Raynham Hall, Fakenham
The Marquess and Marchioness Townshend
William Kent was active in decorating Norfolk houses during the 1720s, particularly at Holkham and Houghton, but it is a particular and rare pleasure to be able to see his work at Raynham. The house was started in the 1620s by Sir Roger Townshend, after visiting the Low Countries and being inspired by Inigo Jones, Surveyor-General of the King’s Works. Minor works were carried out later by the second baronet. It was only in 1723 that Kent became involved with the interior decoration of the house for ‘Turnip’ Townshend, the second viscount. He designed the magnificent Marble Hall, the very typical enfilade of rooms on the east side of the house (which reveal how surprisingly intimate this large house is) and the State Dining Room, with its screen, an allusion to a Roman triumphal arch. Lord and Lady Townshend will take us around the house preceded by a talk on the portraits by the conservationist restorer.
Sennowe Park, Guist
Mr and Mrs Charles Temple-Richards
The approach to Sennowe is spectacular. The house which stands on a shoulder of hillside gazing proudly out over park, lake, the River Wensum and the landscape beyond, was originally built in 1774. It was remodelled by Decimus Burton (of Kew Palm House fame) in 1855 and then transformed in 1907 in the Edwardian Baroque style for Thomas Albert Cook, grandson of Thomas Cook, whose descendants live here still. The Italianate garden of the same date falls towards the park in monumental terraces. This is a wonderful and very comfortable house, whose history will be explained to us by Charles Temple-Richards, the current owner, before lunch in the winter garden.
* There are double and twin bedrooms, available for bed and breakfast at Sennowe Park. If you would like to book, please contact Virginia Temple-Richards directly at email@example.com
Tudor Lodgings, Castle Acre
Mr and Mrs Gus Stafford Allen
Castle Acre had the grandest motte-and-bailey castle in England, built by William de Warenne around 1070, who then founded the priory in the 1090s. The town was walled in the 12th century. Tudor Lodgings, which Pevsner describes in detail, was originally 15th century monastic lodgings in the south west corner of the town. Today the two-acre garden, which lies between the house and the impressive remains of the Norman earthworks, is made up of a series of rooms; the first with a view from the terrace (with its Mondrian-inspired parterre) over the walls into the fields beyond the village. Beyond the unusual square dovecote and some intriguing box shapes, is a triangular space with an inspired planting of Panicum virgatum which leads on to the vegetable garden and a wilder area with a pond and shepherd’s hut sheltered by the enclosing banks of the town walls.