Monday, August 27, 2007

Sussex Stately Homes - 26 August 2007

Michelham Priory

Michelham PrioryMichelham Priory has the longest medieval water-filled moat in England. As is typical, it was another of the Priories that Henry VIII dissolved. Michelham PrioryIt spent much of it's life since then as a farmhouse and from where some tenant farmers, the Childs, emigrated to Northland, NZ. Today, it was a very tranquil spot to start our day. We particularly enjoyed the walk around the moat; it It felt as if we were the only people left on a very well groomed planet.

Long Man of WilmingtonAfter a quick coffee stop at the car park that provides views of the Long Man of Wilmington we visited two houses built over 500 years ago, each kept in a single family, although via different branches.

Glynde PlaceThe first visit was to Glynde Place. A gentleman who turned out to be Lord Hampden, the owner, checked us in. This house is in a very quiet part of Sussex, with lovely views over the weald rolling away into the distance. The tour of the house was full of interesting details from the lives of his ancestors who, atypically, fought on Cromwell's side in the Civil War. Many stately piles were confiscated from Parliamentarians and given to the Royalists as rewards, but the then owner took note of the turn of the tide and very wisely changed sides at the last minute.

Firle PlaceJust over the road (almost) was his neighbour, Firle Place. On the day of our visit it was a busy place with horse trials, dog show and all the side-shows as well. Clipped the railThe house itself has an important collection of Sevres china, second only to the Queen's. It appeared that they had developed a more sophisticated interior, than their neighbours, but both houses were lovely in their own ways.

Ringmer ChurchTo round off the day we visited the village of Ringmer as our guidebook recommended it. They must have been short of candidates for the area as it is nothing terribly special compared to many of the lovely English villages we have seen on our travels.

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