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Monday, 14 November 2011


Grim's Dyke has a fascinating history since it's construction in 1872 by Richard Norman Shaw for the eminent Victorian artist, Frederick Goodall.
In 1890, it was bought by W.S. Gilbert, the famous dramatist and librettist partner of Sir Arthur Sullivan, and it remained his home for over 20 years until his death in the lake.

Sir William S Gilbert died on the 29th May 1911 while teaching two young women how to swim in his lake. One of the women, out of her depth, called out for help and Gilbert tried to rescue her. Accounts are conflicting but he died of heart failure, either in the middle of the lake during the attempted rescue or shortly thereafter.

Grimsdyke has acheived awards for it's garden's, was a sanitorium and hospital, the site of secret World War 11 projects, became a film set for Hammer Horror films and, the location for many well known TV shows.

Surrounding the house are the ground's, an enchanting mix of wild woodland and formal gardens. The rhododendron's introduced in the late 1850's, burst into life in the Spring, presided over by the majestic Giant Redwood's and Monkey Puzzle tree. Bluebell's carpet the wood's and flank the gently winding paths. Indeed, lost paths are still being unearthed. In 2001, the head gardener discovered a labyrinth of cobbled pathways linking the lake and the Dyke and a secret monkey house built for Gilbert's pet monkeys.

 Walk past Lady Gilbert's treasured sunken rose garden, where over 12 historical varieties of roses bloom, over the moat where the duck's swim quietly and you will find Gilberts orchard, home to many diferent fruit tree's including a Ribbstin Pippin apple, first eaten in 1707.

 Inside the house amongst the bedroom's, is the restaurant, a magnificent music room with it's breathtaking Minstrel's Gallery and alabaster fireplace, and a beautiful drawing room with original oak-panelling, imposing fireplace and views over the croquet lawn.

 Back outside, walk deeper into the woods and you will come across the famous boating lake. Lady Gilbert had the lake drained after Sir William's death but the lake and original waterfall are now being restored, and should be back to their former glory soon.

Having a son in the music business and a daughter who also loves music a dad who played saxaphone and clarinet and played in a band and a mum who sang with a band, I have very varied music tastes from The Beatles, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Faith No More to jazz, classical music and many other genres but I'm afraid that the music of Gilbert, (the owner of the house) and Sullivan is not my favourite but, a day out and lunch in his house is one very enjoyable experience and one that I will be enjoying again in the not too distant future !!!! 

All photos courtesy of me !!



  1. What a civilized house and with such a varied history. Looking at the stately order of the garden, I feel that I should venture out into my own infinitely wilder outdoor space and essay a genteel snip here and there with my upmarket secateurs. I shall try to overcome this urge, though.

  2. How absolutely wonderful to be able to spend time there. The grounds are amazing. What a treat, Jacqueline. Much love....

  3. Jackie, what a stunning place, I adore the leaded paned French windows leading out onto the garden.

  4. Stunningly Gorgeous . . . Wondeful indeed! I want all of it . . .

  5. Hi Jackie,
    ohhhhh so wonderful, thanks for this great tip. For our next visit in England it will be on our list. Wishing you a cosy week.

  6. What a grand and lovely estate,

    so nicely preserved too ♥

  7. Hi Jackie,

    What a truly special place! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.


  8. Good morning Jackie!
    Loved this very special tour...beautiful home with amazing details and gorgeous grounds! So glad you enjoyed your visit here and grateful that you shared it with us!
    Take care, Laura :)

  9. What a lot of beautiful pictures !!! thanks for sharing them with for a happy week darling...♥.. ♥... ♥....

  10. Dear Jackie,
    This is the whole package! Everything one will ever need all rolled up in one very special & beautiful place:)
    Warm hugs,

  11. What a gorgeous place! I especially love all of the photos of the gardens and grounds! Sounds like a fabulous day! xxoo :)

  12. Hello Jackie:
    No, we are by no means Gilbert and Sullivan fans either, but having dinner at Grim's Dyke is something which we should be very happy to do. The grounds look to be very extensive but seem to be exceedingly well kept. Friends of ours in Herefordshire had a boating lake in their garden and we always thought that to be such fun. However, there are pitfalls as Gilbert seems to have found out to his cost!!!

  13. I live a stone's throw away but have never been inside. I tried singing some G & S at the Bushey Festival this year and to my surprise enjoyed it. Thanks for the lovely tour.

