Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

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Kirby Hall & Rushton Triangular Lodge, England

23 July 2011

Sometimes I get so excited about our adventures that I can forget the details. Important little times, like when a place actually opens. I had our day planned out: Ruston Triangular Lodge and then Althorp. I knew what time Althorp opened its gates to the public. According to my plans Rushton would open at 9. English Heritage had other plans. We had an hour and a half to kill, in the middle of no-where. Our car is like a tourist information centre on wheels – English Heritage, Historic Houses Assocation, National Trust, Rick Steves’ Great BritainLonely Planet EnglandAA Illustrated Guide to Country Towns and Villages of Britain and DK Eyewitness Travel Great Britain. English Heritage came to our rescue in the form of Kirby Hall. We often end up at places we had not planned on…places that we know nothing about…places that are a delightful surprise. This happens in life as well as adventures in travelling.

Sir Humphrey Stafford began Kirby Hall in 1570 and was completed by Sir Christopher Hatton (a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I). After 1706 this beautiful home was used less and less and had fallen into ruin by the nineteenth century. English Heritage has been working to un-cover Kirby Hall’s  former glory. Part of the hall is roof-less and a ruin while other parts are as they would have been. The inner court once served as a grazing area for sheep during the Victorian era. In recent time, Kirby Hall has served as a location for Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. English Heritage has turned Kirby Hall into a living breathing exercise in historical discovery.

Kirby Hall was a wonderful surprise, but it was time to visit our next stop of the day. Rushton Triangular Lodge is filled with mysteries and riddles that are still making people wonder. The lodge was completed in 1596 by Sir Thomas Tresham. The lodge was home to the keeper of Tresham’s rabbit warren. Tresham was a devout Roman Catholic ( the number 3 is everywhere, representing the Holy Trinity) and father of Francis Tresham ( a member of the infamous Gunpowder Plot). Being a Catholic during the reign of the Protestant Elizabeth I was very dangerous. Sir Thomas spent time in prison and was subjected to hefty fines. Rushton triangular Lodge was an enduring monument to the Catholic faith.

We left Rushton Triangular Lodge with our heads swimming with the number 3 and headed towards our third stop of the day – Althorp.

Where ever the road may take you, take some time to enjoy the unplanned and unexpected. You never know what wonder experiences lay beyond the next bend.

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