Saturday, 25 July 2009

Lavender Blue

According to the Language of Flowers, lavender symbolises love and devotion (and luck). At Snowshill Lavender farm, over 53 acres of lavender are currently in bloom so love should certainly be in the air.

Lavender thrives on the free-draining limestone hills at the heart of the English Cotswolds. At 1000 feet above sea level, the combination of soil type, altitude and climate of the area produce ideal growing conditions for English lavender. It's a beautiful place and particularly worth visiting at this time of year when the lavender is at its best.

Here are a few piccies from my visit yesterday - unfortunately, they are not scratch and sniff which is a real pity because the smell was heavenly!

Just a mile or so away from the lavender fields is the National Trust-owned Snowshill Manor. Snowshill Manor was previously owned by the wealthy eccentric Charles Paget Wade. He trained as an architect, but when he inherited the family fortune (built on sugar plantations in the West Indies) in 1911, he was freed from the necessity of working. He purchased Snowshill in 1919 and thereafter devoted himself to restoring the manor house and gardens and using it to house his ever-growing collection of eclectic objects, which reflected his interest in craftmanship.
Charles chose to live in a small cottage in the garden. He gave Snowshill and its astonishingly diverse contents to the National Trust in 1951.

Several ghost stories surround Snowshill Manor. One involves a clandestine marriage that took place in an upper room of the house on St Valentine's Eve, 1604. Ann Parsons, a sixteen-year-old orphan heiress related by marriage to John Warne (owner of Snowshill at the time) was forcibly removed from the home of her guardian by Anthony Palmer, a handsome twenty-year-old servant, and some friends. She was taken to Snowshill Manor and married to Palmer at midnight in the room above the Great Hall by the vicar of Broadway. The marriage was subsequently declared invalid by the court of the Star Chamber. The room where the marriage took place is now known as Ann's room, and is supposedly haunted by her ghost.

(photo of Snowshill Manor by Colin Hogben at Wikimedia Commons)

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