  14. Jackie this is sooo fabulous, what an enchantment. The grounds are magnificent and that fireplace is spectacular. What a lovely day spent. Your photos are wonderful, thanks so much for taking us along.
    Many Blessings

  15. What an amazing place! I love all your pictures! Thanks for sharing =)

  16. I love these wee glimpses into historical English homes that you share with us Jackie, and this one is no exception. Such a stunning home and beautiful garden. I could pretend to live there quite easily. Like you though, I'm not a fan of G&S musicals. I think I had to endure one too many at school! xx

  17. Now that's my idea of a perfect Sunday - a stroll in a heavenly garden, delicious lunch and then another stroll. Your photos captured everything perfectly - for a moment I was there! Leigh

  18. I know nothing of the histories of Gilbert and Sullivan so this was absolutely fascinating. Such a beautiful home and grounds...what a national treasure, you are so blessed to have such a place near by to enjoy.
    My father is a great G & S fan (I not so much either), so I'm going to email this post to him immediately...I know he'll absolutely love it!
    Thank you for sharing so many beautiful images...
    xo J~

  19. This is such a beautiful spot Jackie ~ I could spend hours and hours there which I imagine you did. Thank you for sharing this adventure with us ~ it made me smile. xo

  20. jax,

    what a spot!!!
    i would love to sit in front of the fireplace-
    with the shiny copper?

    beautiful xxx

  21. What a gorgeous spot Jackie and I think you should be a travel agent, you are incredible in showing us your ountries beauty and all the hidden treasures. We are heading to the British Isles this spring for 12 days (on a beautiful cruise ship) so I will make sure to wave-lol! Seriously, organize a trip and we can all come...........sounds like too much fun. Much love XO

  22. A wonderful environment to get one's creativity flowing. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love many genres of music, including G & S. as do our offspring in their late twenties.........and they are not nerds!

  23. Looks just beautiful Jackie. Would you believe I have a secret monkey house too? Not far from the main building, down a path…There is a tarzan swing and a tree house. I keep my monkeys up there!!! No Gilbert and Sullivan here either though.


  24. I'd quite like to live there I think! The garden's stunning and the house is beautiful. It's lovely to think it really exists and isn't a dream! ;o)
    Jess x x

  25. I had to come over and tell you how much I enjoyed this post. I looked at it off my phone late last night and was blown away by your photos, you really have an eye Jackie!


  26. hi friend...
    the grounds are a m a z i n g..... xx

  27. This place looks amazing, must go on my list of places to visit.
    Your photographs are wonderful and really capture the atmosphere.

  28. Thank you for such an interesting and beautiful post. I am just drooling over the gardens. Pure heaven!

  29. What a beautiful place and what a stunning day. Thank you for sharing dear one...happy mid week day to you.

  30. What a fascinating story Jacks ... and what gorgeous pics you have taken. So sad and tragic for Mr Gilbert to die this way ...

    Enjoy this beautiful autumn weather we are having ... my favourite time of the year, especially when you are strolling around in beautiful grounds like these!

    Btw, love your eclectic taste in music.

  31. Dear Jackie,
    this place looks so amazing! I hope I can visit it oneday!

  32. Ah, gee.
    When can I move in?
    That fireplace!!!

  33. Hello, Jacqueline @ HOME.

    Awe inspiring your works...

    Thank you for your love and sincerity.
    Have a good day.

    The traditional celebration, with kimono infants.

    Japanese colored leaves, in heartwarming space.

    The prayer for all peace.

    From Japan, ruma ❀

  34. what an utterly fabulous day out.........inspiring!!

  35. Verrrrry nice Jac. I think G & S music is an acquired taste, but it's bought back sweet memories of my darling Dad who loved to whistle their tunes around the house when we were kids.
    Millie xx

  36. Oooohhh Jackie, such an amazing place! Tank you for sharing.
    Have a nice weekend.

  37. Hi Jackie,

    Grim's Dyke looks like a very interesting place. I wrote it down in my notebook. Next year we will visit the UK again and this looks like the sort of place we like to go too!

    I like your taste in music :-)! Mine is diverse too.

    Wish you a happy weekend!

    Lieve groet, Madelief x

  38. Jackie hello!! Your photography gets better and better. All your photos are beautiful and what a nice day to be strolling those gorgeous grounds. I am fascinated by history. How sad that Sir William passed away in such a way and his wife felt the need to drain the lake; tragic story. I'm with you about G&S's music. So you like Nirvana & Pearl too, 2 huge Seattle bands!! Of course I adore the Beetle's music too. I wish you a lovely..lovely weekend. I hope you have some fun plans up your sleeve. I'll write to you soon,
    xx Deb

  39. i love it that you like faith no more. i saw them live in allentown pennsylvania USA, in an old airport hanger. it was quite memorable trying to negotiate the mosh pit ! o yeah, and it was B.Y.O.B
    very cool
    ~laura xx

  40. Oh thanks Jac's so much for taking us with