Autumn mist and drizzle didn't dampen our visit to our visit to Tyntesfield, Bristol. The sumptuous colours of the garden and estate were still brilliant; with the new boiler warming the house, chapel and National Trust guardians, it was a cheering visit as the skies go grey. I used to cycle past the estate as a school child, though you have to leave road to glimpse the main house; now there's an ample new car park and visitor centre and of course, the National trust gift shop as you exit.
The café is in the former dairy so it was charmingly atmospheric to have our coffee and cake next in a cows feeding stall, complete with drinking water trough and hay rack!
The former residence of Lord Wraxall and the Gibbs family is a fine, rambling Victorian Gothic Revival estate with the main house featuring extensions to the core Regency house. The National Trust acquired the property after a hectic public appeal just as recently as 2002. As well as the famous central staircase, a good number of rooms are now on show as well as the library and the male reserve of the billiards room. The family fortune resulted from importing guano from South America, used as fertiliser it revolutionised agricultural yields. There's an extensive library still stocked with original books and some fine, though not exceptional, paintings displayed around the house. And the journalary: a chest of seven drawers, one for each day of the week, wherein were stored orders-for-the-day through the year; as in Mervyn Peake's gothic fiction masterpiece Gormenghast.
It was satisfying to see that the National Trust has kept on show some twentieth century objects: a CRT television, microwave and toaster in the kitchen which was (one of the National Trust ladies told me) where they sat around the kitchen table and made coffee when they were first assessing the property after the acquisition...there is nothing to call “history” unless we keep some of the present.
PS Tyntesfield is pronounced like tintsfield