Dyrham Park is only just a few miles down the road from us but we haven’t visited until now as it has been closed for winter. March and April are the months when many National Trust properties come back to life and open their doors to the public so yesterday we made our first visit. We will, I am sure, return a number of times to see the developments as large-scale renovation works are underway, especially on the roof.
To facilitate this a highly complex scaffolding construction is in place round much of the main house and access to the house at present is limited to a few rooms along the back. There is a very interesting exhibition detailing the original construction of the house by William Brathwayt, a contemporary of Samuel Pepys and similar to the great diarist a senior government administrator under William III, and the current restoration work.
The house is set in 260 acres of parkland within which deer still roam free while large formal gardens lay to the front of the house flanked by what are known as the “lost terraces”. These were constructed by Blathwayt along the lines of Dutch gardens such as Het Loo and required the shifting of huge amounts of earth. Once forgotten and overgrown the NT has embarked on a massive program to recover the terraces for the benefit and pleasure of today’s visitors.
As usual the teashop is in the best of possible NT taste!
St Peter’s Church
Built immediately to the right of the house the is a relatively undistinguished little church but it did have the burial stones of many of the Blathwayt and Winter family. William married into the Winter family from whom he acquired the original Tudor house and estate. Their tomb is also in the church dating from the late 16th century.
And here, in this little church we can reach back in time to different world but one where human lives and loves still speak to us.