Tour of Houses in Northumberland

6-7 September 2003

There was an air of eager anticipation when the Tour left Berwick by coach to visit Blagdon where a warm welcome awaited us at this magnificent house. Trust members were given a most interesting talk by Lord Ridley after which we were taken on a tour of the house and beautiful gardens by members of the family, who kindly and patiently answered our many questions. An enjoyable lunch was provided in the Clock Room before we travelled to Whalton Manor.

Mr and Mrs. Norton explained in detail the changes that had been made to the architecture and the garden at Whalton Manor over the years. It was indeed a fascinating study of a top quality Lutyens house seldom open to the public with its lovely garden, which was appreciated by us all.

Colonel Cookson welcomed the group to Meldon Park, and he and his son took the group round the house and garden responding to questions on the architecture and history of this fine building, after which we had tea in the magnificent entrance hall.

We returned to Berwick via Hartburn to see the war memorial, and Alnwick to see the Duke’s cottages by Robert Lutyens.

The second day was blessed with wonderful sunny weather, ideal to visit the Hirsel at Coldstream where we were privileged to see drawings made by Edwin Lutyens aged 17, for proposed alterations to the house. We next visited the island fortress of Lindisfarne which we studied in detail, thanks to the kindness of the National Trust whose Agent and Guide could not have been more helpful in revealing all the complex work that Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll had completed at the Castle.

After visiting Berwick Parish Church to see the reredos designed by Edwin Lutyens, the group travelled north to Greywalls, to be warmly welcomed and given a very interesting guided tour of this wonderful house and garden (now a hotel) by its owner Giles Weaver, who is also a Trustee of the Lutyens Trust. An excellent dinner followed when John Entwisle was thanked by all present for arranging and leading such an interesting and enjoyable programme. John’s
comprehensive notes on all the properties visited were complemented by notes on the gardens prepared by Jane Balfour.