Visit to Woodchester Mansion – July 2022
On a glorious July day, 11 members gathered to visit this extraordinary and unique Victorian Gothic Revival house hidden in a deep valley in Gloucestershire. Owned by William Leigh in 1856, and using two architects, Charles Hansom and Benjamin Bucknall, it was never finished because Leigh ran out of money having used his fortune to create a Catholic community at Woodchester. The fascinating feature of this three-storey mansion is that it shows a building in various stages of construction – the Cotswold stone slates, limestone and brickwork, the spectacular carvings, gargoyles and grotesques, the grand staircase, the chimney flues and vaulted ceilings, the arches and buttresses – both finished and unfinished. On the First Floor alongside an unfinished bathroom, to our surprise we were suddenly confronted with hundreds of Horseshoe bats, seen via CCTV in the Bat Observatory!
We were lucky to have Liz as our volunteer guide, and we enjoyed tea and cake in the café before walking back up the beautiful long wooded lane to our cars.