Not Found In Texas

Little treasures from my visit to an historic manor estate in England. 

posted by Baker Galloway.

In September I had the good fortune to travel abroad on an education opportunity and one of the places I stayed was the historic manor of Walcot Hall in Shropshire, UK – about 3 ½ hours train ride northwest from London, near the border of Wales in the Clun valley. 

For those of you who have seen an episode of Downton Abbey, you will know something of what this place is like. In it's heyday under Lord Clive I believe it took 40 or 50 servants to run the estate, now run by about 12 full-time employees who keep the grounds and rent out the facilities as a B&B and wedding venue. 

My reason for visiting was to attend a 5-day painting workshop being held at Walcot Hall in rented rooms specific to the course. My room was in an apartment in the stable courtyard's carriage houses. 

Before and after the daytime painting course I had the opportunity to explore the grounds of the estate and discover little treasures I had never seen the like of before on this side of the Atlantic. I've shared some photos below.

Front façade of the main residence at Walcot Hall. The part of the property is open only for special events like weddings. All other times it is closed as a private residence of the Parish family (owners) who live on site and manage the property. 

Front façade of the main residence at Walcot Hall. The part of the property is open only for special events like weddings. All other times it is closed as a private residence of the Parish family (owners) who live on site and manage the property. 

The bell in the cupola above the entrance to the stable courtyard strikes on the hour. The lawns are manicured smooth as any golf course and soft as any plush carpet I've ever stepped on. There is also an incredible variety of tree and plant life. Lord Clive and his descendants were apparently quite the world travelers, bringing back seeds from all over the world to populate their arboretums. 

The bell in the cupola above the entrance to the stable courtyard strikes on the hour. The lawns are manicured smooth as any golf course and soft as any plush carpet I've ever stepped on. There is also an incredible variety of tree and plant life. Lord Clive and his descendants were apparently quite the world travelers, bringing back seeds from all over the world to populate their arboretums. 

View through the arched entryway into the stable courtyard. This was one of my favorite vistas on the property. A zoomed-in view is below.

View through the arched entryway into the stable courtyard. This was one of my favorite vistas on the property. A zoomed-in view is below.

Hedgerows! I love hedgerows. What could be a more sustainable fencing solution than an actual living organism? I'm not if sure Texas lacks the weather patterns or just the patience to sustain this kind of landscape element, but I for one would love to see more of it.  As you can see in the background, a quilted patchwork of farmland covers this hilly region of England. I suppose they have enough regular rain to not need the terracing or levees that farming usually requires in America. 

Hedgerows! I love hedgerows. What could be a more sustainable fencing solution than an actual living organism? I'm not if sure Texas lacks the weather patterns or just the patience to sustain this kind of landscape element, but I for one would love to see more of it. 

As you can see in the background, a quilted patchwork of farmland covers this hilly region of England. I suppose they have enough regular rain to not need the terracing or levees that farming usually requires in America. 

Ballroom built by Lord Clive specifically to house a 45-foot x 18-foot rug from India that at the time was apparently the grandest, richest and largest rug in Europe. Lord Clive apparently won his massive fortune in the colonization wars in India.  Did you know? The last Russian monarch Czar Nicholas II, on his final visit to Europe, stayed at Walcot Hall with the Clive family and went pheasant hunting in what is now the cow pasture. I don't believe the room I stayed in was the same room Czar Nicholas stayed in, however. 

Ballroom built by Lord Clive specifically to house a 45-foot x 18-foot rug from India that at the time was apparently the grandest, richest and largest rug in Europe. Lord Clive apparently won his massive fortune in the colonization wars in India. 

Did you know?
The last Russian monarch Czar Nicholas II, on his final visit to Europe, stayed at Walcot Hall with the Clive family and went pheasant hunting in what is now the cow pasture. I don't believe the room I stayed in was the same room Czar Nicholas stayed in, however. 

Doors in the tall brick wall of the botanical gardens. Walcot Hall website says the gardens cover 30 acres. I think I explored most of it. 

Doors in the tall brick wall of the botanical gardens. Walcot Hall website says the gardens cover 30 acres. I think I explored most of it. 

Looking through the same doors. Everything in England is always wet, wet, wet. 

Looking through the same doors.

Everything in England is always wet, wet, wet. 

The focal point of the botanical gardens is the croquet lawn. Yes, this lawn is mowed every other day and kept specifically for croquet. Surrounding the lawn is a cute little garden house for stepping in out of the rain, and the two-story fountain you see in the background. You can walk through/under the fountain through the stone archway you see on the far right. It's a beautiful little cave with cobblestone floor and calcium stalactites hanging from the ceiling.  This lawn probably gets the most use during wedding receptions and the like.  Up the hill to the right are a dozen or so cottages tucked in the woods, plus sheep pastures, a duck pond and further on a horse pasture surrounded by basically a castle wall. 

The focal point of the botanical gardens is the croquet lawn. Yes, this lawn is mowed every other day and kept specifically for croquet. Surrounding the lawn is a cute little garden house for stepping in out of the rain, and the two-story fountain you see in the background. You can walk through/under the fountain through the stone archway you see on the far right. It's a beautiful little cave with cobblestone floor and calcium stalactites hanging from the ceiling. 

This lawn probably gets the most use during wedding receptions and the like. 

Up the hill to the right are a dozen or so cottages tucked in the woods, plus sheep pastures, a duck pond and further on a horse pasture surrounded by basically a castle wall. 

The property is full of little mysteries like this tiny door in the garden wall. I half expected to walk into Narnia on the other side. 

The property is full of little mysteries like this tiny door in the garden wall. I half expected to walk into Narnia on the other side. 

One more look at the cupola above the carriage house. 

One more look at the cupola above the carriage house.