Friday, 10 March 2017

More National Trust Adventures - Exploring Croome Court



It's been ages since we last visited a National Trust property. Time to put that right! Today we headed an hour down the road, to Croome Court in Worcestershire


Croome has an interesting history. After he inherited the family estate in 1744 becoming the 6th Earl of Coventry, George William (1722 - 1809) employed landscape gardener Lancelot "Capability" Brown and architect Robert Adam, the pioneer of Neo-Classical taste in Britain, to transform the old family home into a place of artistry and beauty. The project was finally completed in 1751.

In 1942, Defford, the local airfield, became a secret radar development base and throughout the Second World War Croome was occupied by the RAF. There's an RAF Museum on-site.

In 1948 the Coventry family fell on hard times. The property was sold, the contents auctioned off and Croome became a Catholic School for disadvantaged boys.



In 1979 Croome was bought by Hare Krishna devotees (an annual Krishna festival is held here every year) and served as a commune for fifteen years. It was then sold to a succession of property developers but the cost of the upkeep spiraled out of control. 


In 1996 The National Trust acquired the overgrown parkland, embarking on the huge task of restoration then, in 2007, the Croome Heritage Trust bought Croome Court and leased it to the Trust enabling it to open to the public in 2009. The property was repaired to make it watertight and structurally sound and is now in the process of being restored.


Although unfurnished, Croome is wonderfully atmospheric and without contents you can really appreciate the fine architectural details, the epic proportions and the spellbinding views. In fact, we felt quite at home here. Built in 1750 our house is almost Croome Court's twin and still very much a work in progress.


I've got a real thing about antique fireplaces (I spend even longer drooling over them on eBay than I do 1970s psychedelic maxi dresses) and Robert Adam's marble masterpiece in the Long Gallery took my breath away. Despite it being worth a few million we were encouraged to touch it and trace the incredibly detailed carving with our fingertips. It's a miracle it survived the inquisitive hands of schoolboys for years.


 We loved the Chinese Room. When Croome was sold the owners were advised to remove the original hand-blocked Chinoiserie print wallpaper so this is a reproduction.


The skies may be grey but the temperature is definitely Spring-like. The Dollyrockers silk maxi dress I'm wearing under my leather coat is sleeveless. 


The marvelously opulent hand painted cornicing and plaster work in this room reminded us of some of Maharajah's palaces we've visited in India.


This exhibit, The Golden Box, showcases some of Croome's extensive porcelain collection within a gold mirrored capsule.


Remaining true to George William's passion for nurturing new talent in artists and designers, Croome hosts a number of art exhibits (including a display of Grayson Perry's tapestries in 2016). 


Plum Lines is inspired by the story of the 9th Earl of Coventry's plum jam factory and the formation of the local Women's Institute.


 After a taste of Spring yesterday, today was a return to grey skies and drizzle but with so much to admire on our two mile stroll around the grounds, we hardly noticed. Is this the best greenhouse you've ever seen?


I wonder what the neighbours would say if we commissioned a couple of these Coade stone sphinxes for the gates of Stonecroft?


What a beauty!


There was an abundance of snowdrops and daffodils in the beautifully manicured gardens.


Sick boy (it's his fourth cold in as many months) was well wrapped up against the elements in his vintage wool Swedish military jacket and the Doc Martens he found in a chazza last week.


That's the Ice House, the 18th Century answer to a fridge. 


Capability Brown built the Rotunda within the shrubbery between 1754 - 1757 as a relaxing garden room. On a clear day there's some wonderful views of the neighbouring Malvern Hills.


The Chinese Bridge is a recent addition, it replaces the missing original designed for the 6th Earl of Coventry by William Halfpenny in 1749. 



The Mary Magdalene church, designed by Robert Adam and consecrated in 1763, replaced the ancient Medieval church demolished by the 6th Earl during his remodeling of the estate and landscape.


Behind was a charmingly dilapidated graveyard. Several of the inscriptions on the tombstones commemorated people who'd lived well into their 90s and, in one case, 101 years old.  Croome must have been a great place to live.

Croome Court, High Green, Worcester WR8 9DW


Hope you enjoyed your virtual trip as much as we enjoyed our real one! Click on the photos for bigger images.

