Surrey Arts and Crafts : Goddards

At the end of last year I found, tucked inside the winter issue of the Art Fund magazine, a flyer advertising a number of short breaks organised by the company Travel Editions with whom I’d previously spent a 3 night break in 2014 : Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Lille and Antwerp. The trip that particularly caught my eye was “Surrey Arts and Crafts”.

A full day on this tour is dedicated to GF Watts – his gallery, a classic example of Arts and Crafts architecture, the Watts Mortuary chapel is Victorian philanthropy at its best and Limnnerslease, his home, has just reopened to the public with his great studio at its heart. Add to this Norney Grange, a classic Arts & Crafts home, Lutyens’s exquisite Goddards House, Prof Anne Anderson and this is a tour to savour.”

What better introduction to the area and its ‘trademark’ architecture?


On the final afternoon of the trip we were to have had a guided tour of Goddards. The tour included the gardens, dining room and bowling alley but unfortunately, due to some misunderstanding, we didn’t get to see the Study and Library. However, I was very pleased to have this chance to visit Goddards as it is a Landmark Trust property which I am unlikely ever to stay in as it sleeps 12 and is pretty expensive to hire.




Garden by Gertrude Jekyll

Goddards at Abinger Common is beautifully preserved in a village which appreciates and recognises the value of its presence, a ‘favoured’ village in estate agents’ terms, surrounded by National Trust property and equally the secure Evelyn estate, which would seem to assure (if anything can) that Goddards will survive.” p.177  From ‘Gardens of a Golden Afternoon: the story of a partnership: Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll’ by Jane Brown.

The following potted history is taken from the Landmark Trust website :

A masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement

Goddards was built by Edwin Lutyens from 1898–1900 and enlarged by him in 1910. It is considered one of his most important early houses, designed in the traditional Surrey style and with a garden laid out in collaboration with the celebrated garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll. The commission was an unusual one. In the words of Lawrence Weaver, writing on Lutyens’ houses in 1913, it was built ‘as a Home of Rest to which ladies of small means might repair for holiday’. This was the idea of Frederick Mirrielees, a wealthy businessman who had married an heiress of the Union Castle shipping line. A central range with common rooms on both floors divided two cottages, the southern of which also contained a bowling alley. Here Lutyens played a game of skittles in 1901 with the three nurses and two old governesses then staying here. They all loved the house and ‘invariably weep when they leave it’.

Goddards story

The Lutyens Trust

In 1910 Mirrielees adapted the house for his son to live in. The upper common room was divided and the cottages were extended to provide large bedrooms over a dining-room and library: two diverging wings, which hold the courtyard garden in loose embrace. It was given to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 by Mr and Mrs M.W. Hall, its owners since 1953, and had changed very little since 1910. The Trust, having found its care too costly, has now leased it to us and it is once again a place to enjoy a break and play skittles. The Lutyens Trust retains the use of the Library. Goddards stands on a little green approached by deeply sunken lanes. Large estates and the National Trust look after the surrounding countryside, and within it you can find many masterpieces of the Arts & Craft movement.

I must concur that Goddards is situated in a very lovely area of Surrey. Chocolate box cottages; village greens; gentle wooded hills; ancient pubs and pretty tea rooms abound.

Here are some of the Lutyens details that caught my eye :

Goddards back door

Beautiful details of the doorway

Goddards bells

Doorbells: with great attention to detail

Goddards bowling alley

The Indoor Bowling Alley

Goddards cupboard

Dining Room Cupboard

Goddards door

Door Furniture specific to Goddards

Goddards fire

Dining Room Fireplace

Goddards lock

Dining Room Door Catch

Goddards window

A Glimpse of Gertrude Jekyll’s Goddards Garden




Boston Spa and Clifford Circular Walk

The latest walk by Weekday Wanderers was the Boston Spa Circular. My first thought whenever I hear mention of Boston Spa is of the British Library Lending Division which is actually based at Thorp Arch Trading Estate just across the River Wharfe from Boston Spa itself.


Our walk last Thursday began at the Car Park beside St Mary’s Church on the High Street in Boston Spa. There’s a Public Footpath sign pointing down to the River Wharfe and Holgate Lane. On reaching the River turn right and follow the shady path for a while passing Thorp Arch Bridge, the Spa Baths and Wharfedale Hall.

