England’s Stapleford Park manor
Cheers! As Jenna Ives mentioned in her blog post two weeks ago, she and I just returned from a wonderful ten day vacation in England, fulfilling both ends of the spectrum of our favorite things. I agreed to go to a Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park in London with her (65,000 people dancing in the park, amazing energy) and she let me drag her to some fabulous old castles and ruins in the countryside. Since I write historical romance, my part of the trip was for research purposes. Yes, research. (Okay, and to have a little fun, too…)
Next month I’ll give you a tour of the most fascinating places we visited, but today I really want to share Stapleford Park with you, the magical place Jenna and I used as a home base for our forays into the countryside. Stapleford Park was like stepping back in time, literally.
|Stapleford Park, Leicestershire|
The manor was originally built in 1066 on the orders of William the Conqueror. It passed through a succession of owners, but in 1402, the house was acquired from the Earl of Lancaster by Robert Sherard, a descendant of William the Conqueror, and for the next 484 years Stapleford remained in the possession of his family!The Old Wing of the house was restored in 1633 and if you look at the right-hand corner of the picture above, you can see the inscription ‘Anno Domini 1633.’ There are still bedrooms in use in this part of the house!
The manor was renovated again (in the Edwardian style) in 1894 by John Gretton (I stayed in Lady Gretton’s bedroom, below). The house was eventually bought by an American in 1982 and opened as a country house hotel in 1988. It still has a private owner.
Two of my best memories of this amazing place are the archery lesson I got from Brian of the Kirby Muxloe Archery Club near Nottingham (Robin Hood, anyone?) I did eventually hit a bull's eye (after many, many attempts, as you can see…)
Then there was my memorable falconry demonstration… (That's a Harris hawk named Roland sitting on my hand...)
My brain is already buzzing with stories that could be set in this magical place! For more information on the manor, visit: http://www.staplefordpark.com/
How about you? Was there one vacation in particular that gave you memories that will last a lifetime? Please share!www.leighcourt.com