Continuing with my mini-tour of the UK, I visited another serene site in Hampershire’s largest town, Basignstoke. My friend, Anthonia and I, decided to go for a weekend spa retreat in Basignstoke and so we thought it only wise to do a little sight seeing as well! While searching online for places to visit in Basignstoke, I came across a place called The Vyne and it sounded like a perfect place to visit! – and so we went there!
Once upon a time, The Vyne, a large expanse of land with a river turned lake right by the edge of the beautiful greenery that stretches right from the front entrance of a well preservedTudor house, once served as a stop over home for the Lords and Ladies of England. Built in the 1520’s this house was owned by William, Lord Sandys, the Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII. William was a close friend to Henry VIII who visited him many times at the Vyne. After the civil war, the Sandys could no longer keep the house as their fortunes suffered during the war and so they sold the house to the Chute family in the 1620’s. The Chutes owned the house for the next 3 centuries before handing it over to the National trust as care takers of the property.
It was amazing to see that a lot of the furniture in the house were still in their original state, with paintings intact, ceilings as magnificent as ever and a lot of history behind their existence. While walking through the house, a lot of the furniture had white coverings over them and when asked why they were covered we were told
“… The furniture are resting…”
… a term used to refer to a period of time, after the cleaning of furniture, when they are protected from sunlight to preserve their color and prevent them from fading away. There were loads of paintings on the walls of various people who lived in the house many years ago and a story behind each painting. We saw a particular picture of a man and someone who looked like his wife looking quite sad and downcast. We initially thought to ourselves that the man looked that grumpy because he didn’t want to have a painting of himself. We later on found out that the painting was done a few days after the death of the couple’s son and this painting was done to capture the grief the couple felt! Imagine how long it must have taken to get the painting completed. Now a days all it takes is one click on your smartphone and the moment is captured. I cannot imagine the grief the old man must have felt having to pose for the picture for days instead of mourning his loss. [Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the painting :'(]
Anyways, Going from room to room you could definitely get a sense of what life might have been back then. There was a chapel in the house where the Lord of the house took his mass daily and apparently had his own choir. The choir comprised of orphan children who sang at the chapel daily but they were also taken care of and sheltered by the lord. The chapel was beautifully decorated with stained glass, a magnificent ceiling and skillfully carved wooden furniture that gave the room a very peaceful and serene feel. One thing I also noticed was each ‘main’ room had a ceiling with so much detail – it almost felt like it was designed that way so people could just stare at them all day – but who looks up at the ceiling continuously?
As we continued our walk through the house, we walked into a room which must have been the study of the house. There were books lined up all across the walls and of course, we were curious to know if we could have a look at them to see what the writings and the style of English was back in those days (Not the era we live in now where lol is part of everyday vocabulary). Unfortunately we couldn’t. So we made our way to the charity bookshop in the house and bought a few books for ourselves for a pound each!
Then, as if God knew how curious we were, we spotted a huge map on the wall of one of the corridors. Reading what was written on it was so difficult even with the torch which was placed on the side stool close to the map.
” The design of this map is give an account of roads and diftances without scale or compafs. Roads are …. by strait parallel lines. Computed distances are included in fmall circles… Ellipses with figures … esprefs both computation and meafure… the post roads of england are diftinguifhed from other roads by a … line in the midle… “
… and I typed those words exactly as shown in the inscription below.
Could they not spell back then? or how much has the English language evolved since then?. Diftances not Distances? Meafure not Measure? Questions to ask when I get to Heaven!
It was quite fascinating just walking through a house with so much history. The size of it all, the stories behind each room. How did they keep warm in winter? Why so many doors in one house? Where were the bathrooms? Why were they ceilings so beautiful? Why was there a tomb beneath the house? (Opps! I forgot to tell you about that but the house was built on medieval grounds) Why were there no toilets in the house? Well, one fun fact we were told was that sometime during the renovation of the house in the 17th century, after the house was sold to the Chutes, they built one toilet within the house, which apparently, was a strange thing to do back then… Hmmm
Find out where else I’ve been in my ‘Where am I?’ Section Here!
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