Surprising Finds #6

Not far from where I live, in the neighbouring county of Bedfordshire, there is a very pretty church on a winding back-road, which is notorious for speeding fines, if little else.

Officially known as The former Holy Trinity Church, it is in the small hamlet of East Hyde.
Holy Trinity Church East Hyde
It was designed by Benjamin Ferrey in a Neo-Norman style and built between 1840 and 1841. It has two large Norman piers flanking the entrance, with open staircases with Norman colonettes turning left and right, culminating on the left in the single asymmetrically placed turret. It is a Grade II Listed Building. It was declared closed for public worship by the Diocese of St Albans in 2008, but is currently in use as a Greek Orthodox Church dedicated to St Charalambos.
Holy Trinity Church East Hyde
Just north of the church, through the graveyard, is an incredibly impressive mausoleum which is a listed building in its own right. It is the tomb of the family of Julius Wernher whose country pile, Luton Hoo (now a Hotel) is a mile or two up the road. German-born, at the time of his death in 1912 he  was one of the richest men in the United Kingdom with a fortune of £12 million ~ much of it made from diamond mines, and much of it spent during his lifetime, on art.
mausoleum 1
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East Hyde Holy Trinity Church mausoleum
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mausoleum @ Holy Trinity Church East Hyde
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It is often worth stopping at small churches such as this one. They can be little gems. On a wet, muddy and windy day in November, it was well worth a visit.
Annie Bee x
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A Gem Of A Garden Amidst An Aerodrome

With the sound of light aircraft buzzing nearby, I spent this morning walking leisurely through the charming Swiss Garden, originally part of Old Warden Park, and now in the lee of Shuttleworth Aerodrome in Bedfordshire. When I went to pay my £8 entrance fee in the Visitors Centre, the lady at the till was talking to a pilot (I assume not airborne) about which way to approach the runway. Now that is what I call multi-tasking ~ selling postcards and doing a spot of traffic control.

The Swiss Cottage

For the vast majority of the time, I was on my own wandering through this 200-year-old, Regency pleasure garden, tucked away in Central Bedfordshire, near the market town of Biggleswade. By the time I left, there were a handful of other visitors, but until then it was just me, a couple of resident peacocks and 2 knowledgeable and helpful gardeners. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful English autumn day. You can’t ask for more.

Swiss Garden Shuttleworth Bedfordshire

England is laden with famous, gorgeous gardens, and you could spend a lifetime visiting them all.  The Swiss Garden is not particularly well-known but is definitely worth visiting. It is part of the Shuttleworth Collection, a Trust, committed mainly to the preservation of transport artefacts — primarily bicycles, motor cars, and aeroplanes; essentially, the primary appeal seems to be the aviation museum, but this alpine landscape, chock full of follies is a hidden gem.

Briefly, the history is this: Created in the early 1800s by Robert, the third Lord Ongley, the garden lay within the 2000-acre Old Warden Estate, and took eight years to complete. In the 1870s, the new owner,  industrialist Joseph Shuttleworth, added a few Victorian flourishes of his own while retaining the original layout. The Shuttleworth Trust describe it thus:

~ Today, it is an outstanding example of the Regency fashion for creating landscapes in a picturesque alpine style

In 2014 it underwent an 18-month restoration process funded to the tune of £2.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. I understand it is still on the Heritage at Risk Register but it is not obvious to the layman why that is still the case. It looks in very good nick to me.

There are 13 or so structures, from the Swiss Cottage itself (above) to an Indian Kiosk, bridges, a grotto, and a Chapel  ~ all amongst simple, but effective planting and some fabulous trees.

Victorian Urn at Swiss Garden

Swiss Garden at Suttleworth

Old Tree roots at Swiss Garden

Swiss Garden grotto

If you live nearby and haven’t been to visit, I can highly recommend it. If you love gardens and airplanes, you will be in heaven! There are some more of my photos of the garden on Pinterest.

Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth, Old Warden, Bedfordshire

Have a good weekend

Annie Bee x

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