PEAR TREE LOG

pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.



Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dismantled & Ready to be Shipped to America..

This was the first fireplace to be dismantled and removed from the castle.
Just click on a photograph if you'd like to enlarge it, you'll see much more detail.
Way back in 1911 Tattershall Castle had fallen into disrepair, and was unloved and unwanted.... few people had heard of Lincolnshire, never mind Tattershall.

The owner had no interest in it, the buildings and land were to be sold.
This beautiful room is the Audience Chamber, on the second floor

A meeting of the Council of the National Trust was convened, but decided against purchasing the castle, despite being offered an interest free loan to do so!

Instead it was purchased by an American millionaire, who planned to have the whole castle dismantled and shipped, brick by brick, to the U.S.

When news of this was made public there was a huge outcry, especially when it became known that the huge and handsome stone fireplaces were being dismantled and taken away from the castle, in pieces.   Bricks were smashed, chimneys dismantled, rubble lay all around.

Luckily Lord Curzon  (Viceroy of India) was able to purchase the building and  he set about trying to track down the missing fireplaces.

He had all the ports watched so that they could not be taken out of the country.   Eventually he was contacted by a dealer, acting as the middleman for the people who now owned the fireplaces.
Image borrowed from tattershallwiththorpe, many thanks


Image borrowed from tattershallwiththorpe, many thanks 
To cut a long story short, a deal was struck and they were returned at a cost of £5,155.00.  This was in May 1912.   The two black and white photographs show the triumphant return of the fireplaces.


The dismantled fireplaces would have been taken down this beautiful staircase.

Going up the spiral staircase doesn't seem so bad, coming down is a little trickier - especially given that it is two-way traffic...

There are approximately 150 steps from the basement to the battlements.





This photograph may give you some idea of the scale of the fireplaces and the vastness of the 'chambers'.   Each floor has one large chamber with a few very small ante-rooms leading off.






It is a very simple building with lots of beautiful detailing, both inside and out.   The walls have never been plastered or painted.  The principle rooms were hung with huge tapestries like this one.    Everything was on a grand scale.



Even corridors had beautiful ceilings.






Here we are at the top of the building, a beautiful open air space.  Climb another few stairs and you are rewarded with amazing views of the countryside - see my previous post.

On a clear day you can see all the way to Boston - in Lincolnshire, of course!

28 comments:

  1. Hello Elaine:
    What an extraordinary story but one which, fortunately, does have a happy ending. That anyone should think to desecrate such a building in the manner in which you describe is unthinkable. One would like to think that it could never happen nowadays, but one can never be too sure.

    Did you ever, in the early 1970s, get to see 'The Destruction of the English Country House' at the V&A, an exhibition put on by the young Roy Strong soon after he was appointed Director of that museum? It did much to change attitudes.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance, It is quite horrifying to think of the treasures of architecture which were lost during the 20th century. Unfortunately I didn't see the V&A exhibition, which I am sure was fascinating. I do have a large volume which I often refer to..'England's Lost Houses' by Giles Worsley which is full of photographs from the archives of Country Life. It is both interesting and depressing, although he does try to set things into context.

      Tattershall Castle was very fortunate.

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    2. That is a book which we shall certainly look up. The Country Life archives are always endlessly fascinating.

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  2. What a building! Castle, that is. I can see Katherine Hepburn here, easily.

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    1. Hello Joanne, Ah, the wonderful Katherine Hepburn! I would rather like to be gathered around one of those fireplaces listening to you tell some tales on a cold, dark night!

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  3. How stunning! It's gorgeous and holds so much history..to lose it would be madness so I'm happy that the story ended well.
    Jane x

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    1. Hello Jane, It is a wonderful building and has a really nice atmosphere, definitely has the feel of a home. I believe it is occasionally used for weddings - which must be quite something!

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  4. It really is appalling when millionaires think they can have anything; I'm so happy someone spoke up and the castle's fireplaces were returned. History is sacred and some things should not be destroyed. Thank you for such an interesting story. XOXO

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    1. Hello Susan, I absolutely agree, but I also shook my head at the tale of the newly formed National Trust refusing to buy it (they don't mention that in their guidebook!). Thank goodness for Lord Curzon and his generosity. I just love the digging and delving into the history of these places.xx

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  5. Elaine, I would be interested to know who the wealthy American was. I actually visited a house in San Francisco where much of the interior, including fireplace mantles and surrounds, was shipped from various sites throughout Europe. I am so glad it has remained where it belongs. A wonderful account. Bonnie

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    1. Hello Bonnie, During my research I saw a couple of possible names, but I am sorry I can't recollect what they were. I think whoever it was really did not want to be named. I'm so pleased that he didn't succeed, but at least it finally galvanised people into taking action!

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  6. Those fireplaces are indeed worth fighting to preserve. How nice that they are still where they belong.

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    1. Hello Ms Sparrow, It is great that they are sitting back where they had been for so long - but it takes 'two to tango' and someone put the place up for sale. Thank goodness it all turned out OK in the end.

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  7. I'm so glad persistence got the castle pieces back. And the bricks were handmade rather than mass produced? Wow! Beautiful castle.

    By the way I love your header photo.

    Janet

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    1. Hello Janet, Yes, the bricks were handmade - quite amazing. We bought some fairly old (about 150 years old)bricks to finish this place. They were handmade and are incredible. One had a dog's paw print on it and lots of the others had thumb or finger prints in them. I spent an awful lot of time just admiring them, when i was supposed to be cleaning off the old mortar!

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  8. What a fabulous building. I'm afraid it's been happening here too. Chateau interiors are now to be found in Japan, the US, and anywhere else where people have more cash than common sense.

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    1. Hello Cro, It is a very sad business. Horrifying to think of the buildings which were lost during the 1950's alone. I have read that we lost one beautiful house a week then. Dreadful.

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  9. Gorgeous and handsome building, thank you for the nice photos . . . Money used to take away craft and art and design . . . I find sad.

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    1. Hello Lynne, I wish I could convey the real beauty of that old castle. It was a combination of the rosy bricks, tapestries, beautiful stained glass windows, light and space and a very nice atmosphere. I think you would enjoy seeing it.

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  10. What a interesting post. I live close to the ruined Whitley Court. It was a beautiful house before WW1 but fell on hard times after the war. Eventually there was a fire and it was never rebuilt. Jx

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    1. Hello Jan, I've just been looking at the ruins, what a spectacular house it must have been. So sad that so many of these grand houses were lost to fire. Tattershall was very fortunate.

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  11. So glad the building was saved and fireplaces retrieved. It would be awful to find it all living an absurd life in Texas!

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    1. Hello Mitch, The mind boggles! However, it is still sitting safe and sound in the fens of Lincolnshire - so if you ever fancy a visit let me know!

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  12. Money and ignorance go hand in hand.

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    1. Hello Doc, Unfortunate, but true.

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  13. This is one of my favorite posts...someone could write a book or make a movie about this castle's history! How fascinating! It is truly stunning in its architecture, and I am so glad it was saved and stayed where it belonged!

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    1. Hello Marie, It is one of those places, the more you delve into the history the more interesting stories there are to be told. I had great difficulty in cutting it down to post size. I could do several more on it, but I fear it would bore everyone. If I have the time (probably through the winter) I may do a separate page and put it on the top tab bar for you.

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  14. An interesting post Marie. It sparked discussion at breakfast too! Fascinating story and it had a good ending. My husband had heard of it and said it was famous because of it's excellent design. I was able to tell him the bit about the dismantling etc. Great photos too! A place to visit one day. I do hope we get back to the UK one day - we spent a lot of our last visits looking at castles and churches:)

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