For years I've been meaning to attend the NGS Open day at Maxstoke Castle and Gardens, near Coleshill. Every year I've managed to either forget to check the date and thus missed or when I have remembered its been raining heavily! Yesterday I finally managed to remember in time and, although cloudy, it was dry so Brian and I popped along to have a look round.
The castle (better described as moated fortified manor house) was built in the fourteenth century by William de Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon. Members of the family who currently own the Estate (The Dilkes later to become Fetherston-Dilke) first took over the estate in 1599.
The Castle is a perfect square measuring 60 yards by 60 yards and contains four towers and the gatehouse.
The clock on the gatehouse dates from 1757.
We walked round the courtyard first where herbaceous borders lined many of the interior walls
This is an Elizabethan addition to the Castle
Going through this archway leads to the Moat Walk
where more herbaceous borders lined the Castle Walls and roses climbed up the sandstone walls. The flowers were covered in bees.
Ivy leafed Toadflax had gained a foothold in crevices
as had what looks like a Chrismas Tree!
We then went and had a look round the inside of the house - photos were not allowed but rooms you could visit included The Banqueting Hall, The Oak Drawing Room and the Library. Several Kings have visited the Castle in the past - Richard III, Henry VII and the Drawing Room contained a fascinating Whispering Door recovered from Kenilworth Castle when it was dismantled after the Civil War. Furnishings included a Gunpowder Plot table which once belonged to one of the conspirators executed after the 1605 plot - Sir Everard Digby.
Interestingly there are links to Packwood House, Lapworth - in the eighteenth century (1759) Mary Fetherston-Leigh from Packwood House married William Dilke from Maxstoke Castle
The refreshments were very reasonably priced - 50p for tea and £1 for a HUGE slice of cake - coffee and walnut one of the nicest I have ever tasted!
Entrance to the Parterre, Walled Garden, Wildflower Meadow and Woodland Walk
I would love to know the name of this shrub bearing creamy/greeny flowers - it was just beautiful
I think this may have been an ice house??
A superb tree house nestled away - sadly no ladder!
And a nice clump of Ragged Robin!
California Lilac near the Parterre
I first saw a climber like this at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens and believe it or not, I couldn't believe it was real. I thought someone had painted the leaves pink and white!
Anyone for Tennis?
Although it was very busy we had a really enjoyable couple of hours wandering around. Hopefully, next year I will remember the date and it won't be raining as I would certainly visit again.
Sorry about the number of photos - got a trifle carried away!!!!
Reference: Maxstoke Castle Guide Book