Delightfully situated, close to the Thames, near Lechlade in Gloucestershire and dating from 1570,the charming stone Manor has been preserved much as Morris left it. The overcast but warm day gave our group the option of dining al fresco and proved the popular choice. After lunch we were given an entertaining and informative introductory background talk before our very comprehensive private guided tour of the Manor. It was a delight to see its outstanding collection of furniture, textiles, pictures, carpets, ceramics and metalwork by Morris, his family ad associates. Everyone managed to negotiate the unusual, indeed unique but surprisingly practical ‘ladder’ staircase to access the top floor which proved a memorable part of the day. After our tour we enjoyed some welcome refreshments before taking the opportunity to explore and admire the beautiful gardens.Too soon,it seemed, it was time to board the coach for our return journey.
Following Anne Anderson’s talk on William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones in April, we visited Kelmscott Manor, Morris’s Cotswold home from 1871 until his death in 1896. Stopping for coffee en route at The Rose Revived, a picturesque C16th pub/hotel by the River Thames, we had time to explore the pretty village of Kelmscott and discover its many associations with Morris, including both his and his wife’s tombs in the churchyard. The restored wall paintings in the church added another dimension to this interesting site.