Sunday, 10 July 2011

East Yorkshire's Finest House

I hope you've had a great weekend and managed, like I have, to dodge the showers. I apologise in advance, a bit of picture overload today.

Today I've been into the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds, more to the east closer to the coast but none the less in some of the prettiest land in this fair isle. In fact I've briefly visited the lovely picturesque village of Rudston in East Yorkshire and Burton Agnes Hall just four miles away.

The day started fair and sunny - balmy. Rudston is a small village but its history goes back many centuries. Of particular interest is Rudston Monolith which stands in All Saints Rudston Parish Churchyard next to the small attractive church.

This peculiar stone stands 26 feet high from the ground and was bought to the site around 4000 years ago toward the end of the Neolithic Period (
c. 4000 - 2000 B.C.) a full 2000 years before the birth of Christ. The rock is the sort that comes from the Cleveland area of the UK, many, many miles north of this hilly location. 

This tallest single standing monolith in the UK is made of moor grit conglomerate but was bought here by who and for what purpose, I guess we'll never know. However an excavation in the 18th century to discover how much of the stone was underground found many skulls suggesting it might have been a sacrificial site.

I took this picture of this bee on a roadside thistle on one of the many single track roads in the area which are quite high up offering magnificent views of the base of the Wolds looking south and to the east where today, you could see the coast and the North Sea.

Burton Agnes Hall is the most attractive of buildings and is allegedly one of the top twenty country houses in the UK according to Simon Jenkins in 'Englands Thousand Top Homes,' ranking alongside Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Chatsworth House - high praise indeed.

Originally there was a Norman manor house on this site built, staggeringly as far back as 1175, the lower chamber of which amazingly still survives. The 'modern' Elizabethan building was built between 1598 and 1610 by Sir Henry Griffith, the house has been in the same current family for fifteen generations. Although I didn't go in the house today, the weather was too nice, it is thoroughly recommended. The brochure shows its magnificence and today, it is still a family home. It cost me a fiver to get in and stay from 11am to 5 pm.

The grounds are most beautiful with an award winning walled garden and trimmed yew trees bordering a lovely fountain. Today, I spent most of the time in the walled garden.

Each of the many dozens and dozens of borders and secret gardens carries flowers of every shade, size and colour. Labels abound giving you the chance to identify the plant, many of which are for sale in the courtyard shop next to the excellent and reasonably priced cafe. There's a maze, a huge chequers board and a chess board hidden in secret gardens which abound everywhere to explore, each themed.

The garden also holds vegetables of many different varieties which feed the house, so very practical use of the garden. In total, the garden carries apparantly over 4000 different varieties of plants including a national collection of campanulas. Close to the fountain area is a woodland walk and the last time I went, which was many years ago, in spring it was full of rhododendron flowers.

Although I didn't watch it today, this weekend has been a Civil War re-enactment going on with lots of beautifully dressed men (soldiers) women and children dressed in Civil War period costume. I managed to capture them on the main drive to the house from the gatehouse (in the background) getting ready to march into battle, presumably for the last time this weekend.

Finally, here is the lovely fountain which has a few lillies and a few gold fish in it. You can just see the first of many manicured yew trees on the far right in the background which line this well kept garden.

By the way, this wire sculptured gardener provides light entertainment in the border of the wall garden quietly tending the veg.

Burton Agnes Hall is the home of the Cunliffe-Listers and their web site is very informative. Thoroughly recommended for a vist and even if you have to drive a fair way to get there, I guess it's worth the effort. I'll visit the house next time and there's even a room haunted apparantly by a Katharine Griffith who died in the house in 1620. The story of her untimely death is very sad indeed. Right up my street.

Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Chat Soon



  1. It's years since I went to Burton Agnes. Thanks for the reminder. I love the wire gardener!

  2. Hi MorningAJ
    worth a vist, the walled garden has improved 100%

  3. Oh I do so love going out and about with you, RLS. You take us to some lovely places. I love the pictures of the garden and gardener. Where are we off to next? XX

  4. Lovely wander through Burton Agnes Hall. Back in the fifties my father was commissioned to take some photographs of the hall which were then used in the brochure of that time. I still have a copy of that brochure.

  5. Hi Jarmara
    That is so kind. I'm going to try other places before the summer is out. Northern Lincolnshire I think is the next one - weather permitting of course.

    Hi ChrisJ
    What a fantastic piece of memoribilia you have and to think your dad is part of the history of this magnificent edifice at the time when the Boynton's were there?

  6. Have you done Sledmere? And there's a great art trail round Beverley to do with the old trades they had in town. And I assume you've followed the fish trail in Hull?

  7. The bee and the Thistle ! Beautiful. Did you really see it from your car?

  8. Hi MorningAJ
    Well there you go - I have never been to Sledmere House - great idea thanks. I have done the fish trail in Hull many years ago when it first started but I've never done the art trail in Beverley.

    Hi Donna
    In truth I was driving down this lovely single track road with a beautiful vista of the base of the Wolds down below in front of me and there were tantalising gaps in the hawthorne hedge to my left through which I was getting glimpses of the coastline; so I stopped the car at a small gap to look at the lovely coastal scene and hey presto! There was the bee right next to where I was standing.

  9. Love Burton Agnes and Rudston is fascinating. We have some rich history in our area. Sorry that you've been under the weather,RLS - hope you pick up soon. x

  10. Hi Elizabeth
    Thanks for popping by. Lovely areas of beauty in that neck of the woods. Getting better thanks, just the residue of a sore throat to get rid of.