The Magical Corners of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

My recent trip to the Cotswold’s included a return visit to one of my favourite country houses, Chastleton House in Oxfordshire. Built between 1607 and 1612, Chastleton House remained in the same family until it was handed over to the National Trust in 1991. The fact that the family’s initial wealth quickly evaporated meant that little was done to the house, and the interior remained largely unaltered as it sank into a state of faded grandeur over a period of four centuries.

The faded grandeur of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

The faded grandeur of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

Realising what a rare opportunity Chastleton House presented, the National Trust decided not to restore it, but rather to conserve it just as it was. As a result, that faded grandeur has been preserved, and a unique atmosphere survives. Instead of the usual glitz and glamour you may associate with a stately home, Chastleton’s historic rooms have cracked ceilings, tatty furniture and creaky floorboards. Here and there are wonderful little corners, where the most mundane objects suddenly taken on an aura of magic.

A magical corner of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

A magical corner of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

There’s no teashop here, although you can buy home-made refreshments in the church next door, and no gift shop to speak of. Although I often have mixed feelings about the work of the National Trust and their apparently incessant drive to increase visitor numbers, in this case they have got it spot on. Only a limited number of people are allowed into Chastleton at any one time, so it is still possible to find yourself alone in this wonderful house, even if it is just for a moment. And it is in these rare moments that magic can happen.

A quiet, magical moment in Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

A quiet, magical moment in Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

There’s endless fun to be had poking about the nooks and crannies of Chastleton House, peering down the long, draughty corridors and into murky anterooms. It’s not many places that can truly be described as a time capsule, but Chastleton is definitely one of those places. As you wander around its dusty rooms, it is easy to forget the modern world outside, and imagine yourself almost anywhere in time. As you can see below, the gardens are rather wonderful too, but they definitely deserve a post all of their own, so I will save that magical treat for next time…

Looking out into the magical garden of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

Looking out into the magical garden of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

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11 Responses to “The Magical Corners of Chastleton House, Oxfordshire”

  1. One to add to the list, and as you say it looks a very magical place, thank you for the visit 🙂

  2. Hello, Went here years ago when it was not open to the public~ the lady living there was featured in a wonderful piece in World Of Interiors~ I thought it the most magical, romantic house and longed to go there if I was ever in the area~ I did get to see it , but I I had to content myself then with just taking photos from a distance~ they actually have done quite a bit to it since that time, even with it not being as “tarted up” as some other ancient houses have been. (thank goodness! It has been allowed to keep it’s lovely aura of age , magic and with it’s dignity intact .. I hope they will let it continue that way~ you can let your own imagination take flight then. .Thank you for posting your recent visit~ Hope I will be able to get another opportunity to see it first hand, both inside as well as the exterior. Lovely photos by the way!

    • Thanks for your comment. In fact one of the bedrooms has been left just as it was when that old lady was living there, I think she was basically camping out in it as the rest of the house was virtually uninhabitable. An amazing place, I am sure it will live up to your expectations!

  3. Oh! so you know about the woman who lived there~ yes, it was pretty clear she could have only lived a couple of rooms ~ like a pea rattling round in a big jar! Thank you for replying so quickly~ I have no doubt I will love it~ I fell in love with it just seeing the photos in the article and seeing it from the outside . Thank you again for sharing your visit.

  4. I like so many blogs, there are a lot interesting and talented people out there. I have to say, yours is one of my very favorites.

  5. How lovely! I can completely see how it is a time capsule, and I love the photo of the room with the painting just propped against the panelling. I agree that some places are ‘overdone’ in terms of the visitor experience – too family-friendly, over-polished, pristine. History isn’t like that! I think I would love Chastleton House!

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