by Ann Lethbridge
The house and park at Stourhead were a wonderful surprise.
Here is the house as seen in 1817. Did you fall in love yet? Could the house be any grander?
Note the blocked windows at the end of the wing. I don't have an explanation for it, or at least not as yet, except that it may have been another of those window tax cost savings.
And there are our Regency folk, walking on the drive with sheep on the lawn. One way to keep the grass under control.
But let us start at the beginning.
Stourhead was originally owed by the ancient Barons Stourton, who had lived there since Saxon times and the property then was called Stourton House. That house was demolished in 1717 after it was purchased by Henry Hoare I. The Hoares were and are bankers. They still own the last of the privately owned banks in England. And our Regency characters, those of the nobility, might well have banked with Hoare's Bank.
Not all of the the Stourtons was wiped off the map, because part of the Stourhead estate contains the village of Stourton.
One walks through the village to get to the house and grounds.
While the village has a love parish church, St Peter's, pictured here, there are only about five or so actual dwellings in the village proper.
It really is enchanting. It feels like a trip back in time.
We were there in the very last days of May and I think you can see how lush and green everything was from this picture and the spray of roses up the side of the house was so typical of so many cottages and houses that we saw on our travels.
Next time we are going to take a ramble in the park itself.