Unfortunately The Vyne was covered in scaffolding when we visited. This was due to damage inflicted on the property due to severe weather earlier in the year. Parts of the property were leaking and in need of repair. The Vyne with its rich history is surrounded by gardens and woodland.
The Vyne is a warm red-bricked Tudor mansion built in the 16th century for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain, which later passed into the hands of the Chute family, who cared for the house and estate for over 300 years. It was remodelled to its present configuration in the mid-17th century with the addition of a classical portico and summerhouse, firsts of their kind in England.
Visitors will encounter 500 year-old Majolica tiles, Renaissance stained glass, and exquisite wood carvings in the Tudor chapel and period linen-fold panelling in the oak gallery. The house holds treasures collected by the Chute family, including furniture, tapestries and paintings, Murano glass and silk wall hangings. Stroll through rooms once enjoyed by notable guests like Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Horace Walpole, and Jane Austen.
The house is set in 13 acres of beautiful, relaxing gardens. Styles range from the formal summerhouse and stone gallery gardens with fine herbaceous borders, to the more natural wild garden and fruit trees of the orchard and walled garden. Nestled in the Hampshire countryside, The Vyne Estate also features acres of woodland with trails that pass by ancient trees, a medieval fishpond and the park pale. The wetlands attract an abundance of bird life. The rolling parkland grazed by cattle perfects the lakeside setting.
On our visit to Old Sarum we were treated with a fine aerobatic display from a plane that had taken off from the nearby airfield. It was only later, when I returned from my travels that I realised that it was possible to visit the airfield site. Maybe next time
Once Old Sarum was a major centre of government but all that remains today are the great earth banks and ruined remains of the former buildings.
Uniquely, it combines evidence for a royal castle and cathedral within in a massive Iron Age fortification. During the century and a half when its castle and cathedral coexisted, Old Sarum was a major centre of government.
The earliest fortification was probably raised around 400 BC. Following the arrival of the Romans, Old Sarum begins to feature in recorded history as Sorviodunum, and it was intermittently occupied during the Middle Ages, when its formidable defences became an advantage during the Danish wars of the early 11th century.
However ; it was William the Conqueror’s decision in about 1070 to build a castle in the middle of the old earthworks that was to transform the site. He effectively divided the old hillfort in two, creating an inner set of fortifications which became home to a complex of towers, halls and apartments, and a huge outer enclosure or bailey. The hillfort was also chosen as the site for the new cathedral, and under Old Sarum’s most powerful and influential bishop, Roger (1102-39), both castle and cathedral were rebuilt on a grand scale.
Yet neither castle nor cathedral remained occupied for long. In 1220 the cathedral was moved to Salisbury, in the valley below, and only a handful of people continued to live within the castle or ramparts beyond about 1400. Old Sarum lived on, however, and as a notorious ‘rotten borough’ it continued to elect members of parliament until 1832.*
Standing on top of the earthworks provides an excellent view of Salisbury Cathedral formerly known as New Sarum.
* Introduction to the English Heritage Old Sarum guidebook
Whenever I visit Avebury I always feel compelled to stop and contemplate the mysterious Silbury Hill.