Desperate to get out after being cooped up with colds, we took advantage of the New Year’s Day “open day” at the Woodchester Mansion a few miles south of Stroud. We parked up at the top near Coaley Peak and then walked with lots of hardy English folk down to the mansion for about a half hour on the muddy roads. The Woodchester Mansion is famous for never being completed, thus giving a unique view into Victorian building processes and being a perfect setting for Halloween haunts.
Because it wasn’t the most lovely day weather-wise, I’ve included some other photos of the mansion here.
There is one finished room in the mansion, which that day had a cracking fire in the fireplace, and people queuing up to tables with hot cider, hot chocolate, and little minced pies to celebrate the New Year.
The rest looked more like these photos below, showing the projected three levels, with doorways opening up into the large space.
One of the themes of the tour comes from the restored clock in the courtyard, “Tempus Redimentes”, “Time Stands Still”–right in the middle of their building project in the late 1800’s…..
….which brings us to our favorite part of the tour, when we looked at the restored clock tower in the center courtyard and read its history. When the restoration was done on it, bullets were found lodged in the tower dating from 1944, when US troops were camped in the large valley surrounding the mansion, preparing for the D-Day invasion. Target practice gone awry? A proper Englishwoman to our side muttered, “D..n Yankees!” We were dying to disclose our nationality at the moment, but missed the chance! 🙂
By the way, all over the Cotswolds are places where US troops camped at that time– over 2 million between here and through south Wales, at schools, manors, fields… Most of the older people remember some interaction with US soldiers in the time leading up to their quick disappearance that morning in June 1944. They might swear at us, but there is a respect and appreciation there! 🙂