• Henley DFAS

Kelmscott Manor and Buscot Park

Buscot Park Grounds

This Day Visit was to the upper Thames region near Lechlade where the group enjoyed touring Kelmscott Manor and Buscot Park.  Kelmscott Manor dates back to Tudor times and dominates the tiny village set among the water meadows.  From 1871 it became the summer retreat of William Morris and his wife, Jane, and two daughters, Jenny and May.  It is now owned by the Society of Antiquaries and has been the subject of considerable restoration and development as a testament to the family's vital involvement with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Cratfs movement.  Furniture, wall paper, fabrics, tapestries and ceramics abound as well as the literary reminders of William's deep concern for the medieval (he founded the Kelmscott Press to publish facsimile volumes such as Chaucer).  For a short while Dante Gabriel Rossetti shared the house and Jane Morris often featured as his 'muse'. in his paintings of that period.

The grand mansion of Buscot Park, with its superb gardens and estate, was originally built by the wealthy Edward Loveden in the 1780s.  It was bought in 1889 by the financier Alexander Henderson who became Lord Faringdon and, although it was given to the National Trust in 1956, the Faringdon family still live there and are responsible for much of the internal decoration and planting in the grounds.  So it is not a 'typical' National Trust stately home!  Internally the extensive art and furniture collection of the first two Lord Faringdons ranges from Rembrandt, through Italian masterpieces collected on the Grand Tour, to Pre-Raphaelite Rossetti and Burne-Jones.  The landscape of the parkland setting, including Harold Peto's fine Water Garden, was much admired but the most impressive section was the 'Four Seasons' walled garden in the valley.