We're trading with Judy's in Cambridge for the first time on Sunday (details HERE). If we don't see you there, we'll see you on the other side.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

82 comments:

  1. As much as I enjoyed reading and seeing your India pix, the visits to the National Trust sites are my favorites of your "out and about " posts. I had the same thought about the school kids even before I read your line on the fireplace. Perhsp the boys had a deep respect , being they themselves were not from affluence?

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    1. Thanks, Sam. Apparently the boys were sent there as they had behavioral problems, making the fact that fireplace survived intact even more incredible. xxx

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  2. I like this place, I think being empty is a bonus, you get to apprecite the beautiful detail inside - especially that fabulous fireplace - I would have felt compelled to stroke the little marble birds and all that detail. I imagine in summery light streams in. The greenhouse looked interesting too, I bet they would have had ornamental fruits and maybe even orchids. See how it's got my imagination going! I love your beautiful leather coat, absolutely love it. Betty

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    1. Being empty, it made it even easier to picture all our stuff inside it - I think that's why we liked it!
      My leather coat was a pressie from a fellow blogger years ago, its my go-to Spring coat. xxx

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  3. That looks nice, not been to Croome yet. We were however up ' your end' earlier in the week having a look at the brewery and the windmill. Lived in the town all my life and never saw those things until this week !

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    1. Ha! Should have called in for a cuppa! x

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  4. Oo, that's not toooo far from us, a day trip for Spring when it warms up a bit perhaps! We're overdue another NT adventure but have a few Welsh ones to tick off when we have a short break at the end of the month. Lovely colours in your outfit! Xx

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    1. It is fairly near to you, we passed the signs for Wales on the way. We could have spent all day there. there's a number of guided tours and the RAF Museum but Jon needed to get back and rest ready for the weekend trading. xxx

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  5. What an amazing place. It looks quute eerie but also quite peaceful. I love an antique fireplace too, can't beat them. Xx

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    1. Isn't it beautiful? A proper party house! x

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  6. A beautiful property. Likely if you had winged lady statues at your house they would have to have bright pink silk tassels hanging from their tatas - your neighbors would expect that at the very least :)

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  7. Go back in the summer. I want to hear your take on it through the seasons.

    Also, Croome has been on about a million gardening history documentaries (my favourite type!), but you've still got something to add to the conversation.

    Keep visiting and writing it up. These are my favourite posts.

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    1. Glad you're enjoying our NT visits, Vicky! We will return! xxx

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  8. Hi Vix, I love your virtual tours. I had to laugh at the "selfie" of you and Jon, I know you're not too fond of that word, haha. Glad to see you out rocking your old teacher's snakeskin boots- I'd love a pair like that one day! Xxx

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    1. Fancy you spotting those Gohills boots! They're so comfy. xxx

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  9. Thanks, Vix,I have very much enjoyed my virtual tour.xx Great photos, fabulous looking couple, wonderful story.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the trip, Elizabeth! x

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  10. indeed i did enjoy this gorgeous trip to the beautiful estate!!
    thank you for reporting :-)
    i´m in love with the sweet rotunda and with jon´s swedish uniform jacket! your bright sky blue outfit lifts the mood very much on this foggy day we have!!!
    hugs! xxxxx

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    1. My pleasure! It was very murky here, I'm glad I wore brights, I might have got lost in the mist! x

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  11. What an absolutely stunning place. I love the greenhouse and can just imagine all the fashionable oranges and pineapples growing in it. Those sphinxes are amazing. They look so realistic you would expect them to come alive at night. You and Jon are looking very stylish as usual. I am in love with your dress and coat combo. The colours are fantastic. I like fireplaces too. Long story but I used to live somewhere designed by Robert Adam and it was full of drool worthy fireplaces and the most amazing plasterwork. I hung fairy lights on mine. :D Hope your day in Cambridge went well. Xx

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    1. We'd watched Who Do You Think You Are a couple of nights before and both wondered if they'd grown pineapples there. I was tempted to nick one of the lemons for our rum later but thought I'd be chucked out!
      Ohhh, fancy living with an Adam fireplace. xxx

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  12. Now the Trust are opening the properties all year round I'm loving visiting them in the winter months....never seem to get the time in the summer with everything else going on! We've just been Standen. It's fab to get the lowdown on stuff elsewhere in the country...we always try and visit places in the locality when we're on holiday and they're great for having a pit stop when you're mid journey. Much more civilised than a service station! Arilx

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    1. It's so considerate for the NT places to stay open during the Winter, perfect for us self-employed people between fairs! xxx

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  13. What incredible photos of such significant, stately & impressive sites. The two of you are stunning (as usual) :)

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  14. it blows my mind that you live in a house that was built in 1750.

