On Friday 12th July, the members of the London Ladies Club visited beautiful Althorp in Northamptonshire. Althorp has been the home of the Spencer family for nearly 500 years and contains a fascinating variety of pictures, furniture and ceramics. We were fortunate to have a private visit of the House and were able to see all the wonderful paintings, Rubens, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough, as well as many paintings by lesser known artists.
After our visit of the House, coffee was served in the Portico in the massive stable block. The stables were probably built around 1732-33 by Roger Morris after the re-modelling of the entrance hall of the main house. Built in warm honey-coloured ironstone as an exercise in Anglo-Palladianism they house the exhibition celebrating the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.
We then headed to The Saracen's Head in Little Brington for a delicious buffet lunch before driving on to Great Brington to look at St Mary's Church, Great Brington.
Great Brington is recorded in the Domesday book and it is likely that a wooden church originally stood on this site before it was burned down in the 13th Century. The current church dating from between 1220 and 1280 follows the pattern of the Early English Decorated and Perpendicular styles. The Spencers have ancestry dating back to 1508 and it was John Spencer who recorded almost rebuilding the parish church of Great Brington and the creation of the Spencer Chapel. Nineteen generations of the Spencer family rest here.
The lineage of George Washington can be traced back to Lawrence Washington. Lawrence's grave is below a stone slab in the chancel of the Church.
After our visit of St Mary's, we took the coach back to return to London.