CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Friday, October 18, 2013

Want to Live like in Downton Abbey:Avail a spare £2.5million

 

 

 

Want to live like in Downton Abbey: Avail a spare £2.5million

  • If you're feeling flush and are in need of a new place to lay your head, then one of these magnificent castles could be just what you need.

According to the Daily Telegraph, all of the properties are currently being advertised by British estate agents and range from a historic Scottish fortress that once belonged to the earls of Fife to a magnificent hilltop palazzo in Italy.

But you'll need deep pockets to afford one, as even the cheapest of the palatial homes will set you back more than £1 million.

Historic: Parts of the magnificent Castello di Collalto just outside Rome date from the 10th century but if you want to move in, you'll have to cough up more than £7 million

Historic: Parts of the magnificent Castello di Collalto just outside Rome date from the 10th century but if you want to move in, you'll have to cough up more than £7m

Spacious: The nine-bedroom castle sleeps up to 19 people and also boasts seven bathrooms and a separate two-bedroom cottage for staff

Spacious: The nine-bedroom castle sleeps up to 19 people and also boasts seven bathrooms and a separate two-bedroom cottage for staff

Spectacular: The 14th century Thurland Castle has been converted into a number of luxury apartments. The three bedroom Cromwell Wing is yours for £1.1 million

Spectacular: The 14th century Thurland Castle has been converted into a number of luxury apartments. The three bedroom Cromwell Wing is yours for £1.1m

Renovated: The two main rooms in the Cromwell Wing are of vast mediaeval proportions and have retained their original fireplaces and cornice fittings

Renovated: The two main rooms in the Cromwell Wing are of vast mediaeval proportions and have retained their original fireplaces and cornice fittings

Each of the castle dates from a different period, although Westenhanger Castle, near Hythe in Kent, arguably has the most fascinating past.

The castle, a scheduled ancient monument, began life in 1035 during a period of Danish rule under King Canute. Following the Norman Conquest, Westenhanger was passed to a succession of knightly families, including the de Aubervilles, the de Kiriols, the Fogges and the Poynings.

More...

Permission to crenellate was given by Edward III in 1343 and a curtain wall built to connect with the earlier round tower. By the 1540s, the castle was crumbling and it was completely remodelled by its Elizabethan owner, Thomas Smythe, in 1581.

Impressive though Westenhanger is, it isn't the only castle with a history to be proud of on sale. Thurland Castle in Lancashire, although split into several apartments, still retains its moat and was owned by Sir Bryan Tunstall, a heroic soldier immortalised in a poem by Sir William Raleigh.

He was a hero of the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and was dubbed the 'Stainless Knight' by King Henry VII. He was followed by his son Marmaduke, who became High Sheriff of Lancashire.

Magnificent: The 16th Century Lickleyhead Castle in Auchleven near Aberdeen was built in 1560 by William Leith and boasts seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms

Magnificent: The 16th Century Lickleyhead Castle in Auchleven near Aberdeen was built in 1560 by William Leith and boasts seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms

Imposing: The drawing room at Lickleyhead Castle, which despite it's vast size, is the cheapest of the castles and costs just £1.3 million for the entire property

Imposing: The drawing room at Lickleyhead Castle, which despite it's vast size, is the cheapest of the castles and costs just £1.3m for the entire property

The Lickleyhead Castle library

A bedroom in Lickleyhead Castle

Cosy: Despite it's impressive size, Lickleyhead Castle is cosily furnished with traditional dark wood in the library (left) and romantic four poster beds (right)

Striking: The cream stone Myres Castle near St Andrews comes with two additional properties and has 10 bedrooms, a library, a Victorian kitchen and a billiards room

Striking: The cream stone Myres Castle near St Andrews comes with two additional properties and has 10 bedrooms, a library, a Victorian kitchen and a billiards room

The Victorian kitchen at Myres

The drawing room at Myres

Comfortable: Myres Castle was begun in 1454 and was the ancestral home of the earls of Fife. It's now on the market at £2.5m

Later, Thurland was sold to Sir John Girlington, who fought on the Royalist side during the English Civil War. During a 1643 siege, the castle was badly damaged by Parliamentarian forces and was left in a 'ruinous' condition before being restored in the 18th century.

