I've seen little pockets of bluebells about for around a week now. What I've really wanted to see was huge swathes of bluebells covering the floor of a woodland. I could have headed for the nearby woods but instead I opted slightly further afield and onto Renishaw Hall.
Renishaw Hall is the ancestral home of the Sitwells. It was built in 1626 for George Sitwell who made his fortune by owning the local iron foundry. At one stage the business was the one of main employers for the village of Renishaw. When it nationalised it became part of British Steel before it was closed in the late 1990s.
Over the years Renishaw Hall has remained in the Sitwell family with the current chatelaine being Alexandra Sitwell and her husband Rick Hayward. Alexandra was the only child of Sir Reresby Sitwell, 7th Baronet and as such the current 8th Baronet is Alexandra's cousin. Sir Reresby though left his daughter Renishaw Hall in his will. This meant that the first time since the baronetcy was created in 1808 for Sir Sitwell Sitwell the baronet does not own Renishaw Hall.
You've probably not failed to notice some rather unusual names in the last paragraph. Add to that list Osbert and Sacheverell as two others which has gone through the generations. The 7th Baronet's father, uncle and aunt were Sacheverell, Osbert and Edith Sitwell and were known for their love of the arts being writers, painters and musicians. Generally the trio were known together as 'The Sitwells' and for their eccentric ways.
Onto the gardens which were originally laid out by the 4th Baronet, Sir George. He spent time in Italy and studied their style of garden design and was keen to bring it back to England. The formal gardens are still prominent today at the back of house.
At this time of year it is the woodland area that is the highlight. Native English bluebells have spread joyously across the area.
The cobalt blue of the bluebells is everywhere to be seen. I've tried to edit this week's photographs down to the bare minimum but couldn't leave out this selection. So enjoy the bluebells as they are only around for a few weeks. I'll be back next week with some more delights from Renishaw Hall Gardens.
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