Bridge plaque


Spa plaque


Hall plaque


Eventually, it’s time to turn away from the River and regain the road (A659) between Wetherby and Tadcaster. It’s a busy road but there’s pavement most of the way although it means crossing from one side to the other a couple of times. At Bar Lane turn right, away from the road, and very soon on the left there’s a public footpath edging alongside a couple of fields which later joins a track: Heygate Lane. From there we turn across another field path to join Windmill Lane into the village of Clifford. After leaving the A659 we’d been able to see, across the fields, the tower and basilica-like church of St Edward The Confessor in Clifford. The village is a staunchly Roman Catholic enclave.

The church was built by the Grimston brothers for the workers who came to work in their flax mill to enable them to attend Holy Mass. The church is in the Romanesque style by J. A. Hansom to designs by Ramsay The tower was built to designs by George Goldie. It was opened in great style by Archbishop Wiseman of Westminster on 24th May 1848.” [source]

St Edmunds

heavy door

St Edmunds nave

St edmunds pillar

st dom notice


We took time out to look round the church and then proceeded through the village to the Community Hall where there are gardens and seats which make a good stopping point for lunch.

cottages and war mem

War Memorial and Cottages, Clifford

After lunch we took the road that heads out of Clifford eventually turning off towards the A1(M). Is it still called The Great North Road? An excellent (if very noisy) path runs parallel to the motorway for over a mile.

A1(m) sign

I’ve never been so close to a motorway sign

contrasting milestone

Contrasting Milestone

At the roundabout/intersection cross over to the A659 again and head towards Boston Spa. At Leys Lane turn left and leave the busy road. At a right turn another lane leads between high hedges to a Public Footpath sign and path leading back to the River Wharfe.

sign to wharfe

The path is high up on a cliff above the river but after about a mile joins up with the initial path at Holgate Lane. We retraced our steps back up to Boston Spa High Street where we had a cup of tea and cake at Dulcie Butterfly Vintage Tea Room. About 8 miles in total.



The Capon Tree

Just south of Jedburgh, Scotland, beside the main A68 road is the ‘heritage’ Capon Tree. We walked along the road, pavement all the way luckily, to look at this famous tree. Several books feature Heritage Trees in this country and in Ireland including Thomas Pakenham’s Meetings with Remarkable Trees; The Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern Ireland; Heritage Trees of Ireland; Heritage Trees of Scotland and Heritage Trees Wales.

remarkable trees

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Lanercost Priory

On our way up to Scotland in June we travelled via The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle and Lanercost Priory. At The Bowes we looked at the latest exhibition Shoes : Pleasure and Pain; saw the famous automaton Swan in limited action and enjoyed a lovely selection of portraits of English women: English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent. Our Art Fund cards gave us free admission to everything and the Museum – a French Chateau plonked down in the Yorkshire Dales – has a good cafe and well-stocked shop.

Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum

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Noble Prospects : Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape

Can I really have been have jotting down notes about my travels and interspersing the notes with my photos for five years already? I’ve just been looking back at my post about Capability Brown at Harewood and am amazed to see that the date was October 2011. My first post was dated 20 August 2011. And I’m stunned to see that that was five years ago to the day! Well I never.


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“We Have Done Our Best and Made A Garden Where None Was”* : Sissinghurst in Kent

house and garden

Sissinghurst Castle and Garden

Can it really be three years since some of us from the online book group met up on a summer’s day outside London? At least, it was in 2013 that I last posted about one. That was in Malvern and before that, in 2012, Chatsworth. This year it was the turn of Sissinghurst.

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Ballymaloe Revisited

about ballymaloe

Last year, in May, I volunteered at The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest. I had a great time and would have been happy to do it again this year but the dates didn’t fit in with my schedule. When I arrived home last year I found on the door mat a Thank you from Ballymaloe along with a ‘voucher’ to enjoy a day at the school to include a garden visit, lunch and a cookery demonstration. I realised that I could make this fit into my plans and booked for Thursday 9 June. Upon arrival I was given a badge and garden plan and after a cup of tea had a wander around the fascinating grounds surrounding the Cookery School.

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