With pandemic retreating, the Friends Trips and Visits team has finally been able to get out on the road. Here’s a glimpse of a very successful visit to Chavenage House….
by Pat Triggs – Friends of the RWA Committee: Trips and Visits
‘Must be one of the most enjoyable house tours ever’.
… A verdict on the visit to Chavenage House near Tetbury on 8 July 2021, echoed by everyone.
Chavenage House, built by Edward Stephens and completed in 1576, has been owned by only two families. It was bought by the Lowsley-Williams in 1891 and currently four generations of the family live in there. Caroline and George, daughter and son of the present owners, led the group tours, rich in history and anecdote, including the house’s recent history as a location for film and television drama.
For this year individual visits to the house have been suspended. The family hopes to reinstate these in 2022.
Pictured above is George Lowsley-Williams in the Great Hall, showing the Elizabethan minstrels’ gallery and screen with the 18th century chapel organ. The ceiling is new.
This tapestry which lines the walls of the Cromwell Room was one of the early productions made at the prestigious Mortlake Tapestry Works established in 1619:
When it was conserved by the V&A the design, with its exotic trees and flowers, was identified as ‘new world’, a product of 16th century expeditions and early colonisation by such as Drake and Raleigh. Taking down the tapestry, it was found to be attached to the walls by lead nails which could be dated to 1601.
The Cromwell Room (below) is named for Cromwell’s attempts in 1648, to persuade Nathaniel Stephens, MP, Lord of the Manor and Parliamentarian, to sign the death warrant for Charles I.
This bed also featured in the first of Chavenage’s forays into location work. Here, in the early 1970s, Ryan O’Neal, as Barry Lyndon, lay to have his leg amputated, with the film’s director, Stanley Kubrick, shouting ‘Scream louder, Ryan’. This episode was witnessed by George Lowsley-Williams, then a school boy.
Next time why not join us on one of our trips? See how to join the Friends of the RWA below…