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Spetchley, The Park Gardens
and The Church

 
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GUIDE TO WORCESTERSHIRE
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The Village of Spetchley, Park Gardens and the Berkeley Family

Spetchley written in Domesday Book as "Speclea" and in the pre-Domesday period known as "Spaecleahtun", in the 16th century the name "Spechesley " was used, it is a parish whichSpetchley House Park and Gardens in Worcestershire encompasses White Ladies Aston and
Churchill and consists of few properties and has a present population of around 90, in the early 1920s it was approximately 125, it lies 3 miles east of Worcester  and can be reached via the A422 Worcester to Stratford upon Avon Road.

Once boasting a Post Office and a Blacksmiths these facilities have now gone.
An important and popular attraction to visitors is Spetchley Park Gardens, created in extensive grounds they have the distinction of being one of the first three gardens opened under the national garden scheme in 1924, they are considered to be some of the finest examples of late Victorian times.

Visitors will see Magnolias, Hydrangeas, Crocus, Narcissus,Tulips, Cytisus Battander, Olives, double flowering Pomegranate as well as climbing hydrangeas, wisteria, Chinese Gooseberry, tree paeonies , camelias, this is to name just a few of the many fine examples to be seen in the gardens, in fact there is something for all seasons, the love of the gardens and gardening by members of the Berkeley family is evident and it appears to be a traitSpetchley Gardens inherited from their forbears.

The elegant mansion (not open to the public) has been home to the Berkeley families for generations and goes back to the purchase of the estate in 1605 by Rowland Berkeley, he was  succeeded by his son Sir Robert Berkeley who was a judge during the reign of Charles 1.

In 1641 he was impeached for expressing his support along with other judges for the levying of a tax called Ship-money, he  was committed to the Tower of  London and was only released after he had paid a fine of £20,000.

In 1651 just before the battle of Worcester a band of  Presbyterians  attacked the mansion and burned it to the ground ,this was in spite of the fact that Sir Robert and the Presbyterians shared loyalties to the monarchy, following this destruction Sir Robert converted the stable buildings at Spetchley into the main residence and it continued to be occupied as the family home until 1811 when the  present house was erected , built in Palladian style it has one front portico adorned with Ionic columns, attached to the house is a Roman Catholic chapel which is dedicated to St John the Baptist.

On a rainy day in April 2006 John Berkeley of Berkeley Castle planted a tree in the grounds of Spetchley in commemoration of 400 years of the family’s residence.

It has been said that at one time in history that it was possible to travel to London from Berkeley Castle without stepping off Berkeley land.
For information about the town of - Berkeley.

Refreshments are  available in The Old Laundry Tea Rooms where afternoon teas and light lunches are served (pre booking is requested).

It is regretted that with the  exception of guide dogs ,dogs are not allowed.

Opening times are March until September 11am to 6pm  Wednesday to Sunday and Bank holiday Mondays, last admissions  one hour before closing.

The Church - All Saints

Situated at the side of the A422 this lovely church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, built in Blue Lias stone in the Decorated style it consists of a ChancelAll Saints Church at Spetchley, Nave, South chapel and a Porch, it has an embattled Western tower which contains 4 bells (no longer rung).

Entry into the church is gained through a wooden porch and then through the west door, upon entry visitors attention will immediately be drawn to the  elaborate monuments and recumbent effigies in alabaster and one of which is in black and white marble, this is a memorial to Sir Robert Berkeley.

The memorial with a canopy is to Sir Rowland Berkeley who died in 1611 and to his wife Katherine who died in 1656 , also to be seen in this chapel are memorial windows to Robert Berkeley died 1874 and to his wife Henrietta Sopia  died 1857.

The tomb of Rowland Berkeley in Spetchley churchIn the North side of the Chancel there is a recess containing an altar tomb this is to John Slade of Derbyshire, also nearby is brass to William Smythe who died in 1653, he was the husband of Anne Berkeley, there are a number  of memorials not only to the Berkeley family but also to other parishioners.

In the Sanctuary the 17th century Altar/communion table is of oak, this stands before oak panelled reredos.

The floor is of quarry tiles and pine pews provide sittings for 80, a damaged piscina can be seen in the nave and in the southwest of the nave stands the font this is believed to be of 12th century origins, the wooden cover is of a later date.

It is possible for visitors to purchase an excellent booklet in the church  which gives details of its historic past.

See Strange Things about the Berkeley family:-

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Spetchley in Worcestershire

This page last modified Wednesday, 25-May-2016 15:33:09 BST