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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Churchill's Little Place in the Country

It's not the most beautiful house in the world - though by all accounts, it's better looking than when he and Clem bought it - but this is Churchill's pile in the country. It's owned by The National Trust, which means I get to go in free, because I am a member.

The Churchills bought it in 1922, and after the remodelling, the family lived there till Winston died in 1965, including the war years. In 1946, they were afraid they could no longer afford to live there. A bunch of rich men, in gratitude for Churchill's service during the war, bought the house for him to live out his days in, presenting it to The National Trust for future preservation for the nation and the memory of the former Prime Minister.

There has been a house on the site since the 1600s, but there have been so many people living there over the centuries that there is no record of what changes and rebuildings went on until the Churchills bought what was then an ugly building.

This is the front of the house. The Churchills pulled down a central gable to remodel the entrance.

I have seen this false gable end covered in Virginia creeper, but I don't know why it has been removed. The house is being re-roofed this winter, so maybe that's part of the reason.

This is part of the back of the house. It overlooks the garden, which is extensive. The guide book says they were offered 800 acres, but it doesn't say whether they bought it all.

From the other end, you can see the hotch-potch of buildings attached to the end of the main house. The stone building is used as one of the museum rooms.

The stone bits look older, but I have a feeling they are not. Nearby there is a little stone shelter which is obviously not very old, but is in the same style.

It was for these views that Churchill bought the house.

Just to prove that we really do have cows in the English countryside!

The building at the left of this range was Churchill's studio. For those who do not know, he was an accomplished artist, as well as a writer of a huge number of books. He also built a brick wall in the garden himself.
The house has timed entry because it is very heavily visited all through the "open" season. Most of the visitors are elderly and are making a pilgrimage to the home of the man they regard as Britain's saviour. When I took my mother there in the 1990s, she was overwhelmed to think she was in the home of the man who was a hero to her.
I have mixed feelings. I was raised in the docklands area of London that had been so heavily bombed. I know my family lived through it and still worshipped him, but the fact remains that thousands of Londoners (and citizens of other towns with docks and industry) were killed because Churchill and the air chief "Bomber" Harris wanted to stop the destruction of the Air Force on the ground. The Luftwaffe was bombing the airfields day after day.
So "we" bombed German towns, and after a few days, they switched their bombing to OUR towns.
It probably had to be done. But I'm not sure I can worship Churchill the way those who lived through it do.

Just as a by-the-way, this is post 1610. That is the date of the Monteverdi Vespers (Vespre della Beata Vergine). If you don't know it, I thoroughly recommend you give it a try. He was a truly great composer, who wrote the first ever operas.


judith said...

i enjoyed my tour round churchill's home. thankyou. i enjoy all your trips out. i'm going round england without having to leave my armchair!!! am i lazy or what?!!

JoJo said...

Very nice! I love the house; I could shoot ROLLS of black & white film there. I wonder if it's haunted?

Music Wench said...

Amazing place. Absolutely beautiful. And of course that gorgeous English countryside. Probably my favorite place out of all the countries I visited on my European tour. :)

jazzy said...

i am going to move to a 5 room flat and the garden there is tiny. i am envious now.

wonderful pix, thanks for sharing!

SnarkAngel said...

Lovely tour, Val ... and I do adore Churchill.

Goddessdster said...

This was amazing! Thank you for continuing to share your tours around your home with us.

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