(IN BRITAIN Magazine October 1997 issue pages 66-67) Back to October 1997 issue


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IN BRITAIN October 1997 pages 66-67
October 1997 issue, pages 65-67 (excerpt of the text)

"my bit of BRITAIN"

The Marquess of Bath reveals what he loves about his family home in Wiltshire

"Longleat has been the home of the Thynn(e) family for more than 450 years and I am the 14th generation of that family, inhabiting a house widely regarded as the best example of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain. As a boy I lived in my father's comfortable Georgean house on the estate when my grandfather was the 5th Marquess of Bath and my early memories of Longleat were Christmas parties and other family gatherings conducted on the rather sedate scale prevailing in grandfather's day. My childhood was reasonable happy but rather unexciting, as Longleat was not exactly run with children in mind!

I captained my prep school and then went to Eton, happy and successful days, boxing for Eton and member of a rowing eight that won several trophies in the major Thames regattas..."

"...I like the many contrasting atmospheres of the house. The Great Hall is authentic Elizabethan with its unique feeling, the living heart of the house in the late 16th century, a constant activity of feasting and dancing, mummers and minstrels. The ornate Minstrel's Gallery was built about 1600 and the Small Gallery added when Charles II brought Queen Catherine and his entire court to stay for a night. The Old Library has a Queen Anne atmosphere, there are seven libraries at Longleat containing more than 40,000 books, now regarded as one of the most importatnt collections in Europe still in private hands.

The Great Staircase has a Regency atmosphere and is the most spectacular of the alterations to Longleat made by the 2nd Marquess at the beginning of the 19th century. The family tree, commencing in 1215, is displayed at the foot of the stairs. The State Dining Room has a Victorian feel, redecorated by the 4th Marquess in the late 19th century, one of the three magnificent State Rooms used to entertain royalty and other important visitors beginning with Queen Elizabeth I in 1547 while our present Queen came to Longleat in 1980..."

IN BRITAIN October 1997
pages 66-67

The State Dining Room,
used for entertaining
royalty (top left); the
Great Hall, one of the few
remaining Elizabethan
rooms at Longleat;
the Grand Staircase
Photo ŠLongleat Enterprises.
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