Mistress Agnes burns the candle at both ends

More torrential rain over night and this continues the next day. No longer can this be described as showers or drizzle and we exercise caution, staying in the van for the morning. We then take the short journey to Troutbeck, near Windermere to visit Townend House, home of the Browne family for over four hundred years. This is certainly one of the gems of the National Trust. The basis of the house is late C16th, with later additions. There is plenty of mock Jacobean carving, done by Victorian owner George Browne. Browne had delusions of grandeur and made up his own coat of arms. The property has an extensive library dating back 500 years. Chris is fascinated by the full length musket and a pike that looks a little thin for use. Apart from the wood and the books, I am taken with the smoke hole above the chimney, the weaving looms and the rush light holder. There are also large glass bowls of water, which, when placed near the candles, helped to concentrate the light. I finally manage to get a photo of a rush holder. In extravagant households both ends of the rush would be lit – hence ‘burning the candle at both ends’. A fascinating property, all the better for being a real home and some interesting guides to chat to.

Townend, Troutbeck

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