Perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited house in Britain, Hemingford Grey's manor house was built for Payne de ... More
Perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited house in Britain, Hemingford Grey's manor house was built for Payne de Hemingford in around 1140. Traces of the Norman structure are still visible. By the 20th century it was semi-derelict until the 30s, when artist Lucy Boston moved in. When Boston turned to writing stories in the late 1940s, the Manor took on the role of Green Knowe. The first book, The Children of Green Knowe, was published in 1954. Boston was a keen gardener and especially loved roses and other scented plants, which are still in the garden to this day. The interior of the house is only accessible with a pre-booked guided tour.
If you have read the books of Green Knowe, visiting is like stepping into the subtle and fantastic world Lucy Boston created. The green deer is there, as is the moat, and Tolly's bedroom is exactly as if he had just stepped out of it.
It's still a home and it feels like one. History - the oldest part of the building is Norman, for example - and fable, woven so beautifully in the stories, is alive here, and can be found in the astonishing patchworks Lucy put together. Diana Boston's narration is informal, welcoming and informative.
You can chill out in one of the prettiest gardens in England, with secret seats in unexpected secret gardens-within-the-garden - for a VERY nominal price (about a pound or something). You feel as though Lynette or Toby could be there,and you understand how Lucy could be inspired to write some of the most imaginative children's stories in English about the place.
It was cold and rainy the day I visited the Manor, but that hardly mattered; the house is amazing, with ancient flagstone floors sloping wildly and the thousand-year-old fireplace taking up nearly the entire wall of one room. I had read all of LM Boston's books as a child, and as an adult was positively gleeful to find that my favorite imaginary world actually existed.
The house is magical, and the gardens are a delight to explore. Obviously, if you know the books you will get so much more out of this visit, and it is great fun to look out for the various artefacts from the stories, but the building is extremely interesting and unusual anyway,with much atmosphere. Lucy Boston�s patchworks are beautiful, and we were especially fortunate to be shown around by Diana Boston, Lucy�s daughter-in-law, who was an excellent guide and brought it all to life. Highly recommended.
The Quality Hotel Northhampton is situated approximately 19 miles from Luton International Airport, 30 miles from Birmingham International Airport, and
Heathrow International Airport. Local attractions include Althorpe House, Billing Aquadrome, Sixfields Leisure, Stowe Gardens, Sulgrave Manor, and Rockingham ...
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