Rufford Abbey – another stone face

I’m finally catching up on last year’s posts, so please bear with me if things seem a bit disjointed. After this post things should be up to date.

On our latest visit to Rufford Abbey we decided to look at some of the areas we didn’t see last time. This includes more buildings, the kitchen garden, some sculpture, another stone head (which I noticed sticking out from the kitchen garden wall) and the pet graves. Generally the pet graves are a bit dismal, though they have been done up for Christmas to make it look like Santa’s reindeer are in residence.

This photo shows the story behind the hand sculpture.


The story of The Hand

That should really cheer the kids up, hanging name plates on the graves of dead gun dogs. They also have a horse buried there – Cremorne, who won the Derby, the Grand Prix de Paris and the Ascot Gold Cup. It’s a dismal stone so I’ll wait for a brighter day before photographing it. It seems a little out of balance that animals got better treatment in death than the estate staff, but as he was sold for 5,400 guineas when owner Henry Savile died I suppose he was worth more than the staff. (That’s £ 5,400 plus 5,400 shillings. At 20 shillings to the £ that is £5,670, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the guinea.) If you’re interested in the history of the guinea here is more information.

We can probably do two more visits and still show something new. There is plenty to see.

Meanwhile, there are other buildings including the craft centre, information centre and bookshop round the courtyard of the stable block (not to forget the toilets). There is a cafe, which does a decent bacon cob, in the old coach house, plus an orangery and a kitchen garden. There’s also a water tower – it’s more like a small town than a house – and other parts you can’t visit.  There’s a restaurant at this end too, in addition to the cafe.




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