Friday, 2 October 2015

TOUR OF LLANELLY HOUSE

A BIRTHDAY TREAT



We had a lovely day out including a tour of  Llanelly House, part of my birthday treat from Chris and Sarah.

They have just completed a 10 year, £6m restoration, and it is an outstanding  1714 Georgian Town House.  It was the most interesting and amusing tour we have ever been on.  As we were taken round this huge house, dressing table mirrors, framed pictures, and even a complete wall about 27 feet long, came to life, with characters such as Sir Thomas and Lady Stepney, talking to us directly about the ‘goings on’ in the house at the time, all dressed in the costumes of their day.  On the huge wall, which included many picture windows, (which seemed to disappear) we were shown the history of the house and surrounding land with animation and drawings, which was superb.

In Lady Stepney’s bedroom, the dressing table  mirror was the next thing to come to life, suddenly turning into a TV screen, with Lady Stepney showing us how she made up, with that awful white powder with lead in it, and with those little false black spots that were stuck on as beauty spots to cover up any blemishes on the face.  She was saying how vulgar it was to have a tanned skin, whilst looking round the room with disdain at all of us!

We were also taken up some extremely steep stairs to the servants quarters, so steep in fact, that I had to come down again in the lift as I know I would have lost my balance on the stairs!  This was quite a small room, considering it housed five servant girls.  One young servant girl, who was made pregnant by the son of the Lord of the house, had to swear that it was the head butler who was the father.  She then committed suicide by taking a large quantity of laudanum (an alcoholic solution containing morphine, prepared from opium and formerly used as a narcotic painkiller).  In her bedroom was a long standing mirror, which again turned into a screen, and we were involved in the court case that went on after her death, with our tour guide asking them questions, and they in turn, answering our tour guide! These people were life sized.  It is now thought that she was in fact forced to take the Laudenum, and a suicide note (which it is believed was false) saying that the head butler was the father of her child. The signature on the letter, and the hand writing were not those of a servant girl with no education.

At the end of the tour, we had two portraits talking to us.  One was Lord Stepney, and the other Lord Cowell.  It was written in the will that only legitimate sons may inherit the house, and Lord Stepney, who was a kind and forward thinking man was set to inherit it.  However, the next in line, if there was no legitimate son, was Lord Cowell, and he went to court stating that as Lord Stepney’s parents were married in France, which was not recognised in England, then that made Lord Stepney  illegitimate.  He unfortunately won the case, and the house went to him, my namesake!

There was lots more information, which didn’t quite sink in, but it was certainly a very interesting and unusual tour, and I recommend anyone in the area of Llanelli to visit the house and take the tour.


They have a lovely little restaurant there, and our day was finished up with a very nice meal, including a sweet, and of course a latte!

Unfortunately, although armed with our camera and camcorder, as usual we were not allowed to use them, so have no pictures to show you. I did, however, manage to take this picture of Lady Stepney’s bedroom, with the talking dressing table mirror from the brochure!

4 comments:

Babs-beetle said...

Sounds very interesting. It's lovely to go around these old homes and see how they lived.
Mostly wicked, unless you were a servant.

Anne said...

Sounds really interesting - and what fun making all those things come to life. Definitely on our list for a visit if we are that way.

Croom said...

Oooh wish I had been with you, I would have been in my eliment. WhT a lovely tour. Lucky you.

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