Sunday, May 22, 2022

Mosaic Monday #178: Broughton Castle

Trips to the UK are not complete without at least one castle, so here you go!  Around 1300, Sir John de Broughton, a knight of King Edward I, built his manor house in a sheltered site at the junction of three streams and surrounded it with a substantial moat.  The greater part of his house and the moat remain today.

William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, bought the house in 1377, and since then it has been in the continuous ownership of the same family.

Sir Thomas Wykeham obtained a license to "crenellate and embattle" in 1406; he added the battlement walls to the gatehouse, thus giving the medieval house a military appearance.  These changes allowed the manor house to be called a castle.  Hey honey, can we crenellate and embattle the log house?

We had a specific time to tour the castle; having arrived early, we invested the time in walking the grounds.  This flower was blooming in the high grass - it was new to me and I loved the unique texture.  Can you see what look like scales or a checkered pattern?  I learned later in the week that this is called Snake's Head Fritillary.  Most often it is purple, but it sometimes appears in white, as you can see in the collage below.

Even with the rationed tour times, the number of visitors made it difficult to take pictures.  Fortunately, my in-laws bought a pamphlet about the house, and I have it to remember the visit.  My pictures, on the other hand, focused on 'artsy' elements of interest to me!

The chapel was not a room open to visitors, but you could take pictures of the stained glass through a squint in the north-east corner of Queen Anne's Room.  The East Window contains stained glass from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, set in a 1994 window by Alfred Fisher.  The chapel is a rare example of a 14th century private chapel.  The fixed stone altar slab supported on three solid brackets and the encaustic tiles on the floor are all of the original date.  

The embroidered pillow below was in the Gallery, remodelled in the Gothic style in the 1760's and redecorated in 1970.  The gallery contains family portraits from the late 16th Century through to Geoffrey, the 18th Lord Saye & Sele who died in 1937.

The unusual compound title of Saye and Sele dates from the original creation of the Baronry in 1447.  It is partly personal, from the connection with the family's French ancestors in Normandy, the Lords Say.  It is also territorial through the ownership of the land at Seal (now on the outskirts of Sevenoaks) in Kent.  (Not sure why the modern-day spelling is Sele rather than Seal ...)

I was fascinated by the Bury Lodge Room.  The wallpaper is by Zuber of Alsace and dates from 1840.  The furniture is largely from Bury Lodge, Hambledon, Hampshire, the home of the 21st Lord Saye and Sele's maternal grandparents.  Just look at this embroidery on the bedcover!

Writing of needlework - this table cover, the work of Caroline Twisleton in 1849, traces the history of the Saye & Sele family in panels of needlepoint.

One of the side rooms had a display about Celia Fiennes (1662 - 1741).  Celia rode side-saddle through every county in England in the late 1690's - enterprising journeys at a time of highwaymen and mud-tracks for roads.  Her diaries about her excursions have become an important source of information for historians looking at life in England in this period.  In the gift shop, I bought a book that contains her diaries.

You may be wondering if there is any connection between Celia Fiennes and the well-known actor Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Schindler's List, Harry Potter films and James Bond films).  Why yes!  Ralph, and his brother Joseph (also an actor), as well as the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes are directly descended from Frederick, 16th Lord Saye & Sele.  

As usual, I was the last one to finish exploring the castle, and not seeing any of my party, I hastened to the gift shop.  Not one of them in sight.  Hmmm .... where could they be?  I made my purchase and headed back to the castle.  I found them rounding one corner, and quickly learned that I had missed a staircase to the roof.  I snuck back in and climbed the stairs.  Totally worth it!

To the right is the Ladies Garden installed by Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox in the late 1890s.  In 1895, the Gordon-Lennox family rented the Castle from John, 17th Lord Saye & Sele, and stayed for 17 years.

The castle has had its ups and downs over the years.  William Thomas, 15th Lord Saye & Selem engaged in a life of frivolity and extravagance that resulted in a twelve-day sale, disposing of the bulk of the contents in the castle.  The last items sold?  The swans on the moat.

Within a stone's throw of the gatehouse lies the parish church of St. Mary Broughton.  The church built by Sir John de Broughton is largely early 14th Century, although a 12th Century font in the church may be a survivor from an earlier building.

