architecture, eyecatcher, Folly, garden, Gloucestershire, landscape, Summerhouse, Temple

The Gothic Summerhouse, Barnsley House, Gloucestershire

Barnsley House, in the village of the same name, is one of those picture-perfect Cotswold manor houses of exquisite honey-coloured stone. Built in the last years of the 17th century it passed through various owners, and served as the Rectory, before being purchased by the Verey family in 1939. It came to fame a generation later when David Verey, an architectural historian, and his wife Rosemary inherited the house. Rosemary Verey went on to create one of the most famous gardens in Britain, and even those who have never visited (including, until this week, The Folly Flâneuse) would recognise the laburnum avenue underplanted with alliums that has graced many a calendar and greetings card.

The Folly Flâneuse’s November visit means the ubiquitous laburnum and allium shot was avoided.

As David Verey himself wrote in the Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds volume of the Buildings of England series (aka ‘Pevsner’) the garden contains a ‘fine gothic alcove of c.1770-80 with ogee entrance and panelled front’. Rosemary Verey went on to design gardens worldwide, but that surrounding her own home remains her most famous creation. The house became a hotel a couple of years after her death in 2001.

The interior of the folly is illuminated by an orangey-red glow.

For many years The Folly Flâneuse has cherished a pair of bookends that keep in place a key selection of her much-consulted folly reference books. Purchased many years ago from Timothy Richardson Architectural Models, they were very much at the, how to put it, affordable end of the company’s offering. Much as The Folly Flâneuse coveted the model of the Temple of the Winds at Castle Howard, it wasn’t to be. But the bookends continue to be both beautiful and useful, and it was delight to see their inspiration at long last.

Update: an earlier version of this post called the folly the Gothic Temple when it is actually known as the Gothic Summerhouse.

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