Chaucer’s House at Woodstock

July 23, 2010

If walls could talk

What stories are inside these warm Cotswold stones?

Did Chaucer use the front door?

Did he use the side door?

Did he use the garden gate?

Or the service entry?

Where she links dead foxes with croissants
Some children on a bus

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  • Reply David Harley July 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

    This was not the house of the poet, but of his son, Sir Thomas. The house has been so extensively rebuilt, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, that I doubt any of the original is visible.

  • Reply David Harley July 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

    A quick search reveals details of the changes.

    • Reply Veronica July 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Gosh, that’s interesting. We live really close to Blenheim and it’s a popular house to visit in Woodstock. Thanks for this. 🙂

  • Reply David Harley July 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    My pleasure. I lived in Oxford for 20 years, and I am a historian. I tend to know things and, if I don’t, I find out.

    • Reply Veronica July 10, 2013 at 5:43 am

      Wow David, where are you now? Here in Northmoor, because now I’m at my home in England again, I have a friend, Julie, who is also a historian. She stumbled on a rumour of a fisherman’s daughter marrying a duke and then within 2 generations their decedents were in Blenheim. She’s just written the book. I’ve got a fascination with the Moores, a Knight Templar and his lady who are buried in the Northmoor church. I haven’t found many people who can tell me anything about them. Wish I knew more. 🙂

  • Reply David Harley July 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I am in darkest Indiana.

    I can not tell you much about Sir Thomas de la More, MP for Oxfordshire several times. He was a loyal follower of Edward II. He was the patron of Geoffrey le Baker, who appears to have taken some material for his chronicle of Edward’s reign from Sir Thomas.

    Sir Thomas was present at the abdication. Baker writes —
    You, noble knight, Sir Thomas de la More, with your wisdom and distinguished presence, being in attendance on the bishop of Winchester, were an ornament to the company; I am but the interpreter, as it were, of what you saw and wrote down in French.

    The bishop in question was Sir Thomas’s relation and patron, John Stratford, later Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • Reply David Harley July 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Which duke would that be? There weren’t many dukes around, and none come to mind as having any relationship with the early generations of the Churchill family.

    • Reply Veronica July 11, 2013 at 12:54 am

      Oops, Viscount! There, you see? There’s the entire reason why I should never be a historian, (thank goodness my own family records are written down to 1218 – by other people!). Anyway, William Flower Viscount Ashbrook, married Betty Ridge, sometimes Rudge, right here at Northmoor’s St Denny’s Church in 1766. Julie tells me that the Viscount was an orphan by the time of his marriage. I asked her that right away because, can you imagine the scandal? 🙂

  • Reply David Harley July 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    See page 135

    He was at Christ Church, not Magdalen. The title was an Irish one, so he was not a member of the House of Lords, in all probability. He had no notable kin. Totally undistinguished family. The Irish estate and its grand house were sold in the 1920s, as the creditors were pressing.

    The wife died at Shipston-on-Stour, a village with no resident gentry, as far as I know. The manor was owned by the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. Why was she there? Being nursed at the rectory? Who was the rector, I wonder.

    • Reply Veronica July 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

      I’ll ask Julie. She’s go the complete history and is close to publishing I think. Fascinating, isn’t it? I think Viscountess Ashbrook did marry again after William died. I think Julie said she did. Gosh, I wish I knew the story better. 🙂

      • Reply David Harley July 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        According to the death notice in one of the monthly magazines, she died as the dowager Viscountess. There is no mention of any second marriage in such excellent works of fiction as Debrett’s Peerage. Unfortunately, the family was too utterly obscure for any of them to rate an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

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