"Broughton ... the most beautiful of houses, medieval in a 16th century shell with Gothick additions, entered across a moat and through a gatehouse, almost a standard kit for an idyll.  There's a formal garden, great plush borders along the old ramparts and cows and sheep grazing in the water meadows beyond, overlooking all this rambling honey-coloured house ... as magical inside as out, handsome rooms lined with linenfold paneling and a splendid drawing room overlooking the moat.  My wonder at the place makes me foolish and I'm sure I gush .."  Alan Bennett, Writing Home, 1996
I may be slow in commenting this week.

****I will be taking a break from posting on 5/29.  Come back to Mosaic Monday on June 5.

Linking to Wanderlust

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  1. It was a other time than now we have here and of course very interesting, fascinating and we couldn't imaging how hard life must be. We have many things for good life now! Ad hoc I think on my washing Machine.

    Angie, I enjoyed reading. Hear about the Castle, the Church and the see the lovely embrodery.

    Thank you for sharing. Have a good week.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  2. I really enjoyed this tour Angie -- so glad to know someone else who is always last to finish the tour -- always so much I want to see and learn; I'm glad you took the time (and went back for the "upstairs" part. It's a beautiful castle. I did wonder about Ralph Fiennes and am glad you answered the question! .,.. The needlework is beautiful, but always makes me realize that I never ever would have made it out alive back in the day as I have never even been able to thread a needle!

  3. and P.S., enjoy your week off!! (I can't wait to see if my guess about where you're going is correct ;>)

  4. I can't imagine seeing so many wonderful sights like that, amazing!

  5. ...what a fabulous trip. The Fritillaries caught my eye. Thanks Angie for hosting.

  6. I very much enjoyed the tour of Broughton Castle, Angie. The embroidered pillow is so detailed and well-done! I would have gone back to see what was up the staircase, too. Have a good break!

  7. I enjoyed the tour of Broughton Castle, Angie, and so glad you were able to take photos inside as often they are not allowed. It is fascinating to think about life in that era. The statues on the tomb look so petite--I wonder if Lord and Lady were so delicate in life? The flowers and garden view from above were very beautiful, as well as the needlepoint. Enjoy your time off!

  8. Hello Angie,'The castle and grounds are beautiful. Lovely views, beautiful flowers and I love the sheep too. Wonderful sights to see! Take care, enjoy your day and the new week ahead.

  9. I have a blogging "friend" in Scotland, and I have always been envious of the castles he shares photos of - envious in wanting to visit that is. Thank you for taking us to this castle. Stay safe, happy travels, have a good week, and thank you again for the linkup.

  10. Wow! What an amazing place, Angie. England does stately homes well, and you can't get more stately than a castle! Learning history by immersion is the best way to learn it! Enjoy your week off.

  11. Beautiful captures! Castles always amaze me! Thank you for hosting! Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening at

  12. Beautiful captures! Castles always amaze me! Thank you for hosting! (Yay!!!-got the comments working!)

  13. Beautiful castle and the surroundings! I enjoyed the story.

  14. A charming! I've been wanting to do a journal with castles. You've inspired me with your travel photos. Enjoy your week!

  15. Wonderful photos and visit Angie, love English castles.

  16. Wonderful memories from your vacation in the UK! Every castle in sight must be visited if possible !

  17. Hi Angie
    Lovely castles, and grounds are perfect..

  18. i have always wanted to visit a castle, now i know i need to make that happen!! the ladies garden, wow, how lovely and creative!! thanks for coming by, have a wonderful long weekend!!

  19. Hi Angie! What a great post! I love seeing the castle and the grounds! That Snake's Head Fritillary is gorgeous, what a beautiful pattern!! ♥

  20. Dearest Angie,
    I only got around to reading your post today because we were traveling (hiking in Mallorca). I assume you're on the road too, since your linkup is down today? I hope I can link you to my current posting (still the Italy travelogue) next week, because I think you will like it - we too were in a place full of history. And so you can certainly imagine that I was very intrigued by your visit to the historic Broughton Castle. And indeed, when you mentioned the name Celia Fiennes, I had to think of Ralph and Joseph Fiennes. So she was an ancestor of the two - and obviously a very brave, special woman! The flower you are showing, which was introduced to you as Snake's Head Fritillary, is actually what we call Chessboard Flower or Chess Flower (Fritillaria meleagris). I had some in the garden but they haven't come back this year. They are quite sensitive and have become very rare in the wild...
    Wherever you are at the moment, I send you my best regards and wish you a good start into June!

  21. Amazing the house has been in the family for such a long time. What a beautiful place!!

  22. Hello Angie
    What a wonderful visit to Broughton Castle, I so enjoyed seeing your photographs.
    As we say goodbye to May, I wish you a happy month of June.

    All the best Jan


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