As you approach the Medieval Lower Brockhampton manor house you are immediately aware that this is a National Trust property unlike many others.
Surrounded by a slumbering moat and only accessible by crossing the water via a timber-framed gatehouse which dates back to the early 16th century, you really feel like you are taking a step back in time. That’s not unusual admittedly for many National Trust properties, but Lower Brockhampton, 15 miles west of Worcester, somehow seems like it is surrounded by a bubble and you are able to step inside and watch a house progress through several hundred years of history as you walk through its rooms.
Coming into the manor house you are immediately greeted by a 14th century great hall, laid out and ready for a medieval meal. This room sets the scene for the earliest days of the house, complete with gallery above and huge fireplace. You can easily imagine the hall filled with local dignitaries six centuries ago.
Upstairs the story of the manor house starts to be revealed. Moving from room to room you learn how different generations over hundreds of years have lived in the space, with wonderfully powerful recreations of rooms styled with furniture and decor befitting of the time.
Particularly poignant is the story of a young man who lived in the house before leaving to fight in the Great War. The room is laid out with his uniform and some information about how Thomas Sprague volunteered and in 1915 set off, with many young men for the war. The only son of Albert and sarah he had spent all of his life on the Brockhampton Estate – as a child, growing up and then following in his Father’s footsteps as a gamekeeper. He joined 30 men from the estate who signed up to the local regiment and prepared to be sent to the Western Front. On August 7th, the night before he left his room would have been laid out with his uniform and British Expeditionary Force Kit.
We looked around to find out what befell of him and couldn’t see any mention, which seemed strangely remiss in a National Trust property.
It was only as we turned to leave the room we saw the writing above the door….which caught in my throat as I read it out.
While not the largest National Trust house you can visit, the stories told of the lives lived as you progress through this home are as rich as you could hope for and it’s really quite emotional following these past lives through the ages as they came and went and their fortunes peaked and waned.
We absolutely loved our visit to the house at Lower Brockhampton, learning of the servant’s medieval role to de-flea their mistress’s hair,
discovering the vital role of the kitchen in the house,
and exploring the 1950s lounge complete with contemporary radio programmes playing quietly and clocks gently ticking. It’s wonderfully evocative.
The house is set in hundreds of acres of park and woodland which is criss-crossed with gentle walks. You’ll discover miles of paths available to you to explore the estate, peppered with sculptures along the way which tell the local history of Brockhampton and the people of the area. You will also spot historic farming breeds such as Hereford cattle and Ryeland sheep.
Set a mile from the house at the entrance to the estate is the ever-present National Trust tea room with reliably good lunches, cakes and drinks.
Throughout the year there is a strong programme of events including a Family Den Building day, a Geocache challenge and orienteering. There’s plenty here to bring you back for many happy visits to a house which is still clearly much loved after many years.
Discover more about the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate here.