The last National Trust property easily accessible from my journeys to Southend is Wimpole Hall, or more accurately the Wimpole Estate, for the extensive grounds and historical farm are part of the land owned by the trust as well as the Manor House.
I have to say, that whilst the scale of the building is impressive, to a lover of the voluptuous domes and decorative excesses of the Baroque, this predominantly Georgian structure didn’t fill me with enthusiasm when I saw it on the Trust website. Large, rectangular and symmetrical, its brick expanses broken by carefully spaced windows.
Does the fact that this very stately home has only been used one in a film (Easy Virtue, 2008) indicate that I’m not alone in feeling this way?
There’s no doubt that it’s an important estate; with avenues stretching for miles, a mock gothic folly, parkland designed by Capability Brown and a stable block whose clock tower I found more interesting than the main building, and despite the existence of a chapel in the Hall, there is also an adjacent church.
Perhaps I was looking at it all wrong.
Instead of looking at the building I should put myself in the shoes of its many owners. (Wimpole has changed hands many times and for a variety of reasons; the last owners being Rudyard Kipling‘s daughter and husband who used the royalties from his works to maintain the structure). Those owners would spend little time looking at their grand residence. Instead they would look out.
The real treat however, was yet to be discovered…