Saturday, 23 March 2013

Friday´s Visit to Avebury Manor and Gardens.

Avebury Manor House, that stands near the famous Stone Circle,  was the home of Sir Alexander Keiller, a member of the famous Scottish marmalade making family.  He was interested in archeology, and in the 1930's excavated the ditches, the standing stones and stone avenues,  that make up his now "World Heritage" site.   He eventually bought the 15th century manor house that stands behind the gate, and made it into a comfortable home for his family.  The house stood empty and derelict for many years, until it was bought by the National Trust, who eventually allowed the BBC to make a programme about its restoration.    As it was not possible to know exactly how each room had looked, the manor's rooms are now decorated and furnished in a variety of styles from the 15th century, to the time when Keiller lived there in the 1930´s.      

The Dovecote, now used as a video information centre, with the church in the background.  

The earliest parts of the present house were probably built after Sir William Dunch of Little Wittenham in Oxfordshire, who bought the estate in 1551.   It is thought he purchased the land because of his interest in the ancient monuments and stone circle in the area.   The house was passed down through the family to Lady Moody, Sir William´s granddaughter, who eventually emigrated to America and in 1645 founded Gravesend in Brooklyn.   The house went through many changes over the centuries, and a library was added by the Jenner family, who lived in the house in the early 20th century.

The large kitchen.

The kitchen is furnished in a style from the early Victorian period onwards.  The whole house is very "Hands on" meaning that, unlike a museum, it is possible to handle everything, open draws, stir foodstuff in mixing bowls and generally get the feel of the place.

The Edwardian Lounge.

This lounge is furnished in a 1920´s to 1940´s style.  I remember this design of chair, when visiting the home of my grandparents way back in the 1950´s.   The carpet was commissioned by the BBC programme, and woven with a pattern of cars, wheels and lamps, to commemorate Sir Alexander Keiller´s interest in motor vehicles.  Two teddies sit cosily on the green sofa.

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