Publication date: 1 April 2013
Category: Regional History
A great 20th-century garden and Victorian Gothic Revival restored, Knightshayes is much more than it first appears. Both house and garden were created for local entrepreneurs and philanthropists, the Heath Amorys. Sir John commissioned William Burges to build a Victorian country house. Burges designed him a medieval fantasy. This 64-page souvenir guide peels back the layers to show how the Heathcoat Amorys adapted William Burges’ fantasy designs into something they could live with. J.D. Crace from the famous family firm of interior designers moderated Burges’ designs as well as creating some of his own. Finally, the 20th century Heathcoat Amorys made their own changes to the interiors. Consequently, Knightshayes today shows the infl uence of all these phases and fashions from the bold medievalism of the exterior and the Great Hall to the soft furnishings and pastel shades favoured in the 1970s. The garden is a less complex story to unravel but no less impressive for that. Joyce, Lady Heathcoat Amory came to Knightshayes in the 1930s and set about creating one of the country’s great 20th century gardens. Her husband, Sir John, left Knightshayes to the National Trust in 1972 and today the garden represents one of the most comprehensive plant collections cared for by the National Trust. The walled Kitchen Garden is a model of productivity and self-sufficiency and the estate offers walks through parkland of fine old trees. A full-colour bird’s-eye view shows the extent of the estate and the walks you can enjoy during a visit to Knightshayes. The guide focuses on the designs of William Burges and J.D. Crace in turn as well as shining a light on notable Knightshayes residents including Joyce, Lady Heathcoat Amory, the finest lady golfer of her generation if not of the 20th century.