The Manor House, Ashby St Ledgers
Mr and Mrs Henry Guest
Sir Edwin Lutyens worked for many years for Lord and Lady Wimborne and created a remarkably homogeneous collection of buildings which include two 17th century manor houses, one of which belonged to the Catesby family, of Gunpowder Plot fame. Lutyens, with characteristic flare, linked the two buildings and added extra wings, including, somewhat reluctantly, a wing formed of a 17th century timber framed house, formerly in Ipswich. Inside the house, Lutyens remodelled the Entrance Hall and added the double height Stone Hall in 1909 and in 1924 built the new dining room. The garden, which lies to the east of the house, is also Lutyens’ creation. A formal lawn, flanked by sturdy yew hedges, drops down to a canal, still enclosed by yew hedges, that leads the eye down towards the lake. A cross axis from the canal terrace leads to a curious bridge, also designed by Lutyens, which crosses what could be medieval stew ponds. By happy chance the house, which had been sold by the 3rd Lord Wimborne in 1976, was bought back by his son in 1996 and is now the home of his cousins, Henry and Nova Guest.
Cottesbrooke Hall, Cottesbrooke
Mr and Mrs Alastair Macdonald-Buchanan
Cottesbrooke Hall, built between 1702 and 1713, is one of two houses which we will visit this summer (the other being Wotton), which were built at the same time, and in the same style, as Buckingham House, now Buckingham Palace. It may well have been the inspiration, one hundred years later, for Mansfield Park. The extensive park was laid out during the 18th century with a lake crossed by an elegant 1770s bridge. The formal gardens immediately around the house have been worked on by a roll-call of 20th century designers. The double borders of the Terrace Garden were originally planted in 1912 by the Scottish Arts and Crafts architect, Robert Weir Schultz and subsequently replanted to the designs of James Alexander-Sinclair. Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe transformed the former entrance forecourt in 1937 into a formal garden and Dame Sylvia Crowe designed the pool garden. Subsequently Angel Collins and Arne Maynard have been involved. Across the park is the Wild Garden, planted with Acers, cherries, bamboos and great swathes of Gunnera along a stream that meanders down to the lake.