Monday, 5 April 2010

calke abbey and the old wooden horse

today we went on a day trip to calke abbey.

we climbed moss trees filled with crows.

we had to wait for hours to see the magical manor house.

so we explored all of the groves & gardens first.

when we finally got inside the house it was an eerie and cold magic.

the wealthy eccentric owners built the estate in 1702 and over the years the descendants boarded themselves up in a few rooms and left the rest of the enormous mansion to sleep. for 300 years it has been untouched. everything is still just exactly how it was found after the last resident died in 1980. an abandoned time capsule.

quiet libraries are crammed with thousands of ancient books and delicate maps. fossils and minerals, shells and stones in giant glass tombs in every room. tiger skin rugs, boxes of owls and bunnies, fish and ferrets. birds on strings, needlepoint and chinese silk, pianos and pillows and ancestor portraits sit quietly stacked before fireplaces.

most of the rooms are boarded up and only let in cracks of light.. as you creak through them, little old men stand with flashlights to shine light on the dollhouses, deer heads, writing desks with quill pens and tall candlesticks left behind. there are giant glass cases filled with swans and specimens, big cats and crocodile skulls. teeth and shells and feathers and bones. all labeled in flowery script and frozen in time.

pots, kettles and clocks crumble in the kitchen as if cooks just wandered away. outside, old black carriages with sheepskin seats wait in dark rows to be driven again. there are tiny carriages for children that wait to be hooked to ponies. the stables are hollow and full of horse ghosts. the only real horse is a white wooden rocker that sits in the front hall and keeps his glass eye on you as you spiral up the grand staircase.

this was a little boys room. the bed is tiny. he had hunted all of the animals himself. we saw little wooden plaques with crudely painted letters explaining in which gardens he had found each one. next to his bed a glass cabinet stands filled with bits of wood and bone, spiney sea creatures, shells, antlers, horns and hooves.

once we got inside we were hunting for the old wooden ships we had seen in some of the windows from the outside. the sails were billowing against the glass right before our very eyes. but inside, hard as we tried, we never found a single one.


faerie finder said...

i read about calke abbey on a blog recently which is why we decided to take the trip. i cant for the life of me remember which one or id thank them :( ♥

Belle-Etoile said...

I've never heard of Calke Abbey. What a strange, lonely place it seems to be, yet oddly beautiful. So many old houses ended up closing most of their rooms, but I don't think I've ever heard of one where things were just left in place and locked away like that.

gyre and gimble said...

cold magic-- what a wonderful expression!!! i, too, have had an experience with cold magic... although i did not know what to call it at the time.
i must know, are the books on that shelf regular size, or are they very small? maybe it's just me, but they look TINY!!

Laura said...

How beautiful! I know you were in heaven. <3

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

What an eerie place! So many stories you could tell from this Abbbey. xx

Karolina said...

oh I wish I could've seen that! I would have had a conversation with the residing ghosts.

Little Bear Stories said...

it looks sooooo magical!
calke abbey is really near me, i've been meaning to go for so long,
i really must make the effort, thanks for the nudge! x

joanne May said...

lovely photos and what a magical place. The house looks quite haunted. Wonderful library, full of old dusty books.
I don't think I would like to stay the night in Calke Abbey...It looks a bit creepy.

Stεℓℓα said...

wow! I´ve never heard of it, but seems such a magical place!

i love your photos and your style, seem taken from another world! :)


Harlow Darling said...

What an incredible place, I hope I might get to visit it one day as it sounds simply bewildering...

Love what you are wearing, you look so cuddley and snug at the same time, wonderful!!!

faerie finder said...

ah! thanks everyone. i was worried i couldnt give the place justice and im afraid i still havent!
i have ever so many photos.. but not ONE give the exact feeling. the tombs of fossils and minerals were everywhere! as big as coffins and everywhere you look. and the taxidermy! rooms full floor to ceiling and used for study. one of the historians told us that in those days, when color printing didnt even exist, there was no way of knowing what a kingfisher bird looked like unless you HAD one. no books, of course no internet or tv or movies. they didnt even have electricity until 1962 and even then they didnt use it. having these things must have been even that much more amazing. because they had never been seen before.

as for the books. that little library picture is not even 10% of the library! there are over 5000 books in the library that we saw they range from very tiny to giant. the man told us that some of the books cost up to 300 pounds in 1800 .. god knows that must be 300 grand today!? the man also told us that in other abandoned rooms there are crates of thousands of books never touched. packed away or never opened.

