Monday, 22 October 2012

Home from Home


Pictured above is the lovely old vicarage at Methwold in Norfolk, where we stayed during our little holiday there. Seeing that vivid blue sky makes me yearn for that early autumn sunshine we enjoyed while away. Today it has been foggy and damp, more David's type of weather than mine! The picture shows the side of the Vicarage, and the church beyond it.  I'll tell you more about who rents out the cottage a little later, but first I wanted to show you more of the house.

The history of the vicarage is a bit of a mystery.  The brickwork gable is certainly Tudor, but why is it here, attached to a small village vicarage? Is the timber framed part of the building beyond the gable older, or built at a similar time to the gable? Brick was very expensive in Tudor England, and usually only used by wealthy landowners and royalty, so why has it been used here? The sash windows are later additions, built into what were originally carved brick mullion windows, like those still existing, but bricked up, at the top.

You can see the carved brick work detail better in this photo.  The fact is that no one really knows why this building is of such a high status, it would certainly cost far more that a small parish vicar could ever dream of affording!

But, it isn't just the outside that is interesting!!

This is part of an original Tudor wall painting. a repeat floral pattern, which covered the walls of the first floor room behind the brick gable end. Again, this would have been well beyond the budget of most people, so why it's here adds to the mystery.

You can see more of the pattern here, and not the red coloured beams, which were also decorated with another pattern, and do you see where the curved cross beam has been painted over so it doesn't disrupt the vertical design? It's really quite amazing how this paintwork has survived - it's between 500 and 600 years old!!!

Here are a few other details from the house;

Carved timber beams on the living room ceiling.

This picture shows an original window frame, now blocked up, on the side of the building in the bedroom.  There are still traces of the original grooves where a shutter or panel would have slid across the window opening (it was unlikely to have been glazed when the building was originally built)

The fire place in the bedroom

Now how did HE get in the picture? Yes thank you Snowy, you are still gorgeous!

A window seat, there was one each side of the fireplace on the bedroom chimney breast

The Old Vicarage at Methwold is owned by the Landmark Trust. The Trust is a charitable organisation (not to be confused with The National Trust) that rescue old buildings which have either fallen into ruin, or have a great historical interest. Once these buildings have been restored, they are rented out for holidays, and the money is used to keep the buildings in good order. This gives buildings a use and purpose again, and saves them from possible destruction. I think they are fantastic, and David and I have been very lucky to stay in several of their buildings over the past few years.

The Landmark Trust have buildings all over the UK, some sleep only 2 people, some up to 16 people. You can choose to stay for a long weekend, four nights midweek, or a whole week. They also have buildings in the USA, France and Italy, run by Landmark organisations in those countries along the same principles as the UK organisation.

Note to Fi: I thought you might enjoy a stay in this pineapple building, owned by the Landmark Trust, in Scotland!! ;o)

For more details about the Landmark Trust, their properties and what they do, see


  1. Wow, Andy! Gorgeous Tudor details in that Humble building! What a Mystery!!!
    I have heard of the Landmark Trust... I believe they own Rudyard Kipling's home "Naulahka" (I am sure I misspelled that!) which is near here in Brattleboro, Vermont. They rent it out but visitors can also take tours to see it.
    It looks like you had a wonderful Holiday.... and the Architecture sure is Inspiring!!! Wouldn't those brickwork details be gorgeous in mini!

    1. Hi Betsy,

      Yes, I think there are three, maybe four Landmarks in the USA, including the one you mention. Some houses owned by the Landmark Trust here in the UK are open the public on certain days of the year.

      I am sure someone somewhere could have a great time making a miniature house based on this building!

      Andy xxx

  2. The Tudor detailing is really great, thanks for posting it.

  3. Owwww I love buildings with a mystery.... maybe someone royal used this place to rest or to pray.... you can just let your imagination go wild on a place like that.
    Imagine snuggling up in those window seats on a cold and damp day. It is a pity those details fail in modern day houses.
    The facade of the vicarage is gorgeous, with that crossed bricks.
    The building indeed has a lot of detail that makes you wonder.
    Thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Gee,

      Yes, it is all a bit of a mystery. It is a great building, which was actually at risk of demolition at one point, I am so pleased it was saved!

      The brickwork is really interesting, all hand carved from hand made bricks. And I certainly found it very cosy on the cold dark evenings!!


  4. Hi Andy,

    That is a mysterious building...I wonder if the riddle will ever be cracked? Thanks for sharing, I'm so jealous of your trip --it looks exactly like the sort of excursion I would like to take!


