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Lord's Welcome

17 Jun 2024 8:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

A group of Southwest subscribers were welcomed by Lord Henry Digby to his Dorset home, Minterne House in June 2024... and his welcome could not have been warmer.

After parking outside for the obligatory group photo, Henry regaled us with tales of his ancestors, most notably Captain, later Admiral, Sir Henry Digby (1770-1842) who commanded HMS Africa at the Battle of Trafalgar. That was just part of his glittering naval career.

A prize exhibit, seen some years ago on the BBC's 'Antiques Roadshow', is a book that was 'shivered' by a canon ball at the battle in 1805. It wears its damage with pride, that also helps to legitimise its rather bawdy - in its day - subject matter!

Photo: Barbara King

Our host's, great grandfather rebuilt the house at the beginning of the 20th century, enabling it to be described as a 'new build', at least in stately home terms! The rebuild came with modern advantages such as large windows and the architect provisioning space to fit central heating.

Henry then hosted our lunch in the gorgeous (and light) dining room, where he added to our learning by explaining the background to the fabulous tapestries. Unlike many contemporary pieces in other stately homes, they have survived in brilliant condition.

Photo: Anthony Vaughan-Read

We ended our visit with a tour of the gardens, resplendent in late spring blooms in the wooded valley that descends from the house. Its design was influenced by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, the details of how was another of Henry's anecdotes.

Thank you to everyone who attended to support this event and to Amalia Richardson who made the introduction that resulted in our visit.

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