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  15. A beautiful house and I love your dollyrockers dress with the brilliant leather jacket, it looks like spring. Cambridge on Sunday, how exciting, I must try to call in :) xxx

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    1. Fab to see you on Sunday, Sally! x

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  16. I just looked at the link and the fair is sold out! I've joined the waiting list so fingers crossed. I hope it's a successful day though if I don't get there, it sounds like lots of people are going xxx

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    1. Don't worry, it's a mistake on the Facebook page, you just pay on the door. No booking needed. It'd be fantastic to finally meet you. x

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  17. Thanks Vix! That bridge is amazing. And so are you and J!! xox

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  18. What a gloriously atmospheric place. I love it that they left it unfurnished. I love the Rotunda, and the ice house is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. You are looking a vision of Spring in your dress and coat, which is such a pretty colour! Hope Jon (and you) will soon be on the mend. xxx

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    1. One for your list next time you're here, not far from Wales! xxx

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  19. What a lovely place, it's fortunate the house and gardens have survived their rather chequered history. How can anyone turn their nose up at an Adam fireplace, voluptuous sphinxes, stunning greenhouse and ice house, and a gorgeous rotunda - I could live in a house like that!
    And of course you and Sick Boy contribute some additional style and glamour to an already lovely backdrop. That's a fab frock, loving the bright colours and your Big Big Hair!
    Hope you have a good day's trading in Cambridge - love you! xxxxxx

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    1. I reckon we should claim squatter's rights and organise a mass takeover - there's room for all of us! xxx

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  20. I freaking love those sphinxes! And the ice house! Also, you look divine in that shade of blue :)

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    1. Thank you! Those sphinxes are bloody gorgeous, aren't they? xxx

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  21. Isn't the atmosphere in historical houses wonderful. I'd like to go back in time and experience it all for real.
    Your coat is a gorgeous colour. Hope Jon boy is on the mend and Cambridge is a good event for you xxx

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! I've caught it and got over it while Jon's still snuffling and sneezing - mine's a cold, his is man flu, naturally! x

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  22. What a magnificent building and grounds.
    Thank you for the tour. xx

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  23. What a grand tour! I especially loved the landscaping! :)

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    1. The landscaping is fantastic, still beautiful even on a murky day! x

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  24. I think you definitely need some Sphinxes those have the most beautiful faces.

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    1. They're stunners, aren't they? xxx

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  25. What a beautiful property! I love the bridge, rotunda and the ice house.

    You look splendid and I hope Jon feels better soon xxx

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    1. Thank you! I loved that the grounds had so many interesting features dotted about so wherever you looked there was something lovely to feast your eyes on. xxx

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  26. Love those psychedelic pastels in your outfit! Haven't been inside Croome for over 18 months, despite visiting last year, and I can see from your photos that a lot has changed, I need another visit, and soon xxx

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    1. Yes, I remember your blog posts! It's wonderfully atmospheric and the art installations were great. xxx

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  27. Damn - I don't think I had clicked that you were in Cambridge on Sunday (today) otherwise I would have come to the Vintage Fair and to see you. Never mind; next time!

    Croome Court looks fascinating and what a wonderful setting it has - marvellous views.

    Loved your pyschedelic dress and the lovely blue (leather?) coat.

    Wish the sodding weather would make up it's mind!

    Have a great week.

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    1. Gah! We might be back there in a few weeks - watch this space!
      I know, if sick boy had been himself on Thursday the photos would have been so much better what with that glorious sunshine we had. xxx

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  28. He's got my Dr Martens! My green ones are that kind- they are called Joylan and are ridiculously comfortable! I really want to get some more in a more versatile colour as they have been going strong for 3 years but I pick the time when Dr Martens sells them all off in the sale and I miss it!!! Can't seem to find them in my size anywhere!!!
    This looks a super place! It reminds me of a place we visited in Northumberland last Easter- can't seem to remember the name but it looked similar and was also empty!!!x

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    1. I rather like the empty ones, don't you? I can imagine my tat in there!
      I can't believe those are your boots - I'm kicking myself. Jon found two pairs, one in a 10 (his size) and another in an 8 which we promptly sold last Sunday. They could have been yours! xxx

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  29. If the walls could talk in that house, what a variety of owners it has seen. So good to know it is being restored. Love the gorgeous building used as a fridge, and that bridge!! Thanks for taking me on your tour Vix.

