This was another “Where shall we go this afternoon” effort on leaving Tetbury. A quick search on the National Trust mobile app yielded Newark Park. This began life as a hunting lodge in Elizabethan times and was added to over the years by successive owners until it was finally left to the NT. By then it was in such a bad state of repair that the NT originally planned to leave it to become a ruin and just maintain the grounds. Fortunately for all, a Texan on a bicycling holiday in the seventies (you couldn’t make that up) came across it a8nd decided that he wanted to buy it. The NT were unwilling to actually sell so an arrangement was reach whereby he became a “repairing tenant”, that is he could live in it as long as he repaired it.
Although he certainly did repair it and make it liveable and brought the grounds back to a good condition, he also filled the place with his own furniture and bric-a-brac collected over time from whatever junk or antique shop such that it became his own very idiosyncratic jumble. You have original Elizabethan rooms where the old fireplace has been hacked back by one long gone resident with a bed that looks like it is a half-baked escapee from one of the Earl of Bute’s gothic fantasies and a hopelessly bad painted on faux wood panelled wall from the seventies.
The net result is that the last owner’s sojourn has become as fully a part of the house’s history as any other which gives a unique charm. The NT has kept it all very relaxed and visitors are encouraged to make themselves feel at home and sit on the furniture in a way quite unlike the usual carefully protected NT property.
The gardens are in a similar way very relaxed and informal and graced by a beautiful and very tame peacock. I even have a video of him for your delectation.
As usual I have created a small gallery for our visit to Newark which you should find on the right side-bar.