Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Dorset - Part II

After being beaten by the wind all night, I woke up at one point and had the side of the tent pressed against my nose, we decided we needed a little bit of indulgence when it came to breakfast. So we got up, some of us braved the porta-showers, and then went off in search of food and large amounts of caffine.

We came across Corfe Village, which is dominated by a magnificent set of ruins - Corfe Castle.

Now owned by the National Trust, it was apparently used as inspiration by Enid Blyton for one of her Famous Five novels - Five on Kirrin Island Again. The NT cafe has an excellent view over looking the castle, and it was here that we sat and watched the morning go by, slowly coming round with the help of large amounts of tea.

Set in the shadow of the castle is a picture postcard example of an English village. With parts of it dating to the medieval period, it is a hotch-potch of beautiful little cottages constructed of local Purbeck limestone, lining two main streets.

Half of the buildings are listed.

If you look closely, you can see the ruins through the lamp-post in the above image.
The church was re-built in 1876, but the architect re-used parts of the 15th C medieval fabric.

It has the smallest, and possibly the cutest, town hall in the country:

Constructed half in brick (flemish design) and half in rubble stone, it is absolutley tiny, illustrating the amount of people it was built for was very small. You could not fit the village population in today! It is listed as GII* and is seventeenth century in origin, although it was largely re-built in 1774.

The village is absolutley beautiful, definitley worth a visit if you are passing through.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dorset - Part I

This weekend, in celebration of myself and Kerri turning the ripe old age of 24, a few of use went camping to sunny Ol' Dorset and for once the weather was perfect for camping!!

We camped in what only can be described as a field. Weston Dairy Farm is exactly what it says it is, and for 28 days a year they are allowed to open their feilds to jolly English campers who will brave the weather no matter what to sleep under the stars. Why?.........because we are British. 

On our way over to the campsite we passed a beautiful little village called Kingston, that is nestled in the trees overlooking Corfe Castle. It's Grade I listed church of St James is an odd little addition. Sat on the highest point in the village, surrounded by trees, it has a semi-transelvanian feel, definitley not something you would expect to see in a sleepy little village in Dorset.

Built in 1880 for the 3rd Earl of Eldon, it is a Victorian style neo-classical church with french influence intermigled who's red ashlar stone walls do not fit in the style of grey chalky village setting. Nevetheless, it's architecture is rather stunning, especially the huge rose window above the western door.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Snelston Hall - Lost Jewel

I have recently been reading Simon Thurley's "The Lost Buildings of Britain" and this particular building fit's perfectly with this theme.....

My Aunt and Uncle have recently moved to a beautiful little cottage on the outskirts of Snelston village in Derbyshire. Consequently, me being a buildings freak, I did some research on the building's history and came across the reason behind the village - a stunning Gothick-revival mansion known as Snelston Hall.

Unfortunatley, the mansion was demolished in 1951, it is not known by who or why. However, it was commissioned in 1826 and built in 1828 by L. N. Cottingham for the Harrison family. As mentioned, it was built in the neo-Gothic style that swept the country from the 1740s onwards and was built of Sandstone and brick.

The house only exists in ruins now, along with remnants of an ice house, boat house and summer house. These are all Grade II listed. Fortunatley, English Heritage have some absolutely amazing photographs in their archives that were taken in 1949. Obvioulsy, I cannot show you these, but they are in the Public Red Box Room of the NMRC in Swindon if you are interested, the staff are very friendly and would certainly help you out.

The pictures illustrate a building that takes inspiration from religious medieval/tudor architecture, including hood moulds around the windows, crenellations and gothic spires all over the place. I personally think Cottingham took King's College, Cambridge as his starting point, as the external facade of the Great Hall looks remarkably similar, if a little smaller in appearance (seen in the first and last image).

The pictures below have all been taken from Google, but show various external images of the Hall and it's surroundings.  

Such a treasure and so upsetting that it has gone forever!

Friday, 3 August 2012


Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know it's been ages since my last post, but in my defence, I have been very busy at work, it has also been my birthday and I am attempting (and failing) to organise my Dad's 50th.

Anyway, because of all the above, I haven't really had a chance to go a ramblin' for forgotten buildings, so here are two not-so-forgotten ones that I have visited recently.

Whitby Abbey

Tyntesfield House

Both completely different, yet both stunning beautiful in their own right!!!

Because they are not-so-forgotten, I have done links to the websites for both of them and if you want to find out more, you'll just have to jump in the car and go and visit.