But not all of the homes are in England. Scotland too has a wealth of impressive properties including the pretty 18th century Bonaly Tower, which was the venue for frequent meetings of the 'Friday Club', a group of leading Edinburgh literati, hosted by owner Lord Cockburn.

Others include Myres Castle near St Andrews, the former seat of the earls of Fife, and the imposing Lickleyhead Castle near Aberdeen, which was built by William Leith in 1560.

Outside of the UK, there's a magnificent Italian palazzo dating from the 10th century. But the Castello di Collato near Rome doesn't come cheap. Of all the properties, it is the most expensive and you'll have to hand over £7 million before you get to move in and become king of the castle.

Heritage: Castle Gogar is just six miles from the centre of Edinburgh and was built in Scots Baronial style. It has seven bedrooms and is on the market for £2.9 million

Heritage: Castle Gogar is just six miles from the centre of Edinburgh and was built in Scots Baronial style. It has seven bedrooms and is on the market for £2.9m

Eclectic: Castle Gogar has its own battlements, towers and turrets within, while outside, the property boasts a menage and a stable block with room for three horses

Eclectic: Castle Gogar has its own battlements, towers and turrets within, while outside, the property boasts a menage and a stable block with room for three horses

Ancient: Westenhanger Castle in Kent dates from 1035 and the reign of King Canute but was modernised during the reign of Elizabeth II. It is on the market for £2.6 million

Ancient: Westenhanger Castle in Kent dates from 1035 and the reign of King Canute but was modernised during the reign of Elizabeth II. It is on the market for £2.6m

The Elizabethan fireplace at Westenhanger Castle

The drawing room at Westenhanger Castle

Elizabethan: Most of the interior owes its shape and size to the first Elizabethan Age and includes period diamond-paned windows and inglenook fireplaces

Famous: The 18th century Bonaly Tower was the venue for frequent meetings of the 'Friday Club', a group of leading Edinburgh literati, hosted by owner Lord Cockburn

Famous: The 18th century Bonaly Tower was the venue for frequent meetings of the 'Friday Club', a group of leading Edinburgh literati, hosted by owner Lord Cockburn

Sumptuous: A three-bedroom apartment within Bonaly Tower is on the market at £795,000 and includes a separate study and a slice of the extensive grounds

Sumptuous: A three-bedroom apartment within Bonaly Tower is on the market at £795,000 and includes a separate study and a slice of the extensive grounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside America's Downton Abbey: Life 'downstairs' in 1900s coal magnate's Rhode Island mansion is revealed in fascinating collection of photos and documents

  • 'The Elms' was opulent holiday home built by wealthy New York family
  • Rhode Island estate boasted team of servants including footmen and maids
  • Guided tours shed new light on lives of staff who lived there
  • Privileged lifestyle likened to that featured in TV series Downton Abbey

With its grandiose facade and manicured grounds The Elms could easily pass for a magnificent English country estate.

But this picturesque mansion was actually built on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Newport, Rhode Island in the 1900s by a wealthy New York family as an opulent holiday retreat.

Newly discovered photographs and documents have shed light on the lives of the army of servants who used to live and work in the great house - which has been likened to that owned by the fictional Crawley family in the hit British TV drama, Downton Abbey.

Impressive: The Elms mansion as seen through an opening in an iron fence, in Newport, Rhode Island

Impressive: The Elms mansion as seen through an opening in an iron fence, in Newport, Rhode Island. The house was built in 1901 as an opulent holiday retreat

Luxury

Luxury: Rear view of The Elms mansion, facing the sea

 

Wealth: The Elms belonged to wealthy coal merchant Edward Berwind, although he only tended to visit the house on weekends due to his business commitments in New York City   Impressive: This circa 1920s photo shows footmen on the front stairs of the mansion - which was one of a number of large holiday homes built in Newport by rich New York families  

