Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Return to Delaval Hall

We had a State Visit from Princess Charlotte a couple of weekends ago (time passes too quick these days!).  Helen and Martin brought Bill his birthday present, some exotic beer from Dunham Massey, a National Trust property near them. One of the beers is labelled 'Sanctuary from the Trenches'. 

Dunham is commemorating WWI by returning the Hall to the military hospital it was during that war (you know, like they did in Downton Abbey?). Anyhow, they came up and she had the plan of going to see Belsay Hall or the like rather than our usual routine of just sitting around admiring Charlotte.

Couldn't decide which I liked best...

I suggested Seaton Delaval Hall, as none of them had been. So that is what we did, following an enormous lunch at Shiremore Farm (a pub/restaurant).  Bill joined us up to the National Trust, our plan for the motorhome adventures being to visit some of these places rather than driving over to the continent this year.  Bill has already started planning trips to those with interwar decor, but our first trip will likely be to a place with a Mitford connection.

I've already told you all I can about Delaval Hall

It was a very cold day, but fortunately the wind wasn't bad. 

Looking up in one of the octagonal rooms either side of the front door.

The ceiling of the entry hall.

Looking through the central hall to the back of the house.

Even if the views were bad (and they are brilliant), the light
from all these enormous windows is fabulous.

The central hall of this building is having some repairs and so we couldn't see all there was. I was glad that we hadn't paid an entry fee (other than joining of course) as I would have felt a bit cheated. 

Queen Helen.  Charlotte knew the word 'king'; she's going
to be a royalist rather than a republican I gather.

In one of the octagonal rooms Helen found a children's dress up box with crowns and masks. We admired the soft, thick styrofoam like material of the masks, obviously hand crafted; Helen said they were far more comfortable than the usual store-bought masks. I thought it looked like a fun craft project.

View from the front porch (obelisk in the distance).

I told Helen this obelisk marked the spot where one of the Delaval's died of a heart attack when out riding. In fact there is another obelisk on the north side of the estate which marks that spot. I've no idea what this one commemorates, if anything. Helen told me 'obelisk' was one of her favourite words as a child. I don't think I ever encountered the word until my first visit to London.

Though the rose garden was well cut back and the parterre was bare, there were plenty of daffs in the woods beyond the tall hedge that enclosed the garden.

Speaking of fun words, have you ever met a  ha-haI still remember seeing my first ha-ha, though I can't recall where we were. 

West side ha-ha

East side ha-ha.

They are common enough around stately homes that I don't have the same reaction as earned them their name, but some are quite striking in their invisibility and a fairly brilliant idea.  


sanda said...

So they are making the house into a military hospital? It looks quite fabulous and the entry hall is somewhat reminiscent of Downton/Highcleee. I cannot imagine the expense of the refurbishment. And no I have never heard the word ha-ha in this context! HAHA

Shelley said...

Sanda - Sorry, I've confused the issue telling about two different places; never mind. There is something vaguely the same about most of these places - the scale, the gardens, the echoes of history. Hope to see Highclere Castle sometime this year....

Beryl said...

Great pictures of that house! And I like the livestock connection with the Haha. Highclere is open until May, isn't it? When we are in Ireland next week, we should get over to London and I am trying to interest my husband in spending a day visiting the Castle. (It will never happen, but he'll give in a some smaller stuff.)

Shelley said...

Beryl - I'd forgotten all about your trip to Ireland! London and Highclere Castle in addition to Ireland - that's pretty ambitious plans! Looking forward to hearing all about your trip!

Carolyn said...

What a stunning building! I would love to visit your neck of the woods one day. I take it you didn't read Asterix and Obelix as a child then?! :)