, Olivier went up to St Hugh's College, Oxford in 1895, but completed only four terms before leaving because of asthma, she was related to the actor Laurence Olivier through her paternal grandfather, Henry Stephen Olivier, through one of his other sons, was the actor's great grandfather. Until his death in 1919 her life was dominated by her father, both autocratic and conservative, she served on the Women's Diocesan Council. Olivier undertook activities in the Conservative Party, Women's Institute. In 1916, at the behest of the Wiltshire county agricultural committee, Olivier helped form the Women's Land Army in Wiltshire, for which she was rewarded in 1920 with an MBE; when she was elected to Wilton Town Council in 1934, she became the first woman to serve on the council, was mayor from 1938 to 1941.
As mayoress it was her responsibility to house the children and mothers of babies evacuated from London. Southern Command was based at Wilton and every bedroom in her house was occupied by a lodger, she describes this in Night Thoughts of a Country Landlady humorously illustrated by her close friend, the artist Rex Whistler. Her public service during the Second World War included the presidency of the local St John Ambulance Brigade. Born at Wilton Rectory, Edith grew up playing in and worshipping the neighbouring house and gardens of Wilton House. George Lord Pembroke and his wife Gety were childless and encouraged the young Olivier children to spend time with them and to play with their nephews and nieces; when Edith's widower father Canon Dacres Olivier retired before the First World War and her sister Mildred moved with him to No.20 in Salisbury's Cathedral Close. Her father died the year the war ended, after a short spell renting at Fitz House, the two 40 year old Olivier sisters moved into the old dairy house on the Wilton estate in 1920.
This was at the request of childhood friend Reginald, Lord Pembroke, who had inherited Wilton from his uncle in 1913. Wilton and Wiltshire were her lifelong passions. “Of all the neighbours on whom I grew to rely more and more, Edith Olivier was always the most cherished. So many of the young writers and poets came to her with problems about their work and their lives and they knew that after she had listened intently to their outpourings, her advice would be unprejudiced and Christian.” – Cecil Beaton In her nightly journal – missed only three times: when her brother Harold was killed fighting in 1914, her sister Mildred died from breast cancer in 1923 and her closest friend Rex Whistler was killed jumping from his tank in 1944 – Edith recorded a way of life and a generation that vanished with the outbreak of the second world war. She describes the ‘Bright Young Things’ on the Earl of Pembroke's estate at Wilton and at nearby Ashcombe, Cecil Beaton's house, first discovered by Edith, she writes of her close friendships with neighbours Stephen Tennant, his mother, wife of Sir Edward Grey, the poet Sir Henry Newbolt, painters Henry Lamb and Augustus John.
Her book on her beloved Wiltshire in the County Book series was published posthumously by her niece Miss Rosemary Olivier who continued to live at the Daye House at the request of the Pembrokes, became Mayor of Wilton also. It was, it was that she formed a profound friendship with Rex Whistler and acted as a frequent hostess to an elite and social set which included Cecil Beaton, Siegfried Sassoon, William Walton, Osbert Sitwell. She describes them vividly in her journals:Cecil Beaton: ‘a marble face and voice’ John Betjeman: ‘cleaner than I expected… loves Georgian churches’ Lady Diana Cooper: ‘I have never seen anyone else look what I think Helen of Troy must have looked’ Siegfried Sassoon: ‘such fun to tell things to. Laughs so utterly’ Edith Sitwell: ‘bitter against the world in general, comprehending towards individuals when she knows about them’ Stephen Tennant: ‘dazzling in his inspired wit and vision’ William Walton: ‘a domestic man, ready to help in all household emergencies’ Rex Whistler: ‘a reincarnation of Breughel’Her first novel, The Love Child was published in 1927, was followed by further novels, including one of Alexander Cruden, the autobiographical Without Knowing Mr Walkley.
