Mount Grace Priory
Whilst on a short trip to North Yorkshire I headed out for a morning to Mount Grace Priory with my parents. Just 20 minutes or so drive from my parents' home, this place was always a popular spot to visit in the summer holidays.
It had been a long time since I'd visited and there has been extensive work undertaken, particularly on redeveloping the gardens in front of the main house. The design work was led by Chris Beardshaw who brought the Arts and Crafts sensibilities of the main house down into the gardens.
The lake and connecting waterways have also been improved and there were a pair of swans reinforcing a substantial nest close to the lakeside. Spring was in full evidence as we also watched a goose family crossing the lake, Mum and Dad flanking a brood of goslings.
We then headed to the remains of the Carthusian monastery, one of just ten established in England.
The reconstructed Monk's Cell is a delight, showcasing simple living centuries before Instagram. Sunlight shone in from the kitchen garden located in the small walled area outside. The garden has been replanted based on recent archeological work that showed it had a mix of medicinal, culinary, flowering and aromatic plants, including some specifically used in church services.
There was blue sky overhead but darker storm clouds forming on the horizon as we walked around the outer walls and the church. Here and there the last daffodils were lingering, whilst in the orchard the trees were heavy with blossom.
Our final stop was the manor house, the former home of the northeast industrialist Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell. The upper floor, set amongst the dark timber rafters has been opened up and they have on display a short film of Lady Bell's Historic Pageant held at the prior in 1927. Rooms on the lower floor have been decorated in the Arts and Crafts style favoured by the Bells.