Back in July Blue Sky CAD went on an architectural visit to The Vyne, a palatial country house and estate in Sherborne St John, near Basingstoke.
The Vyne is Grade 1 Listed and has been owned by the National Trust since 1956. In October 2018 the house re-opened after a 2 year long roof restoration.
The property was originally built for Lord Sandys (pronounced Sands) between 1500-1520, set in 1500 acres of gardens and woodlands. It was sold in the 17th Century to Chalenor Chute, a barrister, who, wanting to adapt the building from a palace into a family home – he reduced the size of the building and improved the layout and décor.
The North front of the house has the largest addition made by Chalenor Chute, a two-storey high classical portico with huge stone columns. This side of the building originally reached down to the man-made lake, which demonstrates how sprawling this mansion once was, now standing at only 1/3 of its original size.
There was a lot to see inside the house, having been restored and redecorated by its various inhabitants and frequent visitors, which included Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots.
Henry VIII is known to have worshipped in the early 16thCentrury Chapel at the property, which boasts beautiful floor tiles, original wooden choir stalls and tall 16th Century stained glass windows (which were brought to the house from another local chapel, now in ruins).
Just outside the Chapel is the Gothick ante chapel which has impressive geometric mouldings to the ceiling, carved dark-oak panelling and a wall of thick-black truncheons (said to be used against poor labourers during riots in the 19th Century).
The rest of the house is characterised by elegant neoclassical ceiling mouldings, gilded cornices and is presented as it would have been during the Victorian era. The opulent style is most apparent within the main entrance hall, where a spectacular Palladian staircase graces the hallway. This whole space (designed by John Chute, Chalenor’s great-grandson) is decorated with ornate mouldings, columns, panelling and balusters with a soft blue and white colour scheme.
There is so much to see at The Vyne, it is well worth a visit – not least for the scrumptious scones, jam and clotted cream available in the tea rooms.