Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Further Festive Forays...

Next on our Christmas list was our very first (and hopefully the first of many) Luxury Door Wreath Workshop.

Hosted by the delightfully brilliant Joanna McCrea from Ripon's Twisted Willow floristry, five willing - and as it turns out, highly talented - participants arrived for coffee and mince pies at 10:00am.

By 1:00pm there were five perfectly crafted door wreaths on display!

The greenery came from the Estate and the lovely bits and pieces were supplied by Joanna with "extras" - including battery powered fairy lights - were also available.

Lunch was served in the Great Hall and the day was rounded off with a tour of the Hall by one of our knowledgeable guides.

Flowers By... is a series of workshops that we are very much looking forward to expanding on in the new year.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

All things Festive & Lovely!

Markenfield has always been a little "out of bounds" in winter, due to the copious amounts of mud that begin to form towards the end of October and then increase in size and volume until it's wellies-all-round by December! 

This year however all is calm, all is bright (and shiny!) with the arrival of the new car park. It's very nearly there, and the mud is certainly diminishing daily!

And so to celebrate, we decided that this was the year Markenfield was going to join in with Christmas (think "John Lewis advert"!).

Firstly we decided to resurrect A Tour & A Tea - the success story of summer. Exactly what it says - a tour of the Hall followed by an afternoon tea.

The idea began in summer when we suddenly realised that each Friday in August was curiously free. The Mop-Up Mondays had been a great success and so we decided to do a Mop-Up... with scones!

We were amazed!!!! Each Friday in August we had a happy band of incredibly interested people who came and listened to a talk on the Hall and then sat out in the Orchard and enjoyed a beautiful Afternoon Tea Moat-side. It was so popular that on one afternoon we had over 30 people and were having to turn down bookings! 

So... "A Tour & A Tea - the Right House for Christmas" was born.

The idea actually came about back in August when one of our Guides was talking about the various houses owned by the Grantley family over the year and this passage from THE SILVER SPOON: Memoirs of the 6th Lord Grantley, sprung to mind:

“… Perhaps my father’s most outstanding characteristic, was his capacity for absent-minded lapses of memory. My memories of school holidays are somewhat jumbled, owing to the fact that my father developed a habit of taking a new country house every year.
The only place he never parted with was Markenfield Hall.
My Aunt Carlotta, who only visited us at Christmas or family occasions, was always much puzzled and once violently embarrassed, by my father’s peripatetic land ownership. The unfortunate old lady went to the wrong country house to stay with us one Christmas: no one, least of all my father having remembered to tell her that he had changed his abode."

Hence - the right house for Christmas! The story does continue...

“My Father… inherited five houses when my Grandfather died, of which Grantley was the largest. On one occasion, going up there by train, he was looking out of the window when he saw an uncommonly attractive house standing on a little hillside. He was so taken by it that he got out at the next station, and went to the largest Estate Agent in the town. He described the house in detail and said “I want to buy it”.

“But” protested the Agent “we have no house of that description on our books. Why should you think the owners wants to sell?”

“Find out the name of the house, the owner, and what he wants for it. And be quick about it”. Without another word, and without even bothering to say who he was, my father sat down and waited till the information was available.So great was his power of command that the whole office immediately went in to action. After a while the agent came up deferentially: “We are making some progress Sir, he said. “The house is called Elton Manor*. The owner is a  Lord Grantley…” 

*Elton Manor was subsequently sold and later demolished in 1933.

And it would seem that the love of Afternoon Tea has struck again - we are once again having to turn down bookings as this coming Friday's Tour & Toast as one Guide calls it, is now fully booked. Turkey sandwiches, Stollen, fruit cake & cheese (among other lovely nibbly bits) what's not to love?!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Fa la la la la!

 On the first Monday in December each year, Markenfield hosts what Celebrant Canon Punshon once described as "the start of Christmas" - a Service of Lessons and Carols, held in the Great Hall in aid of a Charity.

This year's Charity was the fabulous Hope & Homes for Children - a charity set up specifically to remove children from institutionalised settings and either return them to their families, or find a family that will provide them with the warm and loving home that their parents' could not.

Further information about the work of Hope & Homes for Children can be found here:

The Charity works hard in the run up to the event to organise mulled wine, mince pies and the all important job of Decking the Great Hall with Boughs of Holly... (fa la la la la...).

Valerie and the Hope & Homes team did the Hall proud - the greenery, much of it collected from the Estate looked wonderful, and as ever the Hall came in to its own after dark - lit by the light of the altar candles and the scent of mince pies wafting up from below - it truly did feel like the start of Christmas.

A big thank you needs to go to Pam Dyson of Cascade Garden Centre, who allowed the Congregation to park in her car park. They were then brought to the Hall by the ever-cheerful drivers of Aquarius Mini-Coaches of nearby Kirky Malzeard. The works to the car park meant that parking the 80-strong guests would have been nigh on impossible. Several sing-alongs were reported and as a real treat the coaches dropped their passengers at the door! 

It was however noted that - despite the efforts of Hope & Homes to arrange alternative parking, pay for the coach transfers and send out all instructions at the beginning of November - what is currently left of the car park was full! 

That, and the fact that 22 people were still being awaited at the Garden Centre once the Service had started meant that some of our Congregation had not read their paperwork...

You know who you are!

Next year's Service will be organised by, and held in aid of, 
Bishop Thornton School.
Tickets go on sale at the beginning of November - watch this space!