The Thing I Didn’t Tell You About Lower Brockhampton Farmhouse…

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…was that out in the garden the air was filled with the dreamy scent of cyclamen. They were growing everywhere including under a medlar tree whose unpromising looking fruit is only ready to eat in winter, after it has ‘bletted’ i.e. the flesh softened by frost. Then, so I read, it tastes like apple sauce and can be eaten raw, or else made into a fruit jelly. The tree was introduced to England by the Romans.

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Nor inside the house did I show you the ornately carved Tudor bedstead in the master and mistresses’ bedroom off the gallery above the great hall. Or down below, the huge fireplace where once, in medieval times all the main cooking would be done. The spit-roasting tackle is on the floor beside the cast iron grate.

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Then there was the impressive timbering upstairs in the must-have gatehouse for the family going up in the world. Also in the doorway there was a nice sample panel of wattle and daub, the construction method of choice in medieval England. And then there’s the door itself – very much the thing to keep out unwanted callers with its faux portcullis lattice work:

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Back in the garden there was the swing to linger on, and across the moat the ruins of a thirteenth century Norman chapel. In the orchard the damson trees were hanging in fruit. I’m guessing these might have been sold as much for dyeing as for eating, since this is what they were used for in my part of Shropshire during the nineteenth century, and therefore probably earlier too. The apples in the orchard would have been turned into cider, Herefordshire’s traditional tipple.

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Cheers!

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

See previous post for more of the manor’s history.

In the Pink #7 

Today over at Becky’s it’s all pink wigs and tutus.

53 thoughts on “The Thing I Didn’t Tell You About Lower Brockhampton Farmhouse…

  1. Oh what a fabulous post. I’ve really enjoyed this. And do you know I’ve never known what medlar tastes of before now. Read about them lots in books but don’t think I’ve ever seen a description before. Thank you so much.

    1. The houses were indeed built amazing well. In Much Wenlock we have a number of 15th century cottages, though it’s hard to know as they’re often concealed inside added 18th century stone or brick exteriors. Still going strong though, as long as cement has NOT been used, instead of traditional lime mortar for any repairs to the later exteriors.

    1. I couldn’t do the bed justice – low light, small room, poor grasp of photography, but the ceiling inside it was wonderfully carved. I don’t remember seeing one so ornate. Also wondered why, given limited lighting arrangements at the time. Another prestige item perhaps. Happy Saturday. Ours is being wet and dreary so far. Good to have some rain though.

  2. My soul sighed with delight when I read the post and saw the photos. Just what I needed this morning and a delightful wander inside and out.

    (Somehow I didn’t get that posted this morning. But here it is, better late than never.

    janet

  3. The more you tell us about this beautiful place the more I would love to visit it, everything about it needs lingering over and absorbing. Didn’t actually realise cyclamens had a perfume and they look so delightful around the base of the tree. I must smell the cyclamens next time I go to the local nursery

  4. I am so delighted you have brought us on a more detailed tour of the farmhouse and the gardens. I was intrigued by the notice at the end of the bed about the light levels. I would hate to think what they are like in my house, in fact in most modern NZ houses. ( Trying to protect everything, including ourselves, from sun/light damage is a never-ending process.) It was exciting to see the medlar tree. In 2013 I did a series on medlars and the bletting thereof. Here is the link to one of the posts, if you are interested. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/what-did-i-do-with-the-medlars/ Sadly, I haven’t had any medlars since 2013. 😦

    1. Thank you so much, Ann, for those links. I now feel equipped to get to grips with a medlar should any cross my path. As to light levels, it’s one of the things that irritates me about NT places – though I well understand the conservation reasons for all the blinds etc. I’d forgotten that it was a very particular problem generally in NZ.

  5. this place has such atmosphere besides being picturesque – we think of moats to keep others out but I suppose they had other functions? thank you for the tour Tish – I loved
    the gardens and the sight of Cyclamen hederifolium – the sowbreads of pig diets –

    1. You are a whizz for marvellous snippets. Sowbreads. Well fancy that. The flowers are so delicate, it’s hard to associate the plant with rootling pig-kind. As to farmhouse moats, I was wondering if they had other functions – rearing fish for instance. I suppose it rather depended on if they were also used as human waste disposal units.

      1. pigs snuffling up the tubers -did this help the flowers spread rather than decimate them?
        I had wondered about water closets too but only the gatehouse sits over it and I suppose the gatekeeper had other fish to fry !

      2. Sadly pig dispersal of plant forms was not covered in my biology lessons. And why not one asks oneself 🙂 But imagine the rootling might help rather than hinder, as bits of root matter escaped and perhaps were trampled in too. The clumps at Brockhampton were definitely all choked up and in need of splitting and spreading.

  6. This was a much more intimate and close-up walk through a piece of history. My favourite photo is the open door looking down onto the lower level. Those old wooden floor boards shout out to me of untold stories! Oh, if only these old buildings would share their secrets!

    1. That is a very spine-tingling thought, Joanne. Tell us your tales, you floor-boards, you. How many feet have padded over you. What were those people up to; the living and dying; laughter and tears; guttering candles on winter nights; pre-dawn rising to bird song on mid-summer mornings…

  7. I think I prefer this to the grander places, it has lovely detail. Medlars are stunning trees, but I’ve only seen a handful of them, a pity they’re not more common, but perhaps they are in other parts of the country.

    1. I agree with you. You can embrace the smaller properties, rather than be overwhelmed as I tend to feel by the scale/opulence of the stately piles. As to medlars, I think they are pretty uncommon these days. Now I’ve seen Gallivanta’s posts, I can tell you, the insides of the fruit look so past-it when ready to eat, that I imagine they have lost their appeal.

      1. Dylan and I are both well, thank you for asking. My absence has been due to a new humanitarian project that dropped in my lap right after I came back from Sweden. It has required my undivided attention, but I hope to get things stabilized enough to get back to blogging soon 🙂

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