|The Gates of Hampstead Marshall 21 x 21 cm Watercolour on Paper|
This painting was inspired by churching in west Berkshire. Last month Ricardo and I visited St Marys at Hampstead Marshall, just west of Newbury.
Walking through the churchyard and then through a gate in its high wall we came upon these wonderful gates, alone and quite ignored by the sheep grazing nearby.
These are all that is left of a great palace…
The Berkshire Historical Society tells of the widowed mother of the William Craven, the son of the Lord Mayor of London of the same name bought the estate in 1620 for her young son.
Later he is said to have fallen deeply in love with Princess Elizabeth, the sister of King Charles I and the dispossessed Queen of Bohemia.
To win her heart, he decided to build her a grand palace. In detail, it was to be a miniature version of Heidelberg Castle to remind her of the home she had lost.
The Princess died before construction works even begun, yet the Earl still pushed the project onward. In 1663, began to erect the building as a tribute to her memory. The great palace is supposed to have taken thirty-four years to complete!
Sadly, the splendid palace was destroyed by fire in 1718, with the exception of these superb gate piers.