After our morning stroll around Stratford we set out to visit a nearby National Trust property, set in the heart of the Forest of Arden, just through the busy village of Knowle at the smaller village of Baddesley Clinton.
Baddesley Clinton was a fortified manor house founded in the 13th century by Thomas de Clinton. The building you see now is from the 15th century, a stone house built by the Brome family, whose coat of arms can be found on the windows inside the hall.
The Brome family added the eastern side of the building which is now the main entrance under the two story gatehouse. The estate passed to the Ferrers family through marriage. Many of the internal structures were added by Henry Ferrers around 1580. The story of the hall and the Ferrers family at this time shows what it was like to be a practising catholic in a protestant society.
The Ferrers family remained members of the catholic church and were heavily fined for their beliefs. The remoteness of the manor house meant that several priests took refuge here and there are three priests holes in the building.
In 1591 there was a meeting of several prominent catholic and jesuit priests and sympathisers all of whom were being sought by the authorities. That night several of them stayed behind after the meeting and at 5a.m. the following morning just as they were starting early morning mass the pursuivants or priest hunters arrived at the door and were kept waiting by a servant long enough for the priests to clear away any evidence of the mass and escape into the secret places within the hall.
As you enter the inner courtyard it all seems so peaceful now after such a turbulent early history.
I was fascinated by the coats of arms on all the windows both from inside and outside.
In the corner, not far from the kitchen table was a priest's hole - I wasn't able to take a photo as it was always surrounded by visitors.
Above some of the earliest coats of arms in stained glass in the leaded windows
The moat surround the house and you can imagine how remote and well protected it must have felt to be staying here in such dangerous times.
In the 19th century the house was occupied by 'The quartet' who were the artist Rebecca Dulcibella Orpen the wife of Marmion Ferrers and her aunt, the novelist, Georgiana, Lady Chatterton and her husband Edward Heneage Derring. After the death of Marmion Ferrers and that of Lady Chatterton, Rebecca married Edward Derring. She was the last surviving member of the quartet to live at the hall until her death in 1923.
After looking around the house and the book barn we went into the gardens which were lovely.
There were plenty of colourful flowers in the borders
The pretty cream flowered plant above was covered with bees - I don't know what it is.
After strolling down to the ponds we sat for a while in the vegetable garden before finally setting off for home.