Monday, 30 June 2014

The Manor House, Aslackby 2014

Since posting this article the owner of the house has kindly consented to allow me to illustrate this post with some photos

Back in June, 2012, I finally got to see something that had first seen on lunchtime TV as a child way back in the late 1970s or early 1980s - Aslackby Manor House.  (Aslackby - a Scandinavian placename - is pronounced Azzleby) I was not disappointed, and posted about it here.  Yesterday I returned with the bf.
I have a deep and abiding love and interest in the Medieval 'Hortus Conclusus' and the Italian Renaissance 'Giardino Segreto'.  They are are a recurring themes in my writing, and the gardens are Aslackby are in that tradition.  There is even a 'mount' - viewing mound constructed of earth - in the Tudor and Jacobean manner.
The Manor House is also perhaps a very Lincolnshire thing - hidden, small, remote.  Lincolnshire is, apart from the utter greatness of her cathedral, not a county given much to magnificent architectural gestures. Though perhaps in the Middle Ages she was.  Lincolnshire is a county of understated beauty.  Likewise the pleasures at Aslackby are understated - the textures of old brick and stone, lichen on old apple trees, 'humble' work-a-day architecture, not the controlling hand of the architect, but the lighter touch of the builder and the mason.  The scale is small.  There are, there must be admitted, more successful parts than others, but the whole, the accumulation of so much, is so particularly satisfying and compelling.

The Manor consist of two wings brick and stone - the latter is the oldest part.  The 18th century stone work conceals a much older timber construction.

The Artisan Mannerist wing c 1650 - there is another building in the village with this sort of detail.

Like a Samuel Palmer watercolour

Next door - the Old Vicarage - was also open and was lovely.

I think more and more that we are obliged to create the beautiful.  I don't mean the 'nice' the 'pretty', the 'smart' or the 'fashionable'.  They simply won't do.  The 'smart and the fashionable' are too transient, too caught up in the getting and the spending to be truly fulfilling.  I mean the beautiful.  The transcendent.  It is beyond our obligation; it is, almost, a moral duty to attempt to do so.  And beyond that act of creation we have a duty also to share what we have made, to turn the introverted world, the 'segreto', outward, enabling all to share in the (hopefully) harmonious union of the natural and the man made - the designed and the serendipitous - the beautiful.  They cannot be replacements for God, for there is only God, no other substitute will do.  But nature and beauty do provide a rest and recharging.


  1. Lovely post, and don't think me disrespectful when I say the phrase 'Giardino Segreto' always reminds me of E F Benson's fabulous Lucia. Have you read the books? Hilarious.

  2. You know I actually haven't read them....I think I should. I've seen the wonderful adaptation done by LWT with Geraldine McEwen and Prunella Scales in the title roles, I've heard an adaptation on Radio 4. And yes, I could quite imagine Lucia discussing with Georgie building a 'Giardino Segreto' at 'Mallards'......

    Au reservoir!

  3. You are a prime candidate to read and adore these books, I just know it! Perfect summer reading too......