I popped down to A La Ronde, a little National Trust property that overlooks the Exe estuary, a few weeks ago. It was one of those beautiful autumn days that I add to my memory store, to help me throught the winter. A La Ronde was built in the 18th century and isn’t actually round – it has sixteen sides! Those of you who love windows would fall for it, they are a delight. I hope this photo is legible, read a little of its history.
And here is some of the exterior, click on any photo for a better view.
The Old Laundry
I’ll be back sometime with some inside shots, the Parminter ladies had some bizarre design ideas and quirky collections. Meanwhile here is the outside of the house, just before the painting was finished.
Reminiscent of medieval windows
In repose against an ancient wall
Twinned seats in iron wrought
Languishing until the return of spring
To warm and settle the metal
Into a welcoming retreat
Until then you chill the cheeks
Of any brave or foolish souls
Who linger in the sleeping garden
Unblessed by loves gentle glow
Buckland abbey was founded in 1278 by Cistercian monks on land overlooking the tranquil Tavy valley. The monks were responsible for building the great barn, an impressive building which would have been a treasure store of produce grown on the large estate given to them by the then Countess of Devon, Amicia.
The abbey thrived for two hundred and fifty years until the dissolution of monasteries by Henry 8th and in 1541 the monarch sold Buckland to Sir Richard Grenville who converted it into a home, tearing much of it down, but unusually for the time the church was kept to become the main part of the house. Here is the great barn.
It’s far bigger than it looks on the outside!
Towards the entrance
Small shafts of light.
Huge doors were built to allow carts to drive in at one and out at another so that goods and produce could be unloaded in shelter.
The far end.
Wooden vaulting, the exterior would have been thatch.
The barn’s vast interior
An ancient apple press
I’ll be back tomorrow with some photos of the garden.
Sharon recently wrote a guest blog for me, a story written as a tribute to Agatha Christie inspired by my photos of her garden, Greenway, now a National trust property on the River Dart. In that post I said that there is very little parking there and they encourage you to arrive by public transport. When I went I got a ferry up from Dartmouth, a very relaxed way to travel. There are other choices though and this is one, a 1947 Leyland Tiger!