Monday, May 04, 2009

Little Clarendon and Dinton Park

Bank Holiday Monday and I started the day by running the mower over our all-too-wet grass. An hour later and I'm not finished, the mower's battery is flat and I'm staggering into the house complaining to Clare that "I've pulled a muscle in my back!".

It wasn't enough to keep us in, as the dreary, threatening morning turned into a dreary, proto-drizzling afternoon. Into the motor and down to Dinton via Salisbury and Wilton.

Our first call was Little Clarendon, a 15th Century house restored in 1902 by the Reverend George Engleheart and his wife Mary.

Little Clarendon - a 15th Century House

Dinton is a small village and appears to be without a Catholic church. Obviously George's Protestant zeal hadn't worked its magic on his wife because by 1921 she had become Catholic and had converted the small bake house next to Little Clarendon into a Mass centre - a small Catholic church, as pictured below.

Chapel of Our Lady of Pity (1921)

The altar inside "Our Lady of Pity"

We then drove the half-mile to Dinton Park, with stately home Philipps House. Due to a shortage of National Trust volunteers, they were only opening the house on the hour, and shepherding visitors from room to room in a controlled way. We were lucky to arrive at five to three and after a short wait got to see the downstairs -lots of portraits of Philipps ancestors in the 17th-18th centuries looking a lot like Johann Sebastian Bach. Pictured below a view of the house as we were walking up to it.

Philipps House in Dinton Park

What else have we been doing over the last few days? Yesterday, when we had some sunshine, we drive to Upper Chute and took a walk througth the local valleys and woods, emerging into the final field before the pub where we were surrounded by these impassive but curiously insistent sheep.

Clare and the ominous sheep