Thursday, 18 September 2008

Breamore House, ghosties & Museum of Rural Life (I)

(Click on photos to enlarge)

I'm afraid I was a bit naughty - photos weren't allowed to be taken in the house, but as there were no paintings to damage by flash down in the kitchen, I waited until the Guide had left the room and took a sneaky one! The barrel on wheels held beer, for the servants, and was filled twice a day. It says "Rest and be merry" around the middle!

Breamore House is an absolute delight and stands on a little rise of land, overlooking a beautiful Hampshire valley (that of the River Avon), midway between Salisbury and Fordingbridge. It was built by the Dodington family and completed in 1583, five years before the Spanish Armada. It is built in the shape of an E, to honour Queen Elizabeth I. It belongs to the descendants of Sir Edward Hulse, who was a Physician at the Courts of Queen Anne, George I and II. Apparently it was the film set for "Children of the New Forest."

There is supposed to be a ghost. Well, we never actually saw one, but good grief, the atmosphere in the first Elizabethan bedroom we were shown round was truly unwelcoming and I had to leave as I had an instant tension headache (which didn't shift for a couple of hours after that). Then in the next bedroom, the supposedly haunted one, I felt a distinct chill in one corner of the room and was more than a little perturbed when it grew icier and then followed me! Eeek! If that was the ghost, then I noticed it (and so did Tricia).

Somewhere on the estate is the Medieval Mismaze, which we tried riding to once when I was living in the Salisbury area, but we never did find it! It is cut into the turf and monks used to do penance by negotiating it on their knees.

The Museum of Rural Life has been greatly extended over the years, and Tricia and I spent some 2 hours exploring it. Within the large barns are reconstructions of an old saddler's shop, a general store, a dairy, a blacksmith's forge, a cartwright's, a cobbler's shed, a baker's, a laundry, an old garage, plus big displays of old farm machinery and tractors.

Here are photos from just one exhibit, which was the estate worker's cottage. I am old enough to remember most of the things inside it! I think this was my FAVOURITE part. This would have been called the scullery - we had a scullery at home when I was growing up - mum never called it the kitchen. Behind the mangle is the corner where the "copper" lived, which was set in brick to retain the heat I believe, and a small fire was lit beneath the boiler. It was heated to boiling and the whites washed first, descending through the washing in order of heat-tolerence, down to woollies last.

The hand punp (cold water only) reminds me of the scullery in my ex-husband's great-aunty's cottage in Dorset. I like the enamel saucepan stack but I'm not sure if they were stacked that way for cooking on one ring? Quite possibly. I hadn't come across these before, although I used to have a saucepan which was in three triangular sections so you could cook different vegetables in each.

A harmonium in one corner of the main room, and a hoop on the other side of the door by the trombone. I think they had a little metal piece which was attached and used to "bowl" it along the road.

Note the little fronting of curtain material over the fireplace mantleshelf, and the farm worker's gun (doubtless for rabbits). Oil lamps were used in rural areas until the introduction of electricity. Here in our part of Wales, that was as late as the 1950s.

A neat little dresser with some blue and white china, and the baby in the pram in the corner. It was very quiet when we were there!

An old sewing machine - essential when mother had to make all the clothes,curtains and repair and alter everything too.

I believe this holds the vinegar mother. The "bulb" on the top is to allow the gases which form to expand and then evaporate. Of course, I could be completely and utterly wrong - if I am, please let me know!!! I must go consult Dorothy Hartley's "Food in England" again . . .

A splendid much-loved Teddy Edward was sat up at table. Isn't he gorgeous?


Greentwinsmummy said...

OOO BB I loved this post! I adre Breamore & as have said before went there many many times with my nan :o)
I know that haunted bedroom the dark one on the right hand side of the hall with the dressing table & mirror,theres a ghastly feeling in there,its where the mother was laid to die after some horrid accident or suicide if I remember rightly? but the other room,was that the bluey themed one? I adored that room as a child & nan & I used to linger behind the guide & pretend that we lived there :o)
Happy happy memories,the museum is incredible,that little cottage has made me smile as after leaning as a small coveting it many years I have ended up living in a weeny one like it lol! I am sat here looking around this room & seeing it as that one there is in the photo!
The school is nice & the shop too,oh I so want to go there again now!!
I will be taking the smalls when they are a bit bigger :o)
Isnt it funny tho,most of us could be dropped into that cottage setting & within an hour of getting used to where things were probably rustle up a hot meal & do some washing :O)

Bovey Belle said...

It is a LOVELY place to visit GTM. You're right about the first haunted room (on the right) - then it's connected with the Dodington family - the husband committed suicide, and then their son killed his mother . . . The room after that did feel lovely - so light and airy - but when I walked into the right hand corner near the far window, that's when I got "pounced" on - then Tricia did too. She pulled back her sleeve and every hair on her body was standing on end - goosebumps! - looked like she'd just sat on a block of ice . . .

I could be right at home in that little cottage as it would have been rather like stepping back into my childhood . . .

Glad you enjoyed the visit - there is an extended tour starting shortly!

Goosey said...

You have made me want to go for a visit here! Much as I enjoy visiting the great and good mansions we have in this country I far prefer the kitchens and maids accomadation and little estate cottages...perhaps I can relate to them better! If I had been born then I would have been below stairs! Love reading your stuff, BW Goosey

nita x said...

lovely post jenny, really took me back. thank you :)

Kim said...

More lovely pictures and very interesting to read that both you and GTM picked up on the same feeling!

Kim x