Wealth: The Elm's owner was coal merchant Edward Berwind (left). However, he only tended to have time to visit his beautiful holiday home (right) on weekends due to his business commitments in New York City

Opulent: This circa 1920s photo provided by The Preservation Society of Newport County shows butler Ernest Birch (centre), surrounded by footmen next to the terrace of The Elms mansion in Newport,

Opulent: This 1920s photograph shows butler Ernest Birch (centre), surrounded by footmen next to the terrace of The Elms mansion in Newport

Wealth

Wealth: The nation's wealthiest families built Newport 'cottages' in the 19th and early 20th centuries like The Elms, viewed from its great lawn

The US success of the British period drama about English aristocrats and their live-in help has piqued interest in the life of servants in the Newport mansions. The nation's wealthiest families built Newport 'cottages' in the 19th and early 20th centuries and would move their households there from New York and elsewhere in the summer to enjoy the ocean breezes and society scene.

Just as the servants in Downton Abbey develop relationships with each other, household staff in the Newport mansions carried on a lively social scene of their own. Many of their stories have begun to emerge through research by the Preservation Society of Newport County, which owns and runs several of the houses.

The newly discovered photographs, documents and family histories have inspired the creation of a guided tour of The Elms which focuses on the lives of the servants who once worked there.

History

History: The Newport homes were They were built during the so-called 'Gilded Age' in American history which was the period roughly from 1877 to the turn of the 20th Century

No expense spared: The Elms' interior is covered with classical paintings and hung with delicate crystal chandeliers

No expense spared: The Elms' interior is covered with classical paintings and hung with delicate crystal chandeliers

The Elms mansion, Newport, Rhode Island, USA   The Elms mansion, Newport, Rhode Island, USA - stairs  

Decorative: The mansion boasts toilets and bathrooms which were state-of-the-art in their day, and ornate fixtures and fittings, like this elegant staircase (right)

Parties: The house was designed for entertaining and showing off to friends so its decoration was suitably extravagant. This room boasts a roman style marble bust and an impressive marble fireplace

Parties: The house was designed for entertaining and showing off to friends so its decoration was suitably extravagant. This room boasts a roman style marble bust and an impressive marble fireplace

 

The Elms mansion, built1901 by Horace Trumbauer for Edward Julius Berwind, Newport, Rhode Island     Fountain outside mansion

The Elms was built in 1901 by architect Horace Trumbauer for the Berwinds and features stunning bronze sculptures and fountains  The guided tour allows visitors to view rarely seen parts of the mansion, including servants' quarters, the kitchen and the massive boiler room, where coal would be brought in through a tunnel that goes under the garden wall.

The Berwind family had begun to spend  their summers in Newport during the 1890s but it soon became clear that their original residence was too small for their party lifestyle.

Edward Julius Berwind, a wealthy New York coal merchant considered at the time to be one of America's most powerful businessmen, hired the renowned architect Horace Trumbauer to build the much larger house that still stands today.

It was the first home in Newport to be completely electrified, boasted modern amenities such as an ice maker and telephone, and was even featured on the cover of Scientific American. It continued to be used as a residence until 1961.

Social

Social: The ladies of the mansion would groom and beautify themselves for their countless engagements in the wealthy enclave

Decor

Decor: The bedrooms at the sprawling mansion were furnished with the finest materials

Scale: The Elms is surrounded by landscaped gardens, which feature manicured hedges and trees and sweeping lawns

Scale: The Elms is surrounded by landscaped gardens, which feature manicured hedges and trees and sweeping lawns

Staff: This undated photo shows Grace Rhodes Birch, left, a cook at The Elms mansion, with her husband Ernest Birch, the mansion's butler. The couple married in 1918

Staff: This undated photo shows Grace Rhodes Birch, left, a cook at The Elms mansion, with her husband Ernest Birch, the mansion's butler. The couple married in 1918

Mr Berwind counted powerful public figures from America and Europe as friends, including Theodore Roosevelt and the German Kaiser Wilhelm II among his friends.

