Croome Park, Court and Church

Last Thursday I met up with a good friend of mine at Coleshill Parkway Station for a couple of days’ adventures in Evesham and Tewkesbury.

Croome Court

Croome Court

Our first port-of-call on meeting up was an hour’s drive away – the National Trust owned Croome Park and Court in Worcestershire. The park was the responsibility of ‘Capability’ Brown – he crops up everywhere, of course. The house has only been in the possession of the Trust for about 4 years. They have carried out an awful lot of work during that time and a lot more is ongoing. It will be interesting to revisit in a year or so to see what has been achieved/improved/changed using the £1.8m granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund under the programme “Croome Redefined”.

Coventry and Capability

When you arrive the visitor centre seems to occupy what appear to be black painted army Nissen huts but on closer inspection are in fact restored RAF buildings which once served the nearby airbase as their sick quarters.  Exhibition rooms tell the story of RAF Defford.

Defford

After our picnic we headed into the Park and the first stop was the church. The church of St Mary Magdelene, Crome d’Abitot is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust and just celebrated its 250th anniversary in June. Gothick in style the building, like the house, is attributed to Robert Adam.

Croome d'Abitot Church

From the church, as time was limited and the house would close to the public at 4pm (the park stays open until 5.30), we made straight for Croome Court itself, missing a large selection of follies and the lake.

Croome Park

The Park from the Church Door

Church from shrubbery

The Church from the Evergreen Shrubbery

Our walk from the church to the house did take us past some follies notably The Temple Greenhouse and the Dry Arch Bridge. We noted Coade Stone had been used in several places. And as we walked along I was reminded of Stowe Landscape Gardens in Buckinghamshire and indeed it turns out that Brown moved from Stowe down to Croome.

Temple Greenhouse

The Temple Greenhouse

Dry Arch Bridge

The Dry Arch Bridge with Coade Stone Façade and Keystones

To me the house was a refreshing change from the usual ornate furniture, furnishings and priceless contents and restricting ropes. You could go anywhere and touch everything. Of course, there was nothing of value to touch and that may change as renovations and restorations continue but for the moment it suited me fine to read about the house and family; to listen to recordings of workers and hear what the inhabitants might have said; to dress up; contribute a few pieces to a jigsaw puzzle.

Donor Flowers

Flowers – given by a generous donor

Jigsaw

The Croome Park Jigsaw

Listen and read

Read and hear about former inhabitants

Croome Room

A Corner of Croome

Croome Bookshop

Bookshop Browsing in the Basement

One of the rooms is now a tea room with some tables outside but we only had time for a quick browse and buy in the secondhand book shop before heading out into the park and a longish walk around the perimeter via the Rotunda and Park Seat.

Rotunda

The Rotunda and Ha-ha (Cedars planted by Brown)

Park Seat

Park Seat has the best views across the Park and the Court

We managed to leave at about 5.30pm knowing that we had left a few things to enjoy on a future visit!

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7 comments on “Croome Park, Court and Church

  1. Nilly says:

    We enjoyed a visit to Croome last year on a trip to the West Country – the church alone was worth the detour.

    • I’d hoped to visit the church when I was staying in Tewkesbury last March but didn’t have time. I’m not sure that I would have been able to as it is very much a part of the NT estate. Yes, I’m so glad that I managed this time.

  2. Simon T says:

    Defford was one of my Dad’s churches – until I was 19, the only plane I had been in was a tiny one which flew people around the area from Defford Airfield!

    • Do you mean that you actually flew in the tiny plane or that you just went in it on the ground? I see that Defford village itself is just across the river from Eckington but the disused air field is within the Croome estate.

  3. […] James Wyatt and completed in 1798. So it had connections with the Earl of Coventry’s Croome Park which I visited on the previous […]

  4. Haven’t been to Croome. Sometimes It’s nice to see a place before the National Trust “National-Trustify” somewhere. How come they received it? Death duties?

    • I’m not sure exactly but in my book ‘In search of the perfect house’ by Marcus Binney [2007] it says : “In 2007 came the news that a Croome conservation trust, backed by the NT, had agreed the purchase of the house and grounds, with a view to opening Croome to the public. House and park will be reunited and visitors will be able to see the splendidly restored interiors, hopefully alongside portraits and other items on loan from the family. This is a fairy tale ending to a long and often desperate saga.”

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