Michelham mysteries

The English countryside is as studded with gems as a royal tiara. It would be a lifetime’s work to see all the castles, manor houses, religious houses, garden follies, historical buildings, and the rest—and that’s before one adds gardens, archaeological sites, and actual natural beauties onto the list.

Now, I appreciate the big names on offer: the Blenheims, Chatsworths, and Longleats are completely stunning, and leave a person with neckache from gaping at the assembled wonders of several generations of obscenely wealthy family. However, my tastes in architectural gems run to the more idiosyncratic and complex. Owlpen Manor, Broughton Castle (which is not really a castle, since only the wall is castellated), Calke Abbey (similarly misnamed)—those are the places that tempt me into wandering for hours, poking into the odd corners, wondering over the revealed layers of the building’s history, encouraging my imagination to stir…Michelham back

Today I spent many hours at one that goes near the top of my list of favorites: Michelham Priory. Medieval foundations, Tudor walls, a moat and mill,Michelham moat

a remarkably sensitive early 20th century restoration, Michelham

Michelham hall

and a garden that makes the heart sing.Michelham garden

Now, if only I can find an excuse to set a story there…Michelham ceiling

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  1. Merrily Taylor on May 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

    You can do it, Laurie, I have faith in you! Beautiful pictures. Actually reminds me a little bit, inside, of Lew Trenchard (which I know was a “fake” old house, but still…).

  2. Kathy Reel on May 27, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    What a fantastic place! Oh, please do use this setting for a story! You must be having a lovely trip.

  3. Steffi Schnabel on May 28, 2015 at 1:27 am

    With that beams and landscape I can totally understand the sentiment. Don’t know of course if you can get to it while in England but a visit to Baddesley Clinton is also worth the journey there (filming location of “The Musgrave Ritual” with Jeremy Brett, by the way). And not wanting to be presumptuous or whatever but what about that very distant relative whose ancestor eloped to England a while back and on whose doorstep is found laying a dead man (who was out for something presumably hidden at nearby Michelham Abbey, thinking Rennes-le-Château and Abbé Saunière and his ‘riches’ now) and who has heard by now of Mary’s and Holmes’ partnership in crime-solving and who goes ‘oh, Mary must be that third cousin twice removed on my mother’s side – maybe she and her husband could help me out with not being arrested for murdering this man’. ;o).

  4. Chris on May 29, 2015 at 3:36 am

    …and I’m reminded of Heligan House – the inspiration for the setting in “Birth of a New Moon”?

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