Beningbrough Hall & Gardens

It was such a lovely day on the 1st January that I decided to have a ride out to Beningbrough hall & Gardens run by the National Trust.

I also created a short time lapse video of the sun setting although I didn’t get all of it as the gardens shut at 16:00

Busy days

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Goodbye October, Hello November

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”

J.K. Rowling
Short video looking at October as we say hello to November.
SJ Butler Photography

Nunnington Hall

Gourd!
That’s a lot of veggies!

I had a visit to Nunnington Hall & Gardens which is owned by the National Trust. Their botanical displays were absolutely gorgeous. Here are just a few of the many, many displays. If you want to find any information about Nunnington or any of the National Trust properties/gardens please click here.

Photographs by SJ Butler

Latest Instagram posts – check out the video of the gorgeous piano playing. I will be posting that sometime this week!

Busy, busy, busy!

I have been so busy these past few days, cramming as much as I can before going back to paying work. This time a long drive to Brimham Rocks.

The heather was looking lovely and purply – it has inspired me to make some heather coloured handmade paper which I will show you later.

On a world scale, natural heather habitats are extremely rare: rarer than rainforest. According to the Moorland Association, 75% of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain and that habitat has been declining rapidly. Brimham moor has the particular distinction of being home to three local varieties: ling heather, bell heather, and cross-leaved heath.

Heather

Brimham Rocks is one of just over 4,000 sites nation-wide which have been awarded the status Site of Special Scientific Interest’ (SSSI). Attributed by Natural England, this status is used in order to protect the natural, environmental or geological heritage of the British Isles from development, pollution or insensitive land management.


The natural spectacle of Brimham Rocks, with its giant rock formations, was created by an immense river 100 million years before the first dinosaurs walked the earth.

Dancing Bear

The rocks, sculpted by 320 million years of movement of entire continents as well as hundreds of thousands of years of ice, rain and wind, have taken on weird and wonderful shapes and with a little imagination, they resemble familiar creatures.  There is the Dancing Bear, the Gorilla, the Eagle and the Turtle.


Tuesdays Travels II

Another not so glorious day. Cloud with intermitting spots of rain. Did I get wet?…No thankfully I didn’t and the sun actually came out for a bit!

The National Trust property is called Goddard’s and it overlooks the Racecourse in York.

The house was built in 1927 for Noel and Kathleen Terry of the famed chocolate-manufacturing family Terry’s with the house designed by local architect Walter Brierley and the garden by George Dillistone. The garden is very pretty with a large border of purple lavender which intoxicates you with the unmistakable aroma.

“You’ll smell it before you even see it, that unmistakable aroma that fills your nose and seeps into your senses, instantly mellowing into a smooth and soothing scent.”

Blue Gold – P Smith
Bottom left is a Sarracenias, commonly known as pitcher plants, are carnivorous plants mainly from North America. They bear flowers that grow singly on tall leafless stalks and most have long tubular ‘pitchers’. Inside these pitchers is a well of digestive fluid that breaks down prey, which is then absorbed by the plant – yum yum!

If you’re interested to know where the quote comes from, it’s part of a sleep story from Calm, read by Stephen Fry and written by Phoebe Smith. I have not idea how the story ends as I feel asleep round about the 15 minute mark!


Tuesdays Travels

Another not so glorious day. Cloud with intermitting spots of rain.

I’d booked to see another National Trust property today so I’m hoping the rains actually holds off. Although If it does rain I’m running into the summer house or the greenhouses to drink my hot coffee and raspberry muffin!

Check back later to see if I stayed dry! (also to see images from today).

Fountains Abbey


Today started of very overcast with no sign of sunshine so I decided to head out Ripon way to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. When I arrived the sun decided to shine and it was soo hot! Hope you like the images and the brief history (National Trust).

Bridged – a scarlet contemporary bridge sitting across the river Skell, close to the site of a lost iron bridge from the 18th century.
The vista from the windows overlooking the River Skell

The abbey’s beginnings

The abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s in York. They’d grown fed up of the extravagant and rowdy way that the monks lived in York and so they escaped seeking to live a devout and simple lifestyle elsewhere. This was how they came to Fountains. 

By the time three years had passed the monks had become settled into their new way of life and had been admitted to the austere Cistercian Order and with that came an important development – the introduction of the Cistercian system of lay brothers.

Introduction of the lay brothers

The lay brothers (what we would now call labourer) relieved the monks from routine jobs, giving them more time to dedicate to God rather than farming the land to get by. It was because of the help of the lay brothers that Fountains became so wealthy through wool production, lead mining, cattle rearing, horse breeding and stone quarrying

It wasn’t all plain sailing

Bad harvests hit the monks hard and they also had to deal with raids from the Scots throughout the 14th-century, which led to economic collapse. This was only made worse by the Black Death which struck the country in 1348.  

Despite its financial problems, the Abbey remained important. The abbacy of Marmaduke Huby (1495 – 1526) marked a period of revival and the great tower built by Huby symbolises his hope for the Abbey’s future.  

The Dissolution

The Abbey was abruptly closed down in 1539 in the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII, and the abbot, prior and monks were sent away with pensions.

Fountains Abbey today

The estate was sold by the Crown to a merchant, Sir Richard Gresham. It remained in private hands until the 1960s, including William and John Aislabie who designed Studley Royal water garden of which the abbey became an integral part of. The National Trust bought the estate from the West Riding County Council in 1983.


