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Although we drove away from Worthing in heavy rain and high winds,by the time we reached Stourhead the weather was dry and overcast with rain only returning as we left.
































































 























































































Stourhead gardens were designed between 1741 and 1780, by the banker, Henry Hoare II, known as Henry the Magnificent. The centre piece of the gardens is the lake, artificially created and encircled by pathways. We could choose our route, avoiding if necessary some of the more adventurous pathways

with steeper slopes and uneven steps. We enjoyed wonderful views of the landscape from different vantage points. The extensive garden contains a wide selection of trees and shrubs especially rhododendrons.

The temples, buildings and Palladium bridge spread around the lake were inspired by Henry’s experience of the Grand Tour, especially his love of mythology and classical architecture.


Following the pathways around the lake was intended to depict Aeneas’ pathway to the underworld. Depending on your route, you passed the Temple of Flora, the Grotto, the Gothic cottage and the Pantheon with its statue of Hercules. The Temple of Apollo, reached up a steep slope, gave good views across the lake.


Many of the buildings were designed by the architect Henry Flintcroft.  We were also able to visit St Peter’s church as it lies immediately outside the gardens at Stourhead. Parts of the church date from 1291 but were renovated by Henry Hoare and contain three large memorials to the Hoare family.

The church was full of history with a worn stone effigy of a medieval lady of the manor and the large, beautifully carved tomb chest of the sixteenth century Lord Stourton and his wife, with their three children kneeling behind their heads.


Text by Carole Sheppard


I remember that during the tour of the House it was mentioned that they have one of the finest collections of Chippendale furniture in the country. Over 100 pieces still survive which were stunning.


There was a bad fire at the house, and can't remember when, where they lost a lot of paintings, BUT they concentrated on saving the Chippendale furniture! The servants were dropping bits out of the windows, etc.,to rescue as much as possible.


I particularly remember the library where there were lots of beautiful examples; a very large sideboard, two stunning tables, lots of chairs, and a particularly large moveable ladder on wheels so tall you could reach books right on the top shelves which was easily 25 ft high, if not higher.
















I particularly remember the library where there were lots of beautiful examples; a very large sideboard, two stunning tables, lots of chairs, and a particularly large moveable ladder on wheels so tall you could reach books right on the top shelves which was easily 25 ft high, if not higher.


Barbara Lidbetter



Text by Barbara Lidbetter


Photographs by Carole Sheppard,  Barabara Lidbetter

Tony Hobden and Wendy Hobden,


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