Monday 24 July 2017

Where Time Stood Still

Yesterday we accompanied some friends in visiting a house in the Cotswolds. Chastleton House is situated north of Stow on the Wold in typical Cotswold rolling countryside.

It is a Jacobean house built in the first decade of the 1600s by the son of a wealthy wool merchant called Walter Jones. The house remained in the same family until 1991 when it passed to the National Trust in very poor repair but essentially unchanged since it was built. It has now been preserved in a restored but essentially unchanged state.

The house is approached through an archway into the forecourt garden.

The Cotswold stone exterior has been extensively restored by the National Trust.

The front door is hidden to one side of the steps. I would imagine this would be as a weather protection.

The church although it is adjacent to the house is not owned by the National Trust and is maintained by the local parishioners. 

It is possible to see almost the whole of the interior of the house. The information available in the rooms combined with the room stewards give a pretty full picture of many aspects of the house's history. Notable parts of the house included the secret room where a royalist supporter hid from Cromwell's soldiers. It is said that his wife drugged the soldiers by putting laudanum in their beer allowing him to escape from capture by horse.

Another point of interest was that the last family member to live in the house had 20 cats and a parrot for company. They lived with her in just two rooms of the house.

One family member Walter Jones-Whitmore in the 1860s had croquet lawns made and it was he that made the rules to which croquet is played today. These lawns have been reinstated and are there for all to use. Badminton was also played particularly in the long gallery at the top of the house. Shuttlecocks were found when clearing the house under the flooring. Badminton can also be played on one of the lawns.

In the words of one of the room volunteers "If only the house could talk".
Tomorrow I will show a little of the gardens.


  1. Looks a lovely house and one that I had not heard of. The book I am reading at the moment (How England Made the English, by Harry Mount) is very clear about the monumental impact (literally in terms of great houses and churches) that the success of sheep farming and the wool industry had on the English landscape, particularly in that part of the country.

  2. Oh my goodness, this is a day out I would have loved loved loved. Beautiful home, beautiful church.

  3. So many wonderful historic places within your reach! We played croquet with friends on Sunday night for the second time in recent history. I do like the game, but would like an opportunity to practice a bit before the next one.