Over the weekend….

……..I was here:

This here is the cozy little home of the Duke of Marlborough.  There is a fantastic article here, that explains all the history of Blenheim Palace, and honestly, it’s worth the read.  I went along with a group of International students from Brunel University, and some folks from our church—-we had a blast.

A couple interesting things.  Blenheim Palace was a gift from Queen Anne and the British people to John Churchill, who then became the 1st Duke of Marlborough.  The Queen wished to thank him for defeating the French at the Battle of Blenheim—nice gift, huh?  On the South side of the palace is a 30 ton bust of King Louis XIV, that the Duke nicked from France and had installed in such a way that when he sat in his saloon, his back would be toward King Louis (take that).

Makes me wonder, though; exactly how does one get a 30 ton bust home from France in 1705?

Interesting fact number two:  Sir Winston Churchill was born in this house.  You can visit the room he was born in, see a portrait of the young Winston (what do you suppose he was called as a lad???  Winny?  Hmmmmm) and see some locks of his strawberry blond hair.  What I found more interesting than that, however, was that Sir Winston was quite a good painter; several of his paintings hang in the palace.  And, something else I didn’t know, was that he won the Nobel Prize, not for peace, but for literature.  He proposed to his wife, Clementine, here in the Temple of Diana.

With a view like this…..how could she say no?

Aside from the grand house, there are equally grand grounds.  The 4th Duke hired none other than “Capability” Brown to transform the grounds to a more natural, park like setting, and he did not disappoint.  The property had a wee river winding through it, which Brown damned up to create the lake and this wonderful ‘cascade.’ 

There were even SHEEP!!!

I’m quite sure there were several in the group that thought I was nuts to want a closer look, but seriously, you can’t take a knitter/spinner to a place like this and NOT expect him/her to want to get a good look at the woolly beasties.

(Which reminds me, all last week there was a show on BBC called Lambing Live…..and yes, that is what it was about.  5 nights in a row, on a sheep farm watching ewes giving birth, and getting the back story of the farm and everything that goes into getting to the lambing part.  I was completely absorbed.  Completely.  And I kept asking myself, where else in the world could I be watching a show like this?  Let’s put that on the list of things to love about living in England…..Lambing Live.  Who knew?)

Anyway, back to the palace.  It was a gorgeous day, we had a great visit and I got there and back with my car full of Chinese students without mishap.  All in all a successful trip, I’d say.  I’ll leave you with a couple more photo’s, but I encourage you to click the link above to see more, and read the whole story.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Over the weekend….

  1. Blenheim Palace is really fabulous! One of the best of the ducal estates. Sarah Churchill was so persnickity about the building of it that Vanbrough almost quit in disgust. (I always say she reminds me of one of B.’s sisters…shh!)

    We’ve been meaning to get to Chartwell, Winston’s home in Kent, for quite a while now. More of his paintings are displayed there.

  2. Linda

    Very cool! And of course, the photos are wonderful as usual. I’m glad you had a great time, and that the drive was nothing to write home about.

    What’s planned for next Wednesday?

  3. Let’s just say that’s NO gift unless it came with a cleaning crew! Can you imagine how many loos they have in the house! Have enjoyed your pictures and snippets of history. Sounds like a wonderful visit.

  4. I really disagree! I am startled that this keeps happening time and time again in todays world. I am happy in the fact I am not running. The Directors have wondered what will happen now?! I will watch closely to see the evolution and goes on in the future.

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