Lotherton Hall is only five or ten minutes away from where we live by car, and we've visited many, many times, but have never actually been inside the house. Each month, Mick and I are going on a date as one of my yearly challenges, so I thought our date for May could be at Lotherton Hall, and we visited on Saturday.
I wrote a bit about the history of the house in my post Lotherton Hall and Doggy Ghosts back in 2011, though the pricing structure for entry to the house and grounds has changed since then.
The first thing we did was look around the bird garden. Dogs aren't allowed in this part of the estate, so Mick's never been in, but as Archie wasn't playing gooseberry on our date, it allowed us the chance to have a good look round. I'll tell you more about it in my next post.
Our next stop was the little chapel. It was built in the twelth century and restored between 1913 and 1917. Soldiers who came to stay at Lotherton, when it was used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, were able to worship in there.
Some Norman windows remain in the chapel, which are thought to date between 1170 and 1180 when the chapel was built. I think this little stained glass window showing the Virgin and Child is lovely.
It's a memorial to Mrs Gascoigne's sister, Evelyne Cunliffe, who died in 1928.
The font is a plaster copy probably taken from a medieval example which the Gascoignes saw on their foreign travels.
A Sunday service is still held once a month in the chapel.
After a good look round the chapel, we went in to the house. Unfortunately, photography isn't allowed, so I can't show you any photos, but I can highly recommend it. Restored servants' rooms have recently been opened to the public, and an exhibition, Dressed For Battle, is also running, which shows how the war influenced fashion. Two of the bedrooms are displayed as they would have looked when the house was being used as a military hospital.
We had a wander around the grounds, which are full of colour at the moment with these polyanthus spread around lots of the flower beds.
They're even brightening up this stone trough.
The wild garlic, or ramsons, is just starting to come in to flower. The woodland floor is covered with them at Lotherton.
We made our way to the Stables Cafe where we indulged in tea and cake, though Mick had a cold drink, he doesn't like tea. It was a lovely day, even though it was a little windy, so we decided to make the most of it and sit outside. I had a piece of chocolate and orange marble cake, whilst Mick had a square of caramel shortbread. He was rather disappointed with it as he said it wasn't a patch on the caramel shortbread which I make, praise indeed.
It was another lovely date, and it just goes to show that you don't have to travel far for a wonderful day out. My next post will be all about the bird garden.