Yorkshire Day


August 1st. A new month. Here in UK it’s Yorkshire Day.

What are the origins of Yorkshire day?

Yorkshire Day was first celebrated in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, beginning as part of a protest movement against local government reforms that came into force in 1974

The date alludes to the Battle of Minden, and also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, campaigned.

Dr Henry Irving, Senior Lecturer in Public History at Leeds Beckett University said: “Yorkshire Day is a relatively recent tradition.

“It began as a defiant way to celebrate the county’s history and heritages. Government changes abolished Yorkshire’s three traditional ‘Ridings’ and saw parts of the historic county transferred to Humberside and Lancashire.

“The day has a wider cultural value, as it gives the people of Yorkshire a chance to reflect on their heritage, and it’s a great opportunity to increase tourism and investment in Britain’s largest historic county.

“The fact that Yorkshire Day is still celebrated demonstrates the local pride and a particular Yorkshire ingenuity.”

How is it celebrated?

Typically Yorkshire Day involves eating a large amount of traditional Yorkshire food, but there are also some traditional customs which take place.

This year I celebrated by visiting Nunnington Hall and joining in with the festivities which include Morris dancing.

Leeds Morris Men at Nunnington Hall – Photography SJ Butler

WHAT IS MORRIS DANCING

There are many theories about the history of Morris dancing but whatever your viewpoint there is evidence that it has been around in England for many centuries often linked to seasonal celebrations such as the return of Spring and new growth, or at the return of the sun following the Winter solstice. The Morris dances of the Cotswolds, which we perform, are springtime dances. The wearing of brightly-coloured clothing, bells and waving of handkerchiefs celebrate the return of new growth or to ward off evil spirits.

Stick dances represent mock battles , and this again may be derived from a symbolic battle between Winter and Spring, Good and Evil, or Life and Death.  It is not known when dancing became a part of these annual celebrations but clear references to dancing can be traced to the Middle Ages and by the 16th century the Morris was recognisably beginning to assume the form in which it has come down to us today.

I like to give an insight into things that I see and photograph, it makes things that we see more interesting and knowledgeable, or it does to me anyway.

Images from National Trust Nunnington Hall. I love the structure of and that they have left part of the wall for you you to look at.

I also visited the gorgeous exhibition of works by Catherine Rayner. It’s so nice to be able to go and visit exhibitions again. They inspire me and sometimes help me with new inspiration for my own work.


Beningbrough Hall

Over the weekend I visited the National Trust property, Beningbrough Hall.

Beningbrough Hall is a large Georgian mansion near the village of Beningbrough, North Yorkshire, England, and overlooks the River Ouse. It has baroque interiors, cantilevered stairs, wood carving and central corridors which run the length of the house. Externally the house is a red-brick Georgian mansion with a grand drive running to the main frontage and a walled garden, The house is home to more than 100 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

The weather was just how I wanted it, warm and a bit cloudy. This is better for taking photographs as the flowers wouldn’t be too bright with the sun.

Elizabethan house

Ralph Bourchier inherited the Beningbrough estate in 1556 and began building the first house on a site approximately 300 metres south east of the present hall. This was the family home for around 150 years. Surveys suggest that it was timber framed with fine panelled interiors, some of which were re-used and can be seen in the present hall. In 1649 Ralph’s grandson, the puritan Sir John Bourchier, signed the death warrant of Charles I. He was too ill to be tried and died just before the restoration, escaping any punishment.

His son Barrington rescued the property from the threat of confiscation by Charles II, therefore keeping Beningbrough in the family.

The present hall

In 1700 John Bourchier inherited the estate, and in 1704 embarked on a grand tour of Europe, spending almost two years in Italy. 

On his return and inspired by the Italianate baroque architectural style, John planned and built the current hall, with William Thornton as his chief craftsman.

Thornton was responsible for the main cantilevered staircase and the fine woodcarving in the hall. Completed in 1716, the hall now stands proud at more than 300 years old.

 

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens

It was such a lovely day on the 1st January that I decided to have a ride out to Beningbrough hall & Gardens run by the National Trust. I also created a short time lapse […]

Goodbye October, Hello November

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.” J.K. […]

Nunnington Hall

I had a visit to Nunnington Hall & Gardens which is owned by the National Trust. Their botanical displays were absolutely gorgeous. Here are just a few of the many, many displays. If you want […]

Busy, busy, busy!

I have been so busy these past few days, cramming as much as I can before going back to paying work. This time a long drive to Brimham Rocks. The heather was looking lovely and […]

Tuesdays Travels II

Another not so glorious day. Cloud with intermitting spots of rain. Did I get wet?…No thankfully I didn’t and the sun actually came out for a bit! The National Trust property is called Goddard’s and […]

Tuesdays Travels

Another not so glorious day. Cloud with intermitting spots of rain. I’d booked to see another National Trust property today so I’m hoping the rains actually holds off. Although If it does rain I’m running […]

Fountains Abbey

Today started of very overcast with no sign of sunshine so I decided to head out Ripon way to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. When I arrived the sun decided to shine and it was […]

Yorkshire Day

August 1st. A new month. Here in UK it’s Yorkshire Day. What are the origins of Yorkshire day? Yorkshire Day was first celebrated in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, beginning as part of a […]