A self-made man - he was the son of German immigrants - he was considered one of the most important people in Newport's high society.

In Downton Abbey, the Crawley family's own American grandmother, played by Shirley MacLaine, owns homes in New York and Newport.  The city is even mentioned on the show from time to time, including by Lady Mary Crawley, who considers fleeing to America to wait out a scandal involving the death of a Turkish diplomat in her bed.

'It'll be dull but not uncomfortable,' she remarks to her lady's maid, Anna, who asks to come with her.

Popular: The British TV series Downton Abbey, starring Hugh Bonneville as Earl of Grantham (left), and Jim Carter as his long serving butler Mr Carson (right) depicts what life was like in the past for servants on a country estate

Popular: The British TV series Downton Abbey, starring Hugh Bonneville as Earl of Grantham (left), and Jim Carter as his long serving butler Mr Carson (right) depicts what life was like in the past for servants on a country estate

Similar: The wealthy lifestyle of the family who owned the magnificent estate has been compared to that of the Crawley family in the British TV series Downton Abbey (pictured)

Similar: The wealthy lifestyle of the family who owned the magnificent estate has been compared to that of the Crawley family in the British TV series Downton Abbey (pictured)

Stars: Shirley MacLaine (pictured) plays Martha Levinson, widowed American heiress and mother of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham in the hit show

Stars: Shirley MacLaine (pictured) plays Martha Levinson, widowed American heiress and mother of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham in the hit show

One servant's bedroom featured in the guided tour of The Elms is furnished as it might have been at the time, while another displays census records that show the names, occupations and countries of birth of the Berwind household's domestic staff.

This includes around a dozen maids, footmen and others from countries including England, France, Germany and Sweden.

The mansion's entire staff were dismissed in 1902 after they asked for more time off, said John Tschirch, director of museum affairs for the mansions, who did much of the research for the tour.

 

This 1940s photo shows maid Nellie Lynch on the roof of the mansion outside the servants' quarters

Memories: This 1940s photo shows maid Nellie Lynch on the roof of the mansion outside the servants' quarters

The Berwinds simply hired in new staff from New York to replace them.

Other bedrooms display photos of servants, as well as journals and other documents, many provided by descendents of those who worked there.

One shows a maid standing next to a rocking chair on the mansion's roof. Next to her are flowers in pots displayed on a window ledge.

In another photo, the Berwind household's longtime butler Ernest Birch, who married the family's cook, sits on a chair outside the mansion surrounded by footmen.

Census records from 1895 show that around 10 percent of the population in Newport were domestic servants.

Staff in the different mansions would have 'kitchen ratchets,' - or parties - in the kitchens.

Mr Tschirch said all kinds of family stories have surfaced, including a tale about the cook, Mrs Birch, whose finger was clawed by a lobster and had to be removed.

'The descendants,' Mr Tschirch said, 'are beginning to feel that these houses are part of their family histories, too.'

Downton Abbey has received critical acclaim on both sides of the channel, and has won numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Mini-series or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Mini-series.

The series, screened on the PBS channel in the US, has become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world.

THE GLAMOUR AND OPULENCE OF NEWPORT'S FAMOUS 'COTTAGES'

Grand: The Breakers (pictured) was one of the finest of the holiday 'cottages' built by wealthy families in Newport during the late 19th and early 20th Century

Grand: The Breakers (pictured) was one of the finest of the holiday 'cottages' built by wealthy families in Newport during the late 19th and early 20th Century

Wealthy families from New York and Boston built huge houses with sprawling gardens in Newport in which to holiday in the summer and to entertain guests.

They were built during the so-called 'Gilded Age' in American history which was the period roughly from 1877 to the turn of the 20th Century.

Among the families who began to build in Newport in the late 19th and early 20th century, were the very wealthy members of America's east coast high society - including the Vanderbilts, Astors and Wideners.

