Whilst in the Cotswolds we visited Chastleton House a beautiful Jacobean country house and garden built between 1607 and 1612 by the son of a prosperous wool merchant. It was owned by the same increasingly impoverished family until 1991 and it has remained essentially unchanged for over 400 years.
The house is quite beautiful in its calm and comfortable acquaintance with the landscape, not ostentatious or grandiose, but settled as if intending to stay until the ravages of time return the stone to the earth. Unlike so many National Trust properties, Chastleton is authentic, leaving you with a sense of reality of the lives of the characters who lived there. Everything seems normal here, everyday people from the past who had just slipped out leaving their clutter and dust behind them.
I’m glad the Trust decided to leave the house intact, they just sorted out any structural damage but thought better of shipping in fancy artifacts. Everything here is collected by the previous owners over 400 years and what wasn’t sold in times of poverty has stayed, junk and all.
There are items I would love, like this amazing bird-cage surrounded in an array of plants!
Or this red scooter resting on the peeling paint in the hallway next to a collection of rope and bric-a-brac.
If you love peeling paint this is the place for you!
The kitchen is basic, not grand like many of our historic houses, but functional.
Even the sink has been left as it was found when the Trust took over. It’s easy to imagine people living here and how hard life must have been, no frills, just hard toil to keep the place going. It’s amazing it survived with such neglect, all items of value gone, just the ragged remains of your ancestors to comfort you through the cold winter nights. This place could so easily have been the house of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, be it in the wrong county!
What really struck me was the quality of the light, the gently mellow shadows cast upon the Cotswold stone. Worn and aged, but somehow all the better for it.
A card game, although set-up looked in keeping with the room.
So many gems to capture your imagination, like a film set.
Everything in this house has the simplicity of the everyday.
Entering the storerooms below the house just off the courtyard.
Cold and dark with an earth floor, the air damp, what went on in here I wonder? Time to leave this wonderful house. We stayed for some time soaking in the atmosphere, somehow you don’t want to leave. Although plain in its interior this house held more fascination than many of the great estates I have visited before, I could live here, with its charm, cobwebs and dust, just like a modern day Miss Haversham!