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    1. I know, it's certainly had a chequered history. Boys school, commune, family seat and property developer's failure aside one of the previous Earls died in action in France in World War 2 and another had to sell the tapestries after his eldest son gambled all their money away. xxx

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  30. Hi Vix, I'm planning to write a blog post on Dollyrockers. Would it be okay if I feature a few of your blog photos where you are wearing Dollyrockers dresses? Xxx

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    1. Hi Jess, I'd be very flattered. Feel free to use whatever photos you fancy! xxx

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  31. What a feast for the eyes Croome Court is! The Adam fireplace and buxom sphinx are magnificent and you and Sick Boy don't look too shabby yourselves. Loving the blue coat and very pretty frock ensemble. Hope you did well today. xx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! Isn't it a magnificent place? xxx

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  32. What a spectacular place! The marble fireplaces are so beautiful, and the fact they have survived this long is a miracle. That kind of marble work would be beyond most people's budgets now. The sphinxs are magnificent!

    I'm sorry to hear Jon's under the weather again. Start him on some Oil of Oregano drops under his tongue when he starts feeling a cold coming on.

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    1. Those grand fireplaces and swanky features certainly passed the test of time - far better than the rich of today spending their cash on fast cars and naff handbags!
      Thanks for the tip, he's put that on his shopping list! x

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  33. It's nice to see it under restoration, I think it helps to really see the building. And it means you have an excuse to go back when it's fully restored :)

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    1. That's the great thing about having NT membership, you can revisit places rather than feeling pressured into spending your money on seeing new places all the time. xxx

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  34. Oh I was hoping you would want to borrow those Sphinx! Gorgeous restorations here, and what a history. Thanks for linking, xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. I don't know about borrow, I'd have a hard time giving those ladies back! x

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  35. WOWW, thanks for that virtual trip!, I've enjoyed all those pretty details which caught your eye!, marble pieces, sculptures and the beauty of a well made old building and gardens!
    And you rock in your maxi and leather coat, such a glorious visión, lovely colors!!. Jon looks so elegant than usual, martens and a wool jacket is a fab combo! Wish he get well soon!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! We stood out from the other visitors as we weren't wearing rambling gear! xxx

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  36. Wow ,That's beautiful especially love the fireplace , loving that blue coat too xxx

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    1. That Adam fireplace is the best one I've ever seen. Maybe I'll find one at a car boot sale one day...haha! xxx

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  37. Cool pics and all but can we take a moment to talk about that blue leather jacket? YUM! Hee hee!!

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  38. No!!! I've only just read this and you were in Cambridge yesterday - that's only an hour from me, bugger. Although I was in bed all day as I'm on nights, but still - damn. Hope it was successful and you come this way again.
    As for Croome Court, wow what a stunner love everything about it, especially the graveyard and fireplaces. x

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    1. Nooooo!!! We'll be back. I'll give you a bit of notice next time - this was a last minute booking due to a cancellation. xxx

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  39. I know I've said it before, but it boggles my mind thinking about how old some of your structures are there in England. This property is absolutely stunning, and to think that you only had to hop in your car and drive an hour to get there! Amazing. So glorious. (I could go on and on with the accolades!)

    And if I'd seen the two of you cool-cats walking the grounds, there's no question, I would have found a way to talk to you. You both look terrific, in spite of Jon being unwell. Hope he feels better today. xo

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    1. And most of us Brits don't appreciate the history that surrounds us one tiny bit. Such a shame!
      Jon's loads better now, thank goodness. At least with the remains of his Goa tan he didn't look ill! xxx

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  40. OOOO, I love photos like these. And it warms my heart that places like this are being preserved for future generations to appreciate. Amazing architecture, stunning grounds. The marble carving is exquisite, as is your powder blue leather coat! Thanks for sharing these lovely pix of your tour.

    Theresa

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! The National Trust really are a wonderful charity, preserving our heritage for the nation to enjoy! xxx

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  41. What a lovely place, I think it's great that these places are being looked after so future generations can enjoy them! Love your blue coat too, such a great colour xx

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Love from Vix
xxx