Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A view of Wentworth Woodhouse

Following on from my recent post about the great house of the Rockinghams and Fitzwilliams at Wentworth Woodhouse -  http://onceiwasacleverboy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/wentworth-woodhouse.html  - I received this e-mail from a friend over the weekend:

Mining subsidence: Wentworth

Wentworth Woodhouse


"I went to Wentworth Woodhouse last weekend, inspired by your blogpost. I am glad I did, as I have wanted to go for a long time. You’re right to suspect, however, that it’s not really presented in the same way as a continuously inhabited country house, and it can’t really be compared to, say, Harewood. The State Rooms are by and large empty, though a few have modern furniture set up for concerts, dinners etc. The impression is of touring an abandoned house. At the same time, the Marble Salon is a truly magnificent room, worth seeing even in a slightly faded state.
There are actually three tours depending how much you want to pay, £10 gets you round the state rooms and chapel (which is very plain, feels like a Georgian Methodist church), £15 also gets you into an older part of the Palladian house (which includes the original main staircase, supplanted by a ceremonial stair to the marble salon) – the only interesting bit here was a bust of one of the Earls as a Roman Senator in a small room designed to display it - and £20 also gets you into some bedrooms on the top floor, which is frankly a waste.
The original baroque house is very well separated from the Palladian one, and has always been the private quarters, including today. You don’t get into it, or even see its facade which can only be seen from inside their private gardens. Apparently the current owner is hoping to sell only the Palladian one and continue living in his bit.
Wentworth village itself is I believe still controlled by a trust, so it’s still very twee. There is a very large and boring Victorian church, but half (the nave is demolished) of the old church survives and has some very fine memorials, including to the 1st Earl of Strafford, Charles I’s ill-fated Lord Deputy of Ireland. Unfortunately the Fitzwilliam crypt, which can only be reached via a tunnel from the old church, was closed for repair work."

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