As winter draws us closer to shorter days and colder weather it is nice to look back over trips we took in warmer and sunnier times. In July we made a trip to Broughton Castle near Banbury, Oxfordshire. It was a bit of a last minute decision as we were not sure how much of it would be open but, as we discovered, it was well worth the journey.
A mullioned window looking over the gardens
A worn stone staircase
Broughton Castle was built as a manor house by Sir John de Broughton in 1300 at a location where the meeting of three streams created a natural site for a moated manor. The house was sold in 1377 to William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and has remained in the same family since then. That’s a long time time in one family, and what is so charming is that the house is still run by them along with an army of volunteers. You soon realise that a member of the clan has sold you your ticket or ice cream and it this gives you a real sense that this is still a home, rather than a museum.
More stone mullioned windows, and an opening to the cellar
As always, we soaked up all the architectural details, but of particular note was the patina of the oak beams and the worn steps where for hundreds of years people have made their way to the private chapel or up to the bedrooms. The walled ‘Ladies Garden’ was a delight, being in full bloom when we visited.
Oak beams on a back staircase
Having a few moments to ourselves in the gardens and looking around the grounds and exterior of the house, we felt lucky to be able to visit these British gems, cared for and loved by their long-standing owners and caretakers. It makes you realise the depth of hard work that is involved in maintaining our heritage and, above all, their obvious passion and love for our architectural past and present.
If you get a chance, do make a visit when Broughton Castle re-opens in 2021– a warm welcome awaits!
The walled 'Ladies Garden'
The imposing facade
A charming doorway surrounded by roses
An umbrella stand that we rather liked!