(Note: Click on the pictures for a larger version)
Last Thursday it was raining, overcast and gloomy to the extent that I needed a light on in my study to be able to see properly (this is August remember!). Friday dawned with a clear sky and was forecast to be a sunny day. This is English weather.
We took advantage of the good weather to visit a place that we had been meaning to visit for some time – Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk. The current owners bought Kentwell Hall when some of it was in a ruinous state and have restored it to its current condition; that of a lived in Tudor mansion.
Long Melford is unusual for a village in that it boasts two Tudor mansions. Melford Hall, run by the National Trust, and this one and, having been to both, we think that Kentwell Hall is the more attractive of the two.
Although both mansions exhibit some similar features, such as the typical Tudor turrets, Kentwell Hall has a notable feature that Melford Hall doesn't have and that is a moat which completely encircles the house.
This is a 'moat of note' in that it contains a lot of Carp and these are MEGA carp. If you touch your forefinger and thumb together to form a circle it will be about the size of the mouths of these fish. They seem to congregate near the bridge at the front of the house and as soon as visitors look over the bridge parapet they come to the surface with mouths agape hoping for food. Carp ain't so dim.
Alongside the moat at the back of the house is some unique topiary.
This is known as the 'Pied Piper Topiary' and one can distinguish figures of people, children and dogs.
To the east of the house is an unusual sculpture made from a still standing tree stump.
This is a 60 foot high storm-damaged cedar sculpted by Colin Wilbourne into his interpretation of the Tower of Babel. An absolutely amazing piece of work.
Kentwell Hall has extensive grounds which include some very attractive gardens.
The Pied Piper topiary shows up well against the moat and the walled garden beyond looks very impressive.
I thought that I would photograph this detail in the walled garden in order to 'urn' my keep only to find that the Pied Piper topiary has sneaked into the background once again.
Kentwell Hall used to have two moats, apparently showing it to be of vey high status, although only part of the second moat now remains. It has, however, been used to good effect as part of the gardens.
The inside of the house is equally impressive and includes the expected such as the Great Hall
and the unusual – duet anyone?
I suppose that this is what must be meant by 'toilet humour'.
We decided to finish by looking around the grounds outside of the gardens. I wasn't the only one taking photographs and Amanda took this one of a couple of old donkeys having a chat. I'm not sure which one has the most untidy hair.
There have been a number of new out-buildings built in the Tudor style and it gives a very good idea of what a Tudor building must have looked like when it was brand new.
Very unlike the Tudor buildings we see today with their warped and twisted timbers. Now you'll be able to return in 500 years for a comparison.
We had a very enjoyable and entertaining time here and would certainly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. If you want to see more then you'll just have to wait until the new pages appear on the web site proper with even more photographs unless, of course, you pay Kentwell Hall a visit in person before then.