Welcome to my 400th blog. I never knew if I had enough stamina to keep it going, I mean how much can one write about your life or how many opinions can you express? I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing life with bloggers far and wide.
As a fitting subject, today I visited another country house in our fair and green land. Sledmere House is situated in the north of the East Riding of Yorkshire in beautiful rolling hills. This Georgian house, partly destroyed by fire in 1911 was rebuilt sympathetically between 1912 and 1917 and it is a magnificent edifice, the home of the Sykes family, more accurately Sir Tatton Sykes, 8th Baronet. Regrettably, there was no photography allowed in the house so forgive the photograph overload.
The day started badly in that the rain forecast duly arrived in the early hours of the morning and the journey up there was through heavy persistent rain. On arrival, as if by an order, the rain stopped and the sun started to peep through. The house is in a lovely little village, mostly estate houses belonging to the Sledmere estate and is approached along a long high brick wall adjoining the main road.
Even before we got there, you can see the most wonderful war memorial for the village on the road side - the detail is phenomenal.
The car park is under trees and the house is approached through the shop which charges £8 for full access to the house and gardens for an adult. Family and child tickets as well as concessions are cheaper. The grounds are extensive wide open spaces and immaculately kept.
Walking past the imposing house along the pea gravel drive among huge mature trees, the walled garden was the first port of call.
This is a superb garden full of colour from the moment you walk through the gate. Every imaginable cottage and flower garden species graced long paths, intermixed with a large variety of fruit trees. The second part of the walled garden is a more formal garden including vegetables. This was a real pleasure and I could have spent all day in there.
Back to the house and we were welcomed by a guide and throughout the house there were several guides, 'older' ladies who were very helpful and hugely knowledgeable. I estimate you can see around half of the house in total - the family live in another part of the house; none-the-less, it is a lived in house and is very much loved. There were many rooms to visit on the ground floor, paintings from the 16th century through to modern day, exciting furniture and there is nothing old or decrepit about it, neither is it jaded or faded. Floor coverings, beautifully decorated ceilings; it is a joy to see. This is the view out of the living room window - deer graze peacefully on the far field!
The guide book is very helpful (£4) and takes you through the house giving history and stories of reconstruction in some places. The first floor however is an absolutely shockingly and unexpectedly marvelous place. The bedrooms are wonderful and the bathroom quaint. Here's the thing, the library is the best room I've been in in my whole life. It has a hugely high vaulted ceiling lined with books, a parquet floor and sensational to see extending the full length of the house . I can't adequately describe it and it's a shame I couldn't bring you a photograph, but I am going to cheat - here's a scan from the guide book, courtesy of Sledmere House:
After the house, a short walk led us to the church within the grounds; St Mary's a lovely smallish church used by the family and the estate. It was dark inside but a half hours meditation was lovely, the silence was deafening.
This is a house I would heartily recommend and I will go so far as to say that this is definitely worth travelling to even a good old distance, you will not be disappointed.
On the way back home, you pass the Gothic style Sir Tatton Sykes (the 4th Baronet) Memorial Monument by the road side on Garton Hill. This can be seen for many miles around, like a beacon, even from the Humber Bridge on a good day. Built in 1865, it is over 100 feet high and at one time you could climb up inside it to give unparallelled views of the country, but it is no longer open to the public.
The weekend beckons and for us in the UK, it's a Bank Holiday on Monday giving us an extra day at home. The last Bank Holiday of the year before Christmas.