On a spectacularly sunny day in June a friend and I visited Brockhampton Estate, a National Trust site in Herefordshire. The Estate features a moated manor house and gatehouse surrounded by a 1,700 acre estate.
On arrival you have the choice of parking at the top and walking down to Lower Brockhampton or driving down – we opted to walk and were very glad we did. The views at the start are spectacular,
and the trail then lead us through the woods which, although a bit steep in places, eventually lead us through a field,
allowing us the first glimpse of the house in the distance.
The house was built around 1380-1400 and originally the moat would have completely surrounded it. The striking gatehouse that straddles the moat was erected more for decoration than any true purpose and was built around 1530-40. You can actually go inside the gatehouse for a brief look around yourself. Just a plain room now it would have been used by the gatekeepers to store wine as well as supplies for the working dogs.
The interior of the house recalls 600 years of its history, each room laid out as it would have been used by a different family that once lived there such as the Freegard’s who were tenants in 1952 and who planned to keep cattle and lambs and grow apples in the orchard. This is their sitting room, where visitors were entertained, the children played and farm accounts were calculated.
And this is the kitchen area of 1910 where one of the excellent volunteers talked us through some of the food and drink that would have been made here by Alice Dennett, wife of one of the estate gamekeepers.
There are also the ruins of a chapel near the house which a recent archaeological investigation found to have no remains within them, despite the presence of burial stones. This seems to show that the chapel was a Chapel of Ease, used when access to a parish church was difficult.
We were both really impressed with the Estate, which looked particularly glorious in the bright sunshine. There were lots of other things to do which we didn’t explore, such as nature trails, so even a whole day spent there might not be enough to see everything. A really lovely place nestled in Herefordshire that was well worth a visit.
You can find more of my photos of the Estate here.