Today's blog post is on more of a lifestyle theme, as I've been ill twice in the last three weeks and not been able to get much crafting done to show you! I hope you all don't mind this kind of blog post, let me know in the comments if you do/don't and the reason why! We really want to make this blog something that our readers will enjoy looking through, so honest feedback is really appreciated!
Last Sunday we took a day trip to Boscobel House in Shropshire. My sister and I were both homeschooled and had many a day trip out to English Heritage and National Trust properties with my mum, aunt, and two homeschooled cousins (let's just say we were never short of history projects!) so returning to Boscobel House was very nostalgic for us! I guess the fact that years later I'm willingly writing a blog post about our day trip to a historic house proves that my mum did a jolly good job of instilling a love of history in both me and my sister!
(Apologies in advance for some of the indoor photos being
slightly fuzzy, I didn't want to use flash and risk being told off! 😄)
Even after all the times we visited here years ago, I still learnt loads of new things on this visit. One of the things that struck me the most was the origin of Boscobel's name. It's derived from the Italian 'bosco bello', meaning 'beautiful wood', as the house was at one time surrounded by woods, one of the trees being the very oak that Charles hid in. Having a deep love for the Italian language this really made an impression on me!
The other is that after Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, the five Penderel brothers - servants at Boscobel and White Ladies Priory, who risked their lives to protect Charles - were rewarded with a pension which is still paid to their descendants even today!
|In we go!|
Boscobel House and the Royal Oak Tree became famous as hiding places of King Charles II after he suffered defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. We visited the hunting lodge, farmyard, gardens and the descendant of the Royal Oak. There was also the ruins of White Ladies Priory (another of Charles's hiding places) nearby but we didn't visit it this time.
|I love the brickwork on these old buildings!|
|One of the many priest holes within the house|
There are apparently several 'priest holes' throughout the house. The Giffard family, who were the original owners of Boscobel House, were Catholics who refused to participate in the worship of the established Church of England. This meant fines, imprisonment and discrimination for them, but for priests it could mean inhumane execution. The house itself served as a secret place for the shelter of Catholic priests. This secret purpose of the house was to play a key role in the history of the country!
This is the upper floor of the hunting lodge, where there is another priest hole, the one that Charles II is thought to have hidden in overnight.
This would have been very uncomfortable for him, as the hole is only 4 feet in height, whereas Charles was around 6 foot 2! Although here my sister looks as though she's thinking about going in there herself!
Further along the upper floor is the Bower Room, which was used as a bedroom in the 19th century. In the background, you can see a large traditional spinning wheel! I loved how all the bedrooms had these pretty washstands and basins.
|This was the Settling Room, where the cream was separated from the milk|
|After the cream had been skimmed from the milk in the Settling Room, it was turned into cheese or butter in the Scullery|
|I've always loved the 'butter pats' used for shaping the butter into the traditional brick shape!|
You can see the wooden butter paddles - or 'pats' - on the wooden board to the left of this photo. The butter maker would hold one of these pats in each hand and work the butter into shape. Butter pats and moulds were washed in salted water to help prevent the butter from sticking to them. The pats were thin, light and easy to hold. One side was serrated, both to grip the butter and squeeze out any further water. It was also used to make patterns on the finished butter.
I wish I could have seen what Boscobel was like when it was a thriving working farm. That's one thing I wish you could even slightly experience with English Heritage or National Trust properties, but everything always seems so quiet. Unless you happen to time your visit wrong and end up going round with a coach-load of schoolchildren! 😄
After we had seen the house and some of the gardens, we headed towards the fields where the Royal Oak is housed in some fencing. I didn't take any photos of the tree, though, as it's rather bare at this time of year and is looking a bit battered from all the high winds and storms they've had in the area recently. The oak that is there now is the daughter of the original Royal Oak, and there is actually a sapling growing nearby that they are going to nurture as the granddaughter of the original, once the daughter is eventually chopped down.
I also couldn't take any photos of the gardens, unfortunately, as the brickwork sections of the house are being repointed so lots of ugly scaffolding was everywhere and was in shot no matter where I stood! Hopefully we can visit again in the summer or autumn when the work will be complete and there'll also be some leaves on the trees!
We headed back to the car after this, but we stopped to admire this gorgeous barn conversion just down the lane from Boscobel's car park - isn't it amazing? It looks quite small in the photo, but it was huge, with floor to roof windows on the right-hand side.
We really enjoyed our return to Boscobel, and definitely need to visit some other properties that we used to visit as children!
So that's it from me today! I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Boscobel House! My sister is back next week with another blog post for you all!