This lovely gabled Elizabethan house, built of a greenish-grey ragstone from the ruins of nearby Waverley Abbey, was built around 1562 by Sir William More, a kinsman of Sir Thomas More and trusted advisor to Elizabeth I. The house is believed to have been built at the suggestion of Elizabeth I, who found Sir Williams' previous home not to her liking and indeed had refused his invitation to stay there. This would suggest that Loseley was always intended to be fit for a Queen and once completed Elizabeth I is known to have visited on no less than four occasions. Sir William died at the age of 80, and famously was one of the few courtiers of the period to die with his head on!
Sir Williams descendents, who married into the Molyneux family have lived here ever since. In this, the 21st-century they run a well known dairy farm on the estate and although the house is very much lived in by the family, it is also provides a venue for wedding ceremonies, receptions, banquets, corporate entertainment and events.
The approach to the house is superb, as was commented upon recently when Loseley House was a setting for a Stately Supper cooked by Celebrity chef James Martin. Alistair Appleton is the programmes other presentor, his role is to chat to the owner of the house, and to give us a peek into various rooms, the priceless contents, and charming surroundings.
The facade of the property is virtually without alteration, though the main doorway has the look of a Queen Anne addition. The dramatic Great Hall was the room chosen for the supper, this is of lavish proportions with a magnificent ceiling, heraldic glass and a fine oriel window. The walls are adorned with portraits, including a family group painted in 1739 by Van Somer. Most remarkable is the series of carved, inlaid and painted panels, believed to have come from Henry VIII's palace at Nonesuch.
In the Drawing Room there is a superb plaster ceiling and a unique, immensely attractive chimney-piece carved from chalk. The Library displays some good 16th-century panelling, and some from alterations in the 19th-century.
The grand staircase is from the 17th-century. The bedrooms upstairs are all lavishly furnished and have ceilings from the 16th-century. Of the rooms on show the King's Room and the Queens Room are impressive and of great historical merit. The house contains a multitude of treasures and historical features, even the kitchen - this has its original Elizabethan fireplace and a later fireplace of the Victorian era. There is much good tapestry, needlework, a stunning collection of furniture from several periods, including a superb German marquetry cabinet of the 16th-century, paintings and porcelain.
Outside, the parkland and gardens are amazing, there are many magnificent trees with plants and flowers showing vibrant colours at every season of the year. The parkland plays host to several special events, these range from a spring garden show, to a balloon festival and carriage driving. There is a medieval festival and presentations of - As You Like It, Don Pasquale and La Traviata, and at the end of the year there is a grand Opera Gala Dinner.
This really is a house not to be missed, it has a matchless perfection with a wonderful historic atmosphere, it was therefore quite unsurprising that from his vast repertoire of tasty dishes, James Martin chose to prepare a Stately Supper based on an Elizabethan theme.
You should visit - you may not get supper, but at lunchtime Chestnut Lodge serves a delicious choice of hot and cold lunches, the Courtyard Tea Room serves morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon teas. A Gift Sop is situated in the old dairy and game larder, this offers a wide selection of gardening gifts and books, it also sells the famous Loseley ice cream, dairy products including Loseley cheeses and bakery products.
Loseley House is very special, it is the epitome of the grandeur in which all the great Elizabethans lived and entertained, it is a wonderful legacy of its period which will not disappoint.
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