In these days before Christmas, its enjoyable to visit the historic houses which have been decorated in a traditional manner for Christmas. The Vyne at Basingstoke is one such example and thanks to the National Trust Volunteers has a very seasonal look.
In these days of Brexit its worth reading the history of the house
about the events of 1535. Please see the National Trust Website as below . Once again we have an example of “Court continental connections causing civic conflict”. It seems Henry VIII’s progression to the Vyne in October 1535 to visit William Sandy’s his Lord Chancellor had a political message following the reformation.
For us, the visit started in a more day to day manner with coffee and cake- coffee cake.
Then into the house and the magnificent hall. The rooms show the decor that might have applied in the latter stages of the house life
The fireplaces are notable not only for their size and grandeur. Of interest are the fire screens. One of the NT volunteers explained that these were to protect the ladies complexion from the heat of the fires. They did not want to have reddened cheeks like the weathered and reddened faces of those who worked outside. Also the heat from the fire would not have helped any of the wax based facial cosmetics typical of that time.
The gallery is interesting (and the long gallery on the first floor) as it could be considered an indoor gym. Apparently the house inhabitants walked up and down here to get exercise during the winter months.
Another room shows that the inhabitants had similar ideas to ours. The print room was a place to display prints from their travels – Italy in particular. In this time before postcard, photographs and Instagram they used to buy and display prints from the cities they visited and no blue tack in sight.
The chapel is one of the oldest parts of the house and is quite small and dark. There is an upper gallery where the nobles could attend and were able to keep away from others.
The upstairs is currently still closed for visitors however there is a fascinating history of how they renovated the roof. This was done slate by slate to preserve the history.
See the National Trust website for more details. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-vyne/features/opening-6-march-rooftop-walkway
We also visited their second hand book shop. They had a wide and interesting collection of books and music The sofa helps to create that relaxed environment to browse, read and then buy.
Finally there were the gardens and lake. The rotunda rather outclasses any Man shed that we have these days. The ducks and swans behave
on the lake as they have done for centuries. On previous visits we have walked along the lake and into the adjoining woodlands. Very peaceful.
I hope this has encouraged you to visit the Vyne, and to join the National Trust. Alternatively you might wish to volunteer to help them with the enormous task of maintaining these irreplaceable parts of our national history.