Monday, 23 September 2013

A Thursday visit to Kelmscott Manor, the home of the Artist William Morris.

Members of the "Lawrence Society of Art" make their way through the front entrance of Kelmscott Manor,  the summer home of the writer, artist and designer William Morris and his family.  Originally called Lower Farm, the house was built around 1600 for Thomas Turner, a successful yeoman farmer.  Generations of the Turner family lived in the house until 1869, when the manor passed to a cousin, Charles Hobbs, who rented it out two years later.

William Morris took over a joint lease with Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1871.  Morris described the manor house as  "a heaven on earth," and he and his family used it as a summer retreat for the rest of his life.  He died in London in 1896, and his body was returned to Kelmscott Church for burial.  His wife Jane and his daughters Jenny and May are buried alongside him in the churchyard.

Angela sits in the courtyard of the former outside wash house.  

The outside "loo" at the bottom of the garden, a rather nice little shed in which to sit and ponder the meaning of life!

The interior of the old wash house.  
Unfortunately no photography was allowed in the house itself, so this is the only interior I could "snap."  There are many photos of the interior on the internet, and a detailed history of the house on Wikipedia.

The Morris family's summer house.  
Morris particularly like the basic construction of this place to sit, with rough hewn tree trunks holding up the stone tiled roof. 

The old manor house to the left, with the later wing to the right.

After Morris's death in 1896, his widow Jane Morris continued to be occupy the house until she  was able to purchased it in 1913.  On her death, it passed to her daughter May, who, when she died in 1938, left the house to her father's university at  Oxford, but on condition that it was preserved with its contents for public access.  The university were unwilling to preserve the house as "a museum piece," and passed the manor house and land into the care of the Society of Antiquaries in 1962.   A beautiful and peaceful place to visit.

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