On a mild and sunny October afternoon, , 13 members spent an enjoyable and very informative afternoon at Trereife House. Tim Le Grice, who has lived in the house for most of his life, showed us around and told us the history of the house and its owners. His family is in possession due to a fortunate marriage a couple of centuries ago when a tutor (a Mr LeGrice from East Anglia) married the widow of the previous owner. Jane Austen storylines surrounded us!
The original farm house, built and owned by the Nicholls family, was “turned around” to face in the opposite direction when the new Queen Anne façade was built. The house is fronted by a parterre; this French fashion of more than two hundred years ago was echoed by a suite of French bedroom furniture, painted in eau-de-nil – it’s age-worn appeal spoke of its great age. This is placed in “The Bride’s Room” where, in the 21st century, belles prepare for the “happiest day of their lives”.
It was so refreshing to be in a “stately home” (albeit on a comparatively minor scale) where we were encouraged to sit on chairs hundreds of years old. The house has an atmosphere of warm welcome and unpretentiousness; the walls are covered in many family portraits and there is a wealth of old furniture, darkened by the passage of many years. It was easy to close one’s eyes and imagine the swish of silk gowns and bewigged gentlemen playing cards. In today’s world it was clear that the maintenance of such a property is both a privilege and a burden.
Our afternoon was rounded off by a cream tea in the Brew House – many thanks to Pippa for the scones. Thanks also are especially due to an effective and speedy clear-up team. Another wonderful WI event due to the friendliness and interest of everyone involved.