Blickling Hall in Norfolk

Friday, 16 December 2016 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© Ben W Bell/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Ben W Bell/cc-by-sa-3.0

Blickling Hall is a stately home which is part of the Blickling estate. It is located in the village of Blickling north of Aylsham in Norfolk and has been in the care of the National Trust since 1940. In the 15th century, Blickling was in the possession of Sir John Fastolf of Caister in Norfolk (1380–1459), who made a fortune in the Hundred Years’ War, and whose coat of arms is still on display there. Later, the property was in the possession of the Boleyn family, and home to Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife Elizabeth between 1499 and 1505. Although the exact birth dates of their children are unknown, historians including Eric Ives are confident that all three surviving children were likely born at Blickling – Mary in about 1500, Anne in about 1501, and George in about 1504. A statue and portrait of Anne may be found at Blickling Estate which carry the inscription, “Anna Bolena hic nata 1507” (Anne Boleyn born here 1507), based on earlier scholarship which assigned Anne a (now thought highly improbable) year of birth of 1507. The estate covers 4,777 acres (1,933 ha) and includes: 500 acres (200 ha) of woodland, 450 acres (180 ha) of parkland and 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) of farmland. Much of it is classified as Grade 2 and 3 agricultural land which is actively managed by the National Trust to provide income to support the house, gardens, park and woods.

After the death of Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian (the last private owner of Blickling) in December 1940, the Blickling estate passed into the care of the National Trust as part of his bequest. During World War II the house was requisitioned and served as the Officers’ Mess of nearby RAF Oulton. It was at this time that the house and its estate passed to The National Trust, under the terms of the Country Houses Scheme. RAF servicemen and women were billeted within the grounds in Nissen huts, whilst RAF Officers were housed within Blickling itself. The National Trust has created the RAF Oulton Museum on site in tribute to the RAF pilots and ground crew who served in the Second World War, and this may be visited for no additional entrance fee. At the end of the war, the house was de-requisitioned. The National Trust again let it to tenants until 1960, when the Trust began the work to restore the house to a style reflecting its history. The house and grounds were opened to the public in 1962 and remain open under the name of “Blickling Estate”. In 2015 the National Trust marked the 75th anniversary of Philip Kerr’s death with a celebration of his life and times. Work began in October 2015 to introduce a heat pump system, using residual warmth from the lake. A raft of tubes, filled with a plant-based glycol, would be sunk into the take and the liquid pumped into the main boiler-room for conversion to a higher temperature to heat the hall and west wing of the building. The new system would allow the removal of two oil tanks, and produce an annual saving of more than 25,000 litres of oil, and £16,000.

© DeFacto/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Ben W Bell/cc-by-sa-3.0 © geograph.org.uk - Les Hull/cc-by-sa-2.0 © geograph.org.uk - Philip Halling/cc-by-sa-2.0
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© geograph.org.uk - Philip Halling/cc-by-sa-2.0
The library at Blickling Estate contains one of the most historically significant collections of manuscripts and books in England. The most important manuscript associated with the house is the Blickling Homilies, which is one of the earliest extant examples of English vernacular homiletic writings. The Blickling homilies were first edited and translated in the 19th century by Richard Morris, whose work is still considered definitive. A more recent translation and edition by Richard J. Kelly was widely panned by scholars and critics upon publication. Another important manuscript formerly at Blickling Hall is the Blickling or Lothian Psalter, an 8th-century illuminated psalter with Old English glosses, now owned by the Morgan Library & Museum.

A house and garden existed at Blickling before the estate was purchased by the Boleyn family in the 1450s, but no records survive to give an indication of their appearance. After Sir Henry Hobart acquired the estate in 1616, he remodelled the gardens to include ponds, wilderness and a parterre. A garden mount– an artificial hill in Blickling’s flat landscape, was made to provide views of the new garden. With the accession of Sir John Hobart (later the 1st Earl of Buckingham) in 1698 the garden was expanded to add a new wilderness and the temple was constructed. In the latter half of the 18th century John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckingham, embarked on works that would radically change the appearance of the gardens. All traces of formality were removed, and naturally arranged clumps of trees were planted to create a landscape garden. By the 1780s an orangery had been built to overwinter tender citrus trees. Following the 2nd Earl’s death in 1793, his youngest daughter Caroline, Lady Suffield, employed landscape gardener Humphry Repton and his son John Adey Repton to advise on garden matters. John Adey Repton would go on to provide designs for many garden features. The estate was inherited by nine-year-old William Schomberg Robert Kerr, 8th Marquess of Lothian in 1840. He later re-introduced the formality and colour schemes of the parterre. After his death at the age of 38, responsibility for the gardens rested with Lady Lothian and her head gardener Mr Lyon. Philip Henry Kerr, 11th Marquis of Lothian, inherited the estate in 1930. After disparaging comments in a publication of Country Life, Lothian engaged socialite gardener Norah Lindsay to remodel the gardens. In the parterre she replaced the jumble of minuscule flower beds with four large square beds planted with a mixture of herbaceous plants in graduated and harmonious colours. Other improvements included removal of a line of conifers in the Temple walk, which were replaced with plantings of azaleas. The garden at Blickling covers 55 acres (22 ha) and contains formal and informal gardens, Grade II listed buildings and structures, woodland, specimen trees, Victorian garden ornaments, topiary, the kitchen garden (open to the public 2010), and 18th century yew hedges.

Read more on NationalTrust.org.uk – Blickling Hall, VisitNorfolk.co.uk – Blickling Hall and Wikipedia Blickling Hall (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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