Thursday, 4 October 2012

In the style of Downton Abbey!

We have reached the letter D in the A - Z of Ashdown House. D is for a number of things relating to the history of Ashdown; there are the deer, for a start, since Ashdown Park or Aysshen Park as it was known then was originally a medieval deer park belonging to Glastonbury Abbey. Then there is the rather intriguing dew pond that used to exist by the coaching stables but has dried up now. And there is William Dobson, whose magnificent portrait of Prince Rupert, Colonel Murray and Colonel Russell hangs on the second landing. Oh, and it features a dog, and I have blogged previously about Boye, Prince Rupert's most famous dog.

Today what caught our eye for the letter D was a link to Downton Abbey. Fans of the programme may have seen this gorgeous house on the right, which is Sir Anthony Strallan's home in the series. It is Hall Barn in Beaconsfield, in the 17th century the home of Edmund Waller, the Poet Laureate and Royalist. The house was built before 1675 and is surrounded by 17th and early 18th century pleasure grounds, park and woodland. Waller was banished abroad for a time and travelled widely in France and Italy.

Like Lord Craven at Ashdown, Waller brought back ideas of the continental style of architecture and this is evident in the style of his "new" house at Beaconsfield, which is contemporaneous with Ashdown. The architectural similarities between the two houses are very striking. Call us biased, but we think that these two are amongst the most gorgeous houses around!


Minerva Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

I totally agree - these are definitely two of the most beautiful houses anywhere! Really enjoying this alphabet of Ashdown House.

lostpastremembered said...

Ha, you made me me laugh... I thought they were filming at Ashdown!! Sweet little house. I also love your alphabet... a lot of fun to read.

whitehorsepilgrim said...

Interesting that you mention the dew pond. Has any archaeology been carried out? It would be fascinating to learn about how it was made. One comes across actual or putative remains of dew ponds on the Downs, however research seems to be thin on the ground. Riding a horse, one becomes aware of the lack of natural ground water for beasts to drink. A few restored dew ponds would be nice! (There is what looks like a new dew pond over the hill at Sheepdrove.)

I must say that the "short-of-its-wings" Ashdown House is growing on me, though perhaps the surgery was controversial at the time.

Nicola Cornick said...

Thank you - so pleased you are all enjoying the A - Z!

Whitehorsepilgrim, I don't believe any archaeology has been carried out in the area of the dew pond. It would be a fascinating project. I have seen photographs of it and the indentation is still there in the field but I have not seen it with water in, even in the recent wet weather.

There is very little natural ground water on the top of the Downs, isn't there. Perhaps we could suggest re-introducing the Ashdown dew pond. Lovely idea!