    1. Hi John,

      I think it will remain a mystery, it's been puzzling architectural historians for years! David and I have booked another Landmark for next year, so will be reporting on that then, mind you, I don't think there are many big houses in that part of the country, it's more famous for pottery!

      Can you guess where we might be going? it's a building I have featured on my blog in the past!!

  5. Indeed a very special and mysterious building, I like that carved brick work! Every old building has his own story, even sometimes a riddle like this one. It always makes me curious how come?! Thank you so much for posting these pictures, they are beauties:D!
    Greetings, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona, I am thrilled that you like my pictures. Yes the building is a great mystery, which gives it a certain romance. and as you say, every old building has something mysterious to give it charm!

  6. Oh, thank you Andy, the vicarage looks like the perfect place for a holiday. I have to start saving up the pennies for a UK trip, preferably one that co-insides with a miniature show, now won't that be fun.

    Loved your previous post with all the wonderful photos too!
    Keep well

    1. Hi Elga, I hope you can get to the UK one day! There is a new Miniature show in London next January, run by the same people who do the Kensington show, so I might well be popping along if I am able to go. I would love to go the one in Holland, like you went to earlier in the year, or the US, but until I get a new passport that just isn't happening!!! (not to mention all the pennies required as you say!!! lol)

  7. Hi Andy
    Lovely pictures, and that blue sky!!
    What a wonderful place to retreat to!
    best wishes to you both

    1. Hi Simon, good to hear from you.

      glad you're enjoying the photos!!

  8. Hello Andy,
    Once again your post have me admiring at the incredible beauty of the building and mini ideas are going around in my mind. You never fail to write posts that inspire me and tech me.
    Thanks for the lovely pictures.
    Big hug to you both!

    1. Hi Giac,

      thanks for your kind comments. Always nice to hear that my pictures might inspire people! Hope you're getting lots of great ideas!!!

      hugs to you my friend!!

      Andy xxx

  9. Wonderful photos Andy and what a marvellous place to spend time in.

    1. Hi Irene,

      glad you like the photos. Yes, I would happily go back to spend a few more days in Norfolk!

  10. Great architecture. I love the brick-work and the old carved details inside.

    1. Hi Troy, really pleased you liked the post, the building was full of wonderful little details, and would make a great little miniature project I think!!

  11. Hahaha, Andy, the pineapple building is a must visit!!! I can't believe it exists in scotland of all places. Not only do we have Scandinavian pineapples but now Scottish ones, who would have guessed????

    You know Mia and I bought a pair of shorts in your honour, of course they are blue with yellow pineapples all over them. I took some photos of Mia in them so I could show you but to cut a long story short, Mia accidentally wiped them off my phone and I haven't taken any more yet.

    Pineapples aside, I some how missed this post I'm sorry, it is an amazing building and very hard to imagine how it became the structure it is. is there any explanation for the unusual mix of architecture? There must be some story behind it?

    Now if it wasn't for the landmark logo I would have sworn you and David had taken time for tea and cake?

    ML fi xx

  12. Hi Fi,

    Yes, I have wanted to show you the Pineapple building for ages, isn't it a hoot, though not nearly so refined as your Aussie example!!!

    I can't wait to see these fantastic shorts, more photos please, immediately!! ;)

    I think it started out as a timber framed building, with the gable end added slightly later, and the stone extension at the back of the house many years after that. Why such a fine building was built in the middle of a tiny village, famous at the time only for breeding rabbits, is a total mystery, no one seems to have an answer for it. I guess it's like many buildings in the UK in some respects, which change and adapt over time.

    Ah well David and I did indeed have tea from the same Old Chelsea teaset, but the pic is an internet grab I am sorry to say. We are staying in another Landmark trust house next year, see if you can guess which, it's been featured on a post on my blog in the past.
    here's a little clue, it's an Elizabethan building!!!

    Andy xxxxx

  13. Hi Andy,

    Hahaha,yes, I guess you have to admit that our fine example of pineapple architecture is far more sophisticated than the Scottish version. I mean, ours is so big and yellow and constructed in such fine materials, it's a sure favourite.

    Now I'm going to have to go back and look through your blog to work out where your staying next!

    Pineapple shorts coming up....; )

    ML Fi xx

  14. What an amazing building! Who would have thought the Tudor painted decoration would still be there to enjoy today. Thank you for posting these pictures.

  15. Such a fascinating place to stay in. Thank you for the information about it, it must have been a wonderful experience. Sandie