Sunday was a special day at National Trust property Mottistone Manor, it's the only day of the year that the house is open to the public. This year was even more special because, in the morning, guided tours were being given by members of the Seely family who gifted Mottistone to the trust in 1963, going on to lease it back from them, which is why normally only the gardens are open.
The house was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and the older part of the building which in this picture looks to be made of lighter stone was build round a saxon long house. The house now is a charming example of a small tudor manor house that has been sensitively renovated by the architect John Seely. there is also magnificent tithe barn.
this extract from the Brook Village Website gives some information about John Seely, who as "the second Lord Mottistone, was a talented architect who, together with his partner, Paul Paget, formed the firm of Seely and Paget in 1926.
One of their first commissions involved designing the opulent former Eltham Palace for Stephen and Virginia Courtauld and their pet ring-tailed lemur.
They restored many damaged church buildings after World War Two and restored parts of Windsor Castle in the 1960s. They also became surveyor to St Paul’s Cathedral, where the candles on the choir stalls are called ‘Mottistone candles'.
The Shack in the grounds of Mottistone Manor was used by the architects as a retreat and country office. Built in the 1930s, it is an example of Modern Movement design.
Local examples of John Seely’s work include Mottistone Manor, Little Brook and Shalfleet Church Hall. It is he who is to be thanked for gifting much of Mottistone to the National Trust and ensuring that the countryside, coast and downland did not become overdeveloped in the 1960s".
The shack in the garden is still there and is unique with its original fittings - unfortunately I was not able to get the right angle to take a successful photgraph of it though! Here are some flowers to make up!
The real joy of the day was the guided tour of the house by the current Lord Mottistone's sister. No photography was allowed ( understandably as this is a home not a museum), however if you are interested in catching a glimpse of the interior some pictures can be found here. Hearing the stories from a family member really made them come alive; especially when she spoke about her grandfather known as 'Galloper Jack' and his charger 'Warrior" who managed to get through the whole of the first world war, pretty much the first to the last day, relatively unscathed. It is said that some of the adventures of Michael Murpurgo's War Horse we based on Warrior. For tales of Victorian 'Dering Do' Galloper Jack and Warrior can't be bettered. Galloper Jack's biography has been written by his grandson Brough Scott and more information can be found here . You can also purchase the book of course.
Tour of the house finished, we continued look round the garden enjoying the carefully tended borders.
before making our way up through the bluebell woods
to the Longstone. A megalithic site, the only one on the Island, roughly contemporary with Stonehenge.
We stopped to savour the views before taking a circular route back to the manor. We dropped in at the farm shop on the way home where we found this barn with particularly photogenic occupants.