ancient manors to ancient me

Down to Temple Guiting Manor where I am doing some research for the owner, and travel there in the company of old friend Ptolemy Dean. Ptolemy is the architect of a very fine new room just added to the house, which must be one of the finest additions to a house of this historic importance I have ever seen.

We arrived after dark, to stay the night and the mist, slight drizzle adds a particular atmosphere, and we admire the quality of the gardens designed by Ginny Blom, which has a positively ethereal quality in the night.

Restful night sleeping in a room carved out of the upper part of a medieval hall in the 16th century, only sound the striking of the hours by the parish church clock. Spend the morning picking over the timbers with the learned medievalist Dr John Goodall trying to work out the form of the medieval house below, who even finds time to visit the parish church and as we discuss the 18th century work there, he moots that it might have been worked on by Hawksmoor!

I was lecturing on Hawksmoor for students in London last week, and leapt into the pulpit to demonstrate that they were designed as auditories, as well as to refer back to the churches of the early Christians. There is a very funny description by Wren about how poor English preachers were, and as the son of a vicar he must have known! We went to St George’s Bloombsury and then to St Mary Woolnoth – masterpieces indeed.

Enjoying the amazing autumnal weather, walking Archie by the River Lode on Sunday. Now my daughters are 11 and 15 and so tall and beautiful, I begin to feel quite ancient! I wonder how long that feeling lasts?

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