Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nostell Priory and Parkland, England--The Priory

Nostell Priory's name comes from the original 1100s priory dedicated to St. Oswald. When King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, the priory became a private residence. The Winn family purchased the property in 1654 and have been living in it ever since. The current house was built in the mid-1700s with many changes over the three hundred years when various Winns redecorated according to their tastes.

Nostell Priory

Crest over the door

One of the first rooms we discovered inside is the Museum Room which houses many pieces from the long history of the Winns' collecting items from all over the world. The star of the room is the 18th century doll house (made before the house itself!). The doll house is so intricate in detail that it's assumed to be a model for adults to observe and enjoy, not a toy for children.

J by the doll house

The room also has a cabinet of curiosities, including items from ancient Rome, distant Africa, and nearby Lakes District.

Curiosities from around the world (and the neighbors)

Right next door is the Butler's Pantry with his own fireplace and work space.

The Butler's Pantry with its own stove

Two staircases lead up to the main living area on the first floor. Both are grand, though one staircase was for guests and the other for the family. The family staircase is just as nice as the guest one, which is unusual in such homes.

South staircase (visitors staircase)

Family portraits

At the front and center of the first floor is the Top Hall, used for entertaining. The room became a music room and included an organ at one point. The organ was donated to a Wragby church. A fine piano still adorns the room.

Fireplace in the Top Room

Piano with family pictures

The Crimson Room has a wonderful black and gold lacquer Chinese cabinet from the 19th century.

Chinese cabinet

Two bathrooms (which used to be dressing rooms) are just off the Crimson Room. The fixtures are early 20th century additions to the house.

A sink!

An old-fashioned tub!

The State Dressing Room is one of the fancy guest rooms. The bed is tucked into an alcove, which probably made things warmer in the winter. Chippendale made most of the furnishings as well as the wall paper in the 1770s.

State Dressing Room

There's also a State Bedroom to accommodate other posh guests of the Winns and originally furnished in the 1700s.

The State Bedroom Bed (not in alcove)

Adjoining is the State Dining Room. In the 1700s, this was a room for entertaining, not for daily meals.

State Dining Room

Next door is the Saloon, another exquisite room used for entertaining rather than everyday activities. Large gatherings or dances (think of all the balls described in Pride and Prejudice) would be held in here.

The Saloon

Yet another example of wealth is the Tapestry Room. In addition to the Flemish tapestries dating back to the 1800s, the room has a fine collection of furnishings from Chippendale and from across the seas.

Vases and a French cabinet

My favorite room is the Library. A cozy fire and hundreds of books are all I need to feel fabulously well off. Maybe a chair, too.

The library

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