In her autobiography Without Knowing Mr Walkley, she has a chapter called Things Past Explaining. As she says, ‘Inexplicable things do happen to me, although I do not call myself ‘psychic’’ as people say. One midsummer's night at the Daye House she woke to hear something thud onto the floor by her bed, it was an old-fashioned tennis racket. She never solved the mystery of its arrival; the windows and door to her room were closed. There was no-one in the house. ‘If it was an apport left by a passing spirit, I can only say that the sense of humour of those in another world is different from ours. Twice, whilst visiting Land’s End, she saw a fortified city some miles out in the Atlantic. ‘It was a jumble of towers, domes and battlements.’ On the first occasion she thought it must be the Scilly Isles but a passing coastguardsman corrected her and dismissed her as an ‘imbecile.’ She saw the city again when ‘the atmospheric conditions were
A manor house was the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; the term is today loosely applied to various country houses dating from the late medieval era, which housed the gentry. They were sometimes fortified, but this was intended more for show than for defence. Manor houses existed in most European countries where feudalism existed, where they were sometimes known as castles, so on; the lord of the manor may have held several properties within a county or, for example in the case of a feudal baron, spread across a kingdom, which he occupied only on occasional visits. So, the business of the manor required to be directed and controlled by regular manorial courts, which appointed manorial officials such as the bailiff, granted copyhold leases to tenants, resolved disputes between manorial tenants and administered justice in general. A large and suitable building was required within the manor for such purpose in the form of a great hall, a solar might be attached to form accommodation for the lord.
Furthermore, the produce of a small manor might be insufficient to feed a lord and his large family for a full year, thus he would spend only a few months at each manor and move on to another where stores had been laid up. This gave the opportunity for the vacated manor house to be cleaned important in the days of the cess-pit, repaired, thus such non-resident lords needed to appoint a steward or seneschal to act as their deputy in such matters and to preside at the manorial courts of his different manorial properties. The day-to-day administration was carried out by a resident official in authority at each manor, who in England was called a bailiff, or reeve. Although not built with strong fortifications as were castles, many manor-houses were fortified, which required a royal licence to crenellate, they were enclosed within walls or ditches which also included agricultural buildings. Arranged for defence against roaming bands of robbers and thieves, in days long before police, they were surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge, were equipped with gatehouses and watchtowers, but not, as for castles, with a keep, large towers or lofty curtain walls designed to withstand a siege.
The primary feature of the manor house was its great hall, to which subsidiary apartments were added as the lessening of feudal warfare permitted more peaceful domestic life. By the beginning of the 16th century, manor houses as well as small castles began to acquire the character and amenities of the residences of country gentlemen, many defensive elements were dispensed with, for example Sutton Place in Surrey, circa 1521. A late 16th-century transformation produced many of the smaller Renaissance châteaux of France and the numerous country mansions of the Elizabethan and Jacobean styles in England. Before around 1600, larger houses were fortified for true defensive purposes but as the kingdom became internally more peaceable after the Wars of the Roses, as a form of status-symbol, reflecting the position of their owners as having been worthy to receive royal licence to crenellate; the Tudor period of stability in England saw the building of the first of the unfortified great houses, for example Sutton Place in Surrey, circa 1521.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII resulted in many former monastical properties being sold to the King's favourites, who converted them into private country houses, examples being Woburn Abbey, Forde Abbey, Nostell Priory and many other mansions with the suffix Abbey or Priory to their name. During the second half of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and under her successor King James I the first mansions designed by architects not by mere masons or builders, began to make their appearance; such houses as Burghley House, Longleat House, Hatfield House are among the best known of this period and seem today to epitomise the English country house. Nearly every large medieval manor house had its own deer-park adjoining, emparked by royal licence, which served as a store of food in the form of venison. Within these licensed parks deer could not be hunted by royalty, nor by neighbouring land-owners nor by any other persons. During the 16th century many lords of manors moved their residences from their ancient manor houses situated next to the parish church and near or in the village and built a new manor house within the walls of their ancient deer-parks adjoining.
This gave them space. The suffixes given to manor houses today have little substantive meaning, many have changed over time, thus a manor house may have been known as "Heanton House" in the 18th century and in the 19th century as "Heanton Court" and as "Heanton Satchville". "Court" was a suffix which came into use in the 16th century, contemporary topographers felt the need to explain the term to their readers. Thus the Devonshire historian Tristram Risdon clarified the term at least three times in his main work, Survey of Devon: "This now lord of these lands Sir Robert Basset hath his dwelling at Heanton-Court, in this parish, an adjunct importing a manor-house in the lord's signiory". "This Nutwell Court, which signifies a mansion-house in a signiory, came to the family of Prideaux". and regarding the manor of Yarnscombe: "Their house is called "Court", which implieth a manor house, or chief dwelling in a lordship". The biographer John Prince, (1643–1723