“There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears;
The earth is but the music of the spheres.”
Spending St. George's Day in the heart of the East Midlands might have sent me on a goose chase to track down more about one of my favorite historical characters, Robin of Locksley, Earl of Huntingdon (otherwise known as Robin Hood), instead, it was into Sherwood Forest for a few, rather more tranquil hours of submersion into the glorious grounds of the ancestral home of poet, scholar, athlete, freedom fighter and lover, Lord George Gordon Byron.
Claiming an undisputed reputation as being deliciously: 'mad, bad and dangerous to know", the most flamboyant of the major Romantics and most fashionably popular poet of his day, lived at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, between 1808 and 1814.
Romance and mystery abounds at Newstead Abbey, St. George's Day being a good time to visit, falling mid-week, this year, a few days after schools started back in session after the Easter hols. Wandering trails that meander past lakes, ponds, waterfalls and surprise gardens galore, the outside world of modern England ceased to exist.
The Abbey's past is long, its idyllic charm intact. No one has lived full time in the house, attached to remains of an original monastary's Medieval cloisters, since the 1920s, when this magnificient 300 acre estate was gifted to the city of Nottingham for the enjoyment of its people.
The Abbey was founded by Henry II between 1164 and 1174 and sold by Henry VIII to Sir John Byron of Colwick during the dissolution of the monastaries in the 16th Century, for the princely sum of 810 pounds.
“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.”
I've never met an historic home or castle tea room that hasn't beckoned me in for a cuppa and a scone with clotted cream and jam. I'm thinking of some day soon taking time to perfect my assessment of the subtle variations between such genteel establishments with some sort of literary expedition that takes me the length and bredth of pastoral Britain for a month or two. Might be a bit tame for some, but an assignment sampling toasted tea cakes and hot beverages in historic homes following a brisk walk around the grounds would be just my cup of tea.
I'll keep you posted!