Monday 19 October 2009

Turbines and Tudors

After a productive morning – I was sewing, Bob was gardening, we decided to go out for the afternoon.

DSCF0713 First stop the EcoTech centre at Swaffham. We looked at the turbine – that huge grey thing behind Bob is a blade from another turbine, and also the Orchard in the same field. This is where they are growing literally dozens of old apple varieties-  all organic, without use of pesticides or herbicides. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be bothered about picking the resultant crop. The ground was covered with windfalls, all slowly, sadly, rotting. I picked up half a dozen to make a crumble! [Free Food Is Fab!]

DSCF0715 On the other side of the field was a small building made using medieval methods – and in front of it a massive snail sculpture.

We looked round the Gift Shop –half of which seemed stocked with books about Being Green and Saving the Planet – and the other half was cheap plastic pocket money tat, presumably aimed at the hordes who come on school trips. We both felt disappointed and underwhelmed by our visit. But at least it was free to look round!

DSCF0716 We moved on to Oxburgh Hall – a National Trust property a few miles further south [I had a 2-for-1 voucher] This was much more enjoyable. This quintessential moated manor house, with its magnificent Tudor gatehouse, was built in 1482 by the Bedingfield family, who still live in one wing – although the NT have been guardians for over 50 years now. The rooms show the development from medieval austerity to Victorian comfort, and include an outstanding display of embroidery done by Mary, Queen of Scots. The NT staff in each room were really helpful.


I particularly enjoyed climbing through the tiny trap door into the Priest’s Hole!

The embroideries by Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick were quite stunning.

Maybe it was because it was late on a grey autumn afternoon and there was not much light outside – but we did find it quite hard to see things properly in some of the rooms. I appreciate that sunlight will cause fading – but I am sure that in some places they could have improved the illumination a little!

The Bedingfields are now linked by marriage with another ancient Norfolk family, the Pastons [famous for The Paston Letters] The Bedingfield’s are an old Roman Catholic Family, so their position has alternated between being Highly Favoured at the DSCF0719 Monarch’s Court to being quite Out Of Favour with the Crown.

The current head of the family, Henry Paston-Bedingfield is the ‘Her Majesty’s York Herald Of Arms In Ordinary  and responsible for overseeing the granting of new coats-of-arms.  He is an  expert on matters of heraldry and genealogy. So I guess that means he gets on OK with HM.

Henry Paston-BedingfeldHere is a picture of H P-B going to a garter Ceremony at Windsor – what an outfit!

After looking round the castle [including climbing onto the roof area over the Queen’s Chamber to look out over the Norfolk Countryside] We investigated the other things the NT was offering on-site.

We ignored the Cath Kidston handcream and Gisela Graham Santas in the Gift Shop and went straight to the Tea Room. The scones and clotted cream were of a very high standard!

Then back to Cornerstones – more sewing whilst Bob cooked a chicken for the evening meal. Tudor Castles are lovely to look round, but I am very happy with my little bungalow, thank-you!


  1. Hi Angela ~

    Sounds like a lovely day for you ~ thank you for sharing it with us!

    Sweet blessings,

  2. Fascinating! Thank you for the tour!
    Are you going to show us your sewing?

  3. Well, I had intended to post a few pictures of the machine in action, but I'm having problems with laptop reading the SD card. Also my sewing is Christmas Presents so it would only be 'teaser' pictures - cannot show the finished articles just yet!

  4. Lovely - I feel like I am on my hols reading your post:)

  5. Hi Ang,

    Sounds like you're having a lovely time :) J and I went to the EcoTech centre also - we found it very interesting and managed to get booked onto one of the climbs to the top of the turbine. Hard work... but a fabulous view!

    Cornerstones is such a blessing for you, I hope you have many, many happy years there.

    - Sera x


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