Brinton Hall Visit Feb 20

Visit to Brinton Hall

This was my first visit after joining the Art Appreciation group so I wasn't completely sure what to expect. We all arrived for 11.00am and were met by Jeremy, the owner with a cheery welcome on a cold and windy but dry day.

We were taken on a tour of the grounds first. Near the house were well tended gardens where we saw some special snowdrops and other early flowering plants. The whole estate is around 50 acres and has been awarded County Wildlife status. It is managed to protect rare species as well as for the benefit of wildlife.

Our tour of the grounds took us over the site of a Saxon causeway from which we could see where a Roman Villa had once stood. Later, we would also see the Stone Age artefacts which had been found. From there we walked down to the stream, a branch of the river Glaven, then on to the lake. Running alongside, the stream had been canalised by a previous owner which significantly reduces the silting up of the lake.

We then continued through the woods where snowdrops and some daffodils were in flower and the leaves of wild garlic and bluebells were pushing through. Jeremy's wife Esme is the gardener and we saw a whimsical planting of snowdrops in the shapes of two hearts and the outlines of their three dogs. Jeremy is extremely knowledgeable about the trees in the woodland and answered many questions put to him by our group.

From there we went back to the house for lunch and a tour. We had a lunch of soup followed by bread and butter pudding which was extremely welcome on such a cold day. Massive thanks should go to Esme who, thanks to a slip up by the organisation we book through, had been expecting 11 visitors and had to cope with 24 of us. This she did without fuss and earned our great respect.

The Georgian house is interesting and the owners have carried out extensive work to bring it up to date but have done so in a sensitive way creating a very warm, cosy and homely feel while keeping the essence of the period. The main feature is the oak staircase which was bought when the house that Nelson's mistress lived in in London was demolished after his death and sold for 'building parts'. Esme was very open and let us look in all the rooms, pointing out interesting features and explaining the changes they had made.

After the house tour we had the opportunity to buy snowdrops and we left, carrying our precious plants after a thoroughly enjoyable lovely day out.

Report by Sue H