Erin said...

this almost made me cry, it's so beautiful.

Katherine said...

Calke Abbey is so enchanting! And, if you haven't remembered it yet, you probably read about it on Hello Mr. Fox. I thought of her post about it right away!
Such a magical house.

Cookie-Fee said...

oh my good lord, this just looks, so great :)
this seems like such a wonderful adventure and i´m glad you have been dressed properly ;)
the history student inside of my even is a little bit jealouse of your trip ;)

kisses and cuddles :)

Shell said...

Calke Abbey sounds like an amazing place stock full of treasures. Kind of place you can get lost in and be delighted to be lost.
I finished reading Girls of The Forest..a sweet story..i can see it as movie..

Yarrow said...

Wow! What an amazing place to visit and I've so enjoyed your pictures. I would live in the library and take my meals at a tiny desk overlooked by stuffed owls :)

I may have to plan a trip with the children, they would love the mystery of it all.x

jo te raa said...

I used to live near by and was a member there!!

I miss it as I used to visit every weekend....sitting in the gardens drawing and painting....its a place full of magic....

Makes me want to go back to england ......thanks for the memories...:)

faerie finder said...

ooh! i cant believe you would get to go every day!
that would be brilliant. almost like it was your own house! i wonder about the gardens... about how they were hollow for so long.. and now so many people get to walk through them.

shell im so glad you read the book!
im only halfway through :) slooooow
but i can see it as a movie for sure.
10 girls. can you imagine the beauty
of those forest girls dressed in tatters?
lets hope someone does it. ♥

and ah yes! i think it was hello mr. fox!
which is funny because i dont subscribe to
that blog.. i just happened there one day.
how lucky! :)

KnitXcorE said...

wow. it's beautiful in there.
i feel like i would be afraid to talk above a whisper for some reason.

Anonymous said...

what a cute sweater! the third picture is beautiful!

Poppies and Sunshine said...

I have never heard of this place before. It is so magical and surreal looking!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I'd like to crawl into your blog and live in it forever. This post is so beautiful, everything everything everything, you in your lovely sweater and the mansion! Oh my, oh my. xxx

Vanessa said...

Ooh! It looks beautiful. Hopefully one day, I will be able to visit. :)


francesca said...

i live 5 minutes away from calke abbey, it's a truly beautiful and magical place, and so inspiring.
the woodland around it stretches for miles and miles, and if you ever get the chance to really explore, ther are so many quiet hidden lakes and glades where you can almost feel the magic.

im so glad you enjoyed it there, not many people know it's there ♥

Anonymous said...

Your blog is lovely.


Domestic Witch said...

dears gods, this blog is wonderful! so glad I found you.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. You are so lovely!


Anonymous said...

AMAZING. If I had places like this to wander around in I'd get lost forever...

Anonymous said...

OH wonderful!! I reallly want to go there, it looks weird without all the colour - if you know what im on about - the tim walker photos?

I hope all is well!!
I haven't been on your blog in ages -tut tut. but i love it as much as before , if not more, so inspiring, and im jealous you went to the mojo awards, your outfit was awesome :)

Sarah said...

I volunteer at Calke Abbey and know alot about the place, its history of what happened and the stories of the ghosts who are ment to haunt the place. its worth a visit esp on a wednesday as they are the best day. More people need to come with a open mind of what has happened past present and furture of te house. Love the pics gives you a great idea about the house. :)

Sarah said...

I volunteer at Calke Abbey and know alot about the place, its history of what happened and the stories of the ghosts who are ment to haunt the place. its worth a visit esp on a wednesday as they are the best day. More people need to come with a open mind of what has happened past present and furture of te house. Love the pics gives you a great idea about the house. :)

Anonymous said...

ohhhhh please please tell me that someday you will sell ready made wares....i have wanted a sweater like yours for so many years (since i was a little girl really) and sadly i am unable to knit....oh i am out of breath! <3