Saturday, August 27, 2011
Garden Pilgrimages :: Agecroft Hall
Two weeks ago, I was a lone wolf. My baby girl and husband went to visit family in Michigan. One of my days was spent in Richmond. After a religious food experience at Kuba Kuba, I happily trudged off, full of huevos and cafe con leche, to find Agecroft Hall.
Agecroft was built in Lancashire, England in the late 15th Century. In the 1920's, it was dismantled and shipped over to Richmond - where it was reassembled along the banks of the James River.
Normally not one for tours, when I went to pay my visitor fee, the passionate volunteers told me a house tour was starting. I'm glad I went for it. Agecroft has been restored to how it would have looked in Tudor-Stuart England in the 1500s. We heard about the plague and the Protestants vs. the Catholics and manor lords using their servant's hair as napkins and the eating of rotting meat. And, in noting how diminutive everything was, the tour guide explained that people were much smaller back then and added that women averaged 5' 1". At that moment I puffed up my hair a bit more, to distract from my own, um, underwhelming stature.
I recommend getting into the house for the tour. I was only mildly unnerved during my experience by a fellow tourist and his repeated use of 'henceforth' whenever he spoke. Let's chalk it up to him getting caught up in the Tudor-Stuart moment.
And then, outside! There were knot gardens and fragrance gardens (with scented geraniums!). And boxwoods. And willow wattle fencing. And a stand of linden trees. As well as a still house - where herbalism happened. I took my time. I sat. I walked slowly through the paths to take it all in. I enjoyed the quiet.
But at the end of this adventure that I had all to myself, I thought about when I would bring Willa and Corey back for the experience. Because, it turns out, it would have been fun to annoyingly blurt out 'henceforth' the rest of the day and have someone there who got the reference.