Glamour: The Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. Its construction is credited with helping to transform Newport into a holiday destination for America's wealthiest families

Glamour: The Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. Its construction is credited with helping to transform Newport into a holiday destination for America's wealthiest families

Picturesque: Chateau-sur-Mer was built as a French-style villa for William Shepard Wetmore, a merchant in the China trade. It is now open to the public as a museum

Picturesque: Chateau-sur-Mer was built as a French-style villa for William Shepard Wetmore, a merchant in the China trade. It is now open to the public as a museum

The buildings became key symbols of status within New York high society, with families trying to outdo each other with the expense and beauty of their homes.

The mansions, which were known, ironically perhaps, as 'cottages,' costs tens of thousands of dollars to build (millions of dollars in today's money) and boasted features such as marble floors and fire places, palladian columns, electricity and other luxuries of the time.

Perhaps the finest of these houses was The Breakers which was built in 1895 and the Miramar.

The grandiose Marble House, which was built between 1888 and 1892 by the Vanderbilts, is credited with helping to attract other wealthy families to follow suit by building holiday homes in Newport.

Design: Built between 1881 and 1883, The Isaac Bell House, Newport, is considered to be one of the finest Shingle Style houses in the US

Design: Built between 1881 and 1883, The Isaac Bell House, Newport, is considered to be one of the finest Shingle Style houses in the US

Finery: Built between 1898 and 1902, Rosecliff was built by Theresa Fair Oelrichs - a 'silver heiress' from Nevada

Finery: Built between 1898 and 1902, Rosecliff was built by Theresa Fair Oelrichs - a 'silver heiress' from Nevada

Families came to Newport for the social season holding grand parties. However, for all their grandeur, the houses often had relatively few bedrooms, as the guests were expected to have their own property nearby.

Many of the mansions were designed by the renowned New York-based architect Richard Morris Hunt, who had a house in Newport himself.

Many of the mansions remain in private use, although a number are now card for by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Others were converted into academic buildings for Salve Regina College in the 1930s.

Decorative: Kingscote is one of the first summer 'cottages' to be built in Newport. The house is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County and is open to the public

Decorative: Kingscote is one of the first summer 'cottages' to be built in Newport. The house is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County and is open to the public

 

Fall from grace: Pictures of fascinating and eerie crumbling mansions from around the world. Once the symbols of wealth and power, blighted, burned and decaying mansions still tower from Belgium to New York as the last haunting vestiges of a bygone era, reminding visitors that nothing lasts forever. 

Pidhirtsi Castle built in Ukraine in the mid-17th century suffered the first blow during World War I when Russian soldiers destroyed its lavish interior.

After World War II, the once grand estate reopened as a tuberculosis hospital. But in 1956, the ramshackle castle caught fire that raged for three weeks, obliterating the last remnants of its beauty.

Distant memory: Kasteel van Mesen in Lede, Belgium, was a royal house until 1796 and in 2010 it was razed after the Ministry of Defence in Belgium let it fall into disrepair

Distant memory: Kasteel van Mesen in Lede, Belgium, was a royal house until 1796 and in 2010 it was razed after the Ministry of Defence in Belgium let it fall into disrepair

Behind the scenes: The once great Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium was left in a dilapidated state until it was demolished in 2010

Behind the scenes: The once great Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium was left in a dilapidated state until it was demolished in 2010

The Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium was used as a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and a boarding school before it fell into ruin

The Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium was used as a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and a boarding school before it fell into ruin

Château Miranda was built in Celles, Belgium, in 1866 by the prominent and wealthy Liedekerke-Beaufort family. During World War II, the grand building was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium, according to the site io9.com.

More...

It has stood empty since 1991, its facade and interior slowly crumbling, in part because the family refuses to turn it over to the municipality.

Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium was built in 1628 and has functioned as a castle, a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and a boarding school for girls financed by the Belgian aristocracy

Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium was built in 1628 and has functioned as a castle, a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and a boarding school for girls financed by the Belgian aristocracy

Window to the past: Images of the interiors of Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium show how the building had deteriorated

Window to the past: Images of the interiors of Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium show how the building had deteriorated

Overgrown: The Kasteel van Mesen, was left to be taken over by weeds before it was demolished three years ago

Overgrown: The Kasteel van Mesen, was left to be taken over by weeds before it was demolished three years ago

Also in Belgium, the long-abandoned nearly 500-year-old Kasteel van Mesen in Ledes met a worst fate when it was razed to the ground in 2010. In the course of its long history, the castle housed a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and in the beginning of the 20th century a boarding school for girls.

