UK landmarks to lodge in

 

If you are unfamiliar with Britain's Landmark Trust, you need to know that it is all about giving new life to buildings at risk. The Trust takes on historic places in danger, and carefully and sensitively restores them. By making them available for holidays, they can be enjoyed by all, both today and in future generations. The Trust has in its care nearly 200 buildings in Britain, and several in Italy and France.

 Though they range from the sober to the spectacular, all buildings are rich in history and atmosphere. They include picturesque pavilions and medieval long-houses, artillery forts and Gothick follies, clan chiefs’ castles and cotton weavers’ cottages, the homes of great writers and the creations of great architects, from Browning to Boswell, from Pugin to Palladio.

This property, Kingswear Castle, appears to grow out of the rocks it stands on, next to the water's edge. From the roof platform and many of the windows you look across to Dartmouth; or down the rocky shore and out to sea.

In 1481 a new castle was begun at Dartmouth, to defend the harbour there. To support it from the opposite shore, Kingswear Castle was completed in 1502. Together they represent the most advanced military design of their day. For the first time large guns were mounted inside on the ground floor, with rectangular ports through which to fire.

The Trust restored the castle’s ground floor to look as it did in 1502, with the living quarters above. The tower stands almost on the water’s edge (those with children beware) and its rooms are filled with shifting reflected light. From the windows and the roof you can look across to Dartmouth or down the rocky coast, with its woods of maritime pine, and out to sea. Above all, you can watch the river, busy now with friendly shipping. Thick walls give a sense of fortification to the place. From the roof you may raise and lower the union flag.

Within fifty years of its construction, Kingswear Castle was redundant; for another century it was manned in time of war, but thereafter was left to decay, until rescued and turned into a summer residence in 1855 by Charles Seale Hayne. The rooms have that sense of sturdy habitability in an exposed place, which the Victorians knew so well how to achieve, despite the building’s inherent susceptibility to damp and cold (not even 21st-century devices can fully overcome this).  

Find out more about other Landmark Trust properties....

 

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