Rachel Gladstone-Brown
Estate Manager, Rachel Gladstone-Brown

A special invitation dropped through the letterboxes of Geddington residents last week – an invitation to an Open Day at Boughton House & Gardens, the very first of its kind.  The new Estate Manager, Rachel Gladstone-Brown said of it: “A bit of an experiment, but we hope that it will give those residents who have never visited the House, an opportunity to do just that. It will also be an opportunity for me to get to know you and share with you some of the community work we are undertaking locally.

The invitation was enclosed in a Boughton Community Newsletter, again a first, and only sent to Geddington residents. So on an atypical April day – lots of sunshine, fluffy cumulus, but no showers, many residents took up the invitation and were treated to an information exhibit held upstairs in the Stable block, whilst enjoying tea and coffee. Rachel was on hand, as were several other staff, to answer questions and queries. It felt like a family gathering, as most people either knew or recognised everybody else, including some of the House guides.

Apart from visiting the House, residents were also invited to wander around the gardens and park and a helpful map was issued with a suggested walk so that nothing was missed.

Nick Batchelor, a relative newcomer to the village and a Parish councillor, commented: “It was a very nice gesture on the part of the Estate, giving us an enjoyable day out with the family. Apart from going round the House, we also walked to the lakes, seeing ducks and other wildlife. No-one frowned at the children, despite their running around a little, in fact we were made very welcome as a family. Also, it was rather pleasant going into the home of someone who used to own ours!”

For those visitors to the website, who live outside of Geddington, it is difficult to explain just how much the Boughton Estate has affected the village over the years – no, over the centuries. It is no longer the case that most residents work for the estate, nor is it the case that most properties are owned by the Estate, but the Boughton effect is still at work in the 21st century.  In the past the Estate has made land available for recreational facilities and sporting activities. The Estate also gets involved with village projects such as the support for the Brickyard Garden, providing space for a rural police office and welcoming Scouts and Cubs to the Estate as part of their outdoor activities.

One of the most positive recent actions is the change in access for visitors to large events held at Boughton Park. Instead of coming through Geddington with its narrow streets, made even narrower by the increase in parked cars, they are guided through Weekley, Warkton or Grafton Underwood. Even the setting-up vehicles have to take this route, taking the pressure off the early morning school run in particular, through West Street and Grafton Road.

We can look forward to the continuing commitment that Boughton Estate has to our community, and with Rachel keen to get to know us and our needs, we feel sure she will be a positive addition to village life.

A view of the House through the Bluebell Wood
A view of the House through the Bluebell Wood

Note: A word about the images:

1. There are many pictures of Boughton House that are familiar and easily accessible, so I thought that some less familiar details would make a change.

2. ‘Lozenge’ – an Heraldic term for the diamond shape.