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From Corfe Castle to Kingston Lacy - Part 2

When we last met "Brave Dame Mary", (Lady Mary Banks) in 1645, she had just been rudely ejected from her "palatial" apartments in Corfe Castle by a troop of Parliamentarian "Roundhead" soldiers having been betrayed by the foul Colonel Pitman (boo, hiss!!) and the castle was then totally destroyed by the army (they called it "slighting" in those days which seems a bit of an understatement).


 Dame Mary then "lies low" until the monarchy is restored in 1660 under King Charles II following the death of Parliamentarian politician and military leader Oliver Cromwell 1658. Lady Mary's continued loyalty to the King's "Royalist" cause is then rewarded as she is able to return to her 'other estate' at Kingston Lacy that her late husband had purchased in 1636.


Rather than rebuild the now-ruined Corfe Castle, she and her eldest son Ralph elect to build a new home on the Kingston Lacy estate. Almost a "rags to riches" story, but she seemed to miss out on the rags part... By 1665 they had completed the building work and left us the beautiful building and grounds (now owned by the National Trust) that we are able to visit today.


Kingston Lacy House.


 The house viewed from the gardens.


The back of the house, overlooks extensive lawns and several pieces of exquisite Egyptian antiquities, including an obelisk from the Nile temple of Philae 'acquired' by William John Banks a "noted traveller and antiquarian" during the early 19th centuary. (no photo, I'm afraid, as the obelisk is surrounded by scaffold whilst it is microscopically photographed in 3D!)




A pair of massive bronze statues adorn the garden's steps.


The stables. (I know a TG Guru's lady who would love to have these for her horse :-)


Here we have the laundry of the house. The device on the right is a mangle for extracting the water from large items like sheets before they are sent to dry near huge radiators.


Two of the eight sinks where the laundry staff scrubbed clothes and linen day in, day out...


Into the gorgeous library hung with original paintings and lined with many old books. Note the original 31 keys to Corfe Castle hanging above the fireplace!


Leading on to the sitting room with more beautiful original oil paintings, rugs and furniture.


Then into the formal dining room, complete with pipe organ! More original oil paintings and a lovely crystal chandelier. There is a "dumb waiter" lift (for bringing food from the kitchen) hidden behind the left edge of the tapestry hanging on the right of the organ.


Here is a close up of the laid dining table just as it appeared to the Banks family.


Into the formal "Spanish Room" which is an art connoisseurs dream showing a fabulous art collection acquired by the family over some 400 years. It includes works VelÁzquez, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel.


Including this by Rafael (?) once owned by the King of Spain.


And into the ornate "State Bedroom" which has been used by many distinguished guests including the German Kaiser Wilhelm.


Ornate bronzes abound!


And a genuine period "thunder box".


The attic bedrooms were used by their children or any bachelor guests and are decorated in a then-fashionable 'military tent' style which came from the period of the Napoleonic wars.


A view into the glazed cupola which tops the house - with the English cross of St. George flying on the flag staff.


Downstairs into the kitchen with more oil paintings (!) and all the bells attached by pull-wire to each room in the house - rang to summon servants for duty at the whim of the Master/Mistress/Guests at any time day or night. A heck of a lot of bells!!


This cupboard contains the hoses, nozzles and connections that made up the house's fire-protection system (no sprinklers back then). Imagine polishing them to this gleaming finish.


And finally to a small selection of the family's Egyptian collection kept inside the house. I particularly enjoy the 3 Bacchus God statuettes on the back row. Bacchus (also Dionysos), the conqueror, who loved two women, Venus and Ariadne is frequently represented in the Nile tombs of ancient Egypt and regarded as the God of Wine throughout the ancient Mediterranean cultures.


 Apologies for a couple of the shots of the inside of the house being "soft". The blinds are almost closed (to protect the contents) and photography is only permitted without flash and no tripods.



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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  Henry Miller

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