Saturday, 9 April 2011

Step back in time - Elvetham Hall, Hampshire

I did mention earlier in the week, that on Thursday evening I was off to Elvetham Hall in Hampshire for a work meal/evening do. Elvetham Hall was a secondary home to the Seymour family (most notable for producing Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII of England), who held a number of noble titles including Duke of Somerset and Earl of Hertford. When I realised this was where we were going for our meal, I was far more excited about the location, than the meal itself!

I took the day off on Friday, so I could take my time over having a look around in daylight, as there wouldn't be much time available in the evening before sunset. I didn't know much about the place beforehand. It was rebuilt in the late 1800s, after the original house burned down in 1860. But the most exciting fact I learned was that Queen Elizabeth I had visited the Earl of Hereford at Elvetham in 1591, and had planted an oak tree in the grounds, which still stands today.

I had hoped for good weather, but I was absolutely spoiled. It was gloriously sunny on both days.

Elvetham Hotel
The front of the main house, taken from the entrance to the "Court" building,
where our hotel rooms were located

What really struck me on arriving wasn't the main house, though. It was the medieval church next door.

Elvetham Church
The path you can see on the left is the private entrance for the family.
The commoners would have entered through the lych gate at the back.

You get a real sense of what it must have been like, to be a member of the nobility living on an estate like this, back in those days. I did feel a bit like I was in a Jane Austen novel, especially when I found this bridge.

The gate leads to a long avenue of trees, the kind of place I imagine as being
where Mr Darcy presents the letter to Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice
There are so many statues and details on the outside of the building. Every time I looked up, I saw something different.
Random statue

Of course, the thing I really wanted to find was Queen Elizabeth's tree. How hard could it be, to spot a 420 year old oak tree? Not that difficult, as it turns out!
Found this on the wall at the back of the garden.

Oak Tree
Isn't it amazing! One of the oldest trees I've ever seen.

Inside, the Hall didn't disappoint either! Stained glass windows everywhere (some of them I think were robbed from the church, as it is no longer a functioning place of worship and all the windows are boarded up), wonderful painted wood panel ceilings, and huge, ornately carved stone fireplaces (originals from the Tudor period).
Drawing room ceiling
The drawing room ceiling, decorated with images of Queen Elizabeth I and other
members of the English nobility from the time.

Carved fireplace commemorating Queen Elizabeth's visit in 1591.

The Earl of Hereford
Everything in the house seems geared towards Queen Elizabeth.
This is part of an entire window detailing her visits to
all the main English nobles during her reign.

This is just a small selection of my photos. There are more in this set on Flickr, and even more that I haven't uploaded anywhere yet! I will get around to putting them all on Flickr eventually.

It was really nice to be able to just relax and wander around the place in the sun taking photos. I'm so glad spring is finally here, and we will have days and evenings sunny and warm enough to go out exploring for photo opportunities!


  1. That looks like an absolutely gorgeous place! And gorgeous weather too. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  2. xxxmckingbirdxx9 April 2011 at 17:02

    That place looks amazing. The buildings are stunning. That bridge does seem like a good spot Mr. Darcy to have delivered a letter.

  3. Beautiful! That tree is absolutely stunning, and the fireplace is something else. What a wonderful adventure you had! Thank you for sharing.

  4. WOW!!! That's about all I can say!!! WOW!!! I'm glad the weather was nice and you could explore! Thanks for sharing your pictures (and making me envious!)

  5. so beautiful thats why I love england the history!

  6. I ran residential management training programmes at Elvetham Hall For over 25 years from the early '70s.

    Apart from being a beautiful place, the 'Hall' provided a perfect ambience for training managers and every member of the staff, fror the whole of the time I was there, was helpful and supportive. A particular mention for Julie Trenear-Harvey, sadly; no longer with us. Julie coordinated all of the services that Elvetham provided to visiting training courses. She was excellent. Nothing was too much to ask of Julie to gaurantee the success of courses held at Elvetham.

    Carry on the good work, Elvetham!

    Albert Lawson
    Lawson Management Training



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