Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hanging Out in Northhamptonshire

We went down to visit Rachael, Paul, and Hetty in the autumn. They always have cool things to show us and this trip included a visit to a nearby 16th century ruin. The building was begun in the mid 1500s, but never completed.  
Livened New Bield
It was a part of Sir Thomas Tresham's manor and was intended to be a garden lodge, basically a party lodge (and place of secret worship, but I'll get to that in a second) that the family and friends could walk to from the manor house by way of orchards, terraces, and canals. 
Graffiti circa 1792
Sir Thomas Tresham was a very wealthy landowner during the Tudor period and a devout Catholic. After Henry VIII separated from the Catholic church it was very dangerous to continue practicing Catholicism. The Tresham family did not want to change religions, so the garden lodge was also a place where they could privately worship. 
Graffiti circa 1824
For many years historians didn't know what happened to the home owners or why the garden lodge was never completed. But in 1832 someone found notes and letters concealed in the walls of the manor house that detail the fall of the Tresham family. 
Catholic Images
Using the found notes, historians have been able to piece together the fact that Sir Thomas was a threat to the crown and suffered financial setbacks before his death in 1605. After his death the tradesmen put down their tools and never worked on the garden lodge again. A few years after his death Sir Thomas' son, Francis, was identified as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot (AKA Guy Fawkes debacle) and all of the lands were striped from the Tresham family. 
Three distinct stories
The garden lodge has sat, unfinished, since the fall of the family Tresham for over 400 years. As you can see, in photos above, people have been hanging out in the abandoned, half-built building throughout that time. Some of them even carved graffiti in the stone. I'd imaging many a teenage kegger (or whatever the equivalent was back in the day) has taken place within this shell of an almost building. 
Gorgeous views
Paul, Rachael's husband, is a archaeologist and helped many years ago uncovering some of the garden features that had once been prominent during the Elizabethan era. Things like the canals, terraces, and mounts in the photos below. 
Planned canal and garden house as seen from the top of the mount
Purpose-built canal
Planned terraced mount
And we had sweet Hetty there to keep us all in check. Bill took the last photo below, but he was there, too!
Sweet Hetty
Me and the Stampers

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