Lillesden Estate Mansion in the U.K. built between 1853 and 1855 by banker Edward Lloyd also housed a school for girls, but the red-brick mansion has been abandoned since 1999 when the institution closed its doors.

Ravaged beauty: Pidhirtsi Castle built in Ukraine in the mid-17th century suffered the first blow during World War I when Russian soldiers destroyed its lavish interior

Ravaged beauty: Pidhirtsi Castle built in Ukraine in the mid-17th century suffered the first blow during World War I when Russian soldiers destroyed its lavish interior

Status symbol: A Scottish immigrant, Francis Bannerman, purchased a small island on the Hudson River, New York, in 1900 and built a castle to advertise his military surplus business

Status symbol: A Scottish immigrant, Francis Bannerman, purchased a small island on the Hudson River, New York, in 1900 and built a castle to advertise his military surplus business

Fiery end: Tragedy struck Bannerman Castle on the Hudson River, New York, in 1918 when 200 tons of ammunition exploded, destroying a part of the structure

Fiery end: Tragedy struck Bannerman Castle on the Hudson River, New York, in 1918 when 200 tons of ammunition exploded, destroying a part of the structure

Across the pond in New York, a Scottish immigrant, Francis Bannerman, purchased a small island in 1900 and built a castle to advertise his military surplus business.

But tragedy struck the ornate building in 1918 when 200 tons of ammunition exploded, destroying a part of the structure. Then in 1969, a fire ravaged the floors and roofs of the castle.

Blighted building: Château Miranda was built in Celles, Belgium, in 1866 by the Liedekerke-Beaufort family, but during World War II, the grand building was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium

Blighted building: Château Miranda was built in Celles, Belgium, in 1866 by the Liedekerke-Beaufort family, but during World War II, the grand building was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium

In Limbo: Château Miranda has stood empty since 1991, its facade and interior slowly crumbling, because the family refuses to turn it over to the city

In Limbo: Château Miranda has stood empty since 1991, its facade and interior slowly crumbling, because the family refuses to turn it over to the city

Château Miranda in Celles, Belgium has been in a dilapidated condition for more than 20 years     Château Miranda is also known as Château de Noisy and is situated in Celles, Belgium

English architect Edward Milner built the castle for the Liedekerke-Beaufort family, who left Vêves Castle during the French Revolution.  It remained in use  until 1980

Chateau Miranda was used as an orphanage by the National Railway Company of Belgium during the Second World War

Chateau Miranda was used as an orphanage by the National Railway Company of Belgium during the Second World War

The damaged castle has been vacant since 1950 after the only ferryboat that serviced the island sank in a storm. In 2009, a third of the remaining structure collapsed.

In Millbrook, New York, the once impressive Halcyon Hall, which housed a luxury hotel at the turn of the last century and later served as a campus for the prestigious Bennett School for Girls has been standing empty since 1978.

Forgotten: Lillesden Estate Mansion in the U.K. built between 1853 and 1855 by banker Edward Lloyd housed a school for girls, but has been abandoned since 1999 when the institution closed its doors

Forgotten: Lillesden Estate Mansion in the U.K. built between 1853 and 1855 by banker Edward Lloyd housed a school for girls, but has been abandoned since 1999 when the institution closed its doors

Ruins: In Millbrook, New York, the once impressive Halcyon Hall housed a luxury hotel at the turn of the last century

Ruins: In Millbrook, New York, the once impressive Halcyon Hall housed a luxury hotel at the turn of the last century

Haunted hallways: Halcyon Hall later served as a campus for the prestigious Bennett School for Girls but has been vacant since 1978

Haunted hallways: Halcyon Hall later served as a campus for the prestigious Bennett School for Girls but has been vacant since 1978  

No comments: