Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Two properly English events at Broughton in the coming weeks. First the Church fete on Saturday June 13th starting at 2pm. It remains a great community "coming together". Secondly, we host the AGM of the Coracle Society on Sunday June 21st. There will be a paddle past of coracles in the afternoon - including my mother's (her 70th birthday present) probably piloted by me. A Coracle paddle-past. You can't do better than that!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Music Room

William Fiennes' book The Music Room published yesterday. William grew up at Broughton Castle and this memoir is largely set at Broughton Castle.

It will be on sale in the shop here on open days as well, of course, at any good bookshop, Amazon etc.

Some of the great reviews:
John Burnside in The Guardian

Nicholas Shakespeare in The Daily Telegraph

Virginia Ironside in The Independent

Spring repairs

Two renovation projects for the winter / spring. The first is complete - a new section of wall to protect the inside bank of the moat. The second is new roof tiles on the west end of the house. This is underway now and should be finished in May. The tiles are a pale Cotswold stone. I asked whether we were going to put the yoghurt / cow manure mix used on the church spire stone to encourage lichen growth and to make the tiles as quickly as possible blend with the older ones. However we can't do that up here - apparently the magic mixture would lead to an acidic run-off from the tiles onto the lead roof with possible corrosive damage resulting. So, we'll have to be patient and will soon have a glaring new west roof, for a good five years or so until it mellows and weathers.

Here are the tiles, sitting down by the battlements, biggest on the left (which go at the bottom), smallest on the right (for the top). Patiently waiting their turn to do a couple of hundred years of sentry duty. They reminded me of Anthony Gormley's Field (see here)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Batman and Robin visit Broughton Castle!

On Wednesday 19 November 2008 Batman and Robin came to Broughton Castle in their Bat Mobile!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? (Am I talking about the right super hero? -No!) Is it the real Batman and Robin? No!

It was some of the teachers, pupils and parents of local Frank Wise School (Banbury) filming part their Christmas 2008 show - which was premiered at the local Banbury Cinema in December.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hornton ironstone at Broughton

Reading about Hornton stone, the stone used at Broughton.

It is from Hornton village about 6 miles away just up by Edgehill and the Warwickshire border.

Alec Clifton-Taylor in his 1972 "The Pattern of English Building" writes of it thus
"This beautiful stone, understandably beloved of sculptors as well as formerly for building, is unusual, inasmuch as deep brown, tawny yellow, greenish and greyish-blue tints can be combined within a single block."
He goes on ...
"Only six or seven miles away from Hornton is Broughton Castle, one of the most lovable country houses in England, and almost without peer for the subtle beauty of its colour. The gabled walls are a mixture of grey and gold, grey-green and golden-green, and almost everything in between! Lichens add, here and there a gently mottled texture which is quite inimitable." Hornton is a Liassic ironstone. "All ironstones darken on exposure to the weather, since the particles of iron are soon oxidised to produce rust; this often yields richly satisfying hues."
Here is a 'richly satisfying hue' in the mirrored picture above. I took it on a simple little camera one evening in February last year from the park.

and just for comparison, a couple of showing how dramatically the stone changes - first on a grey autumn day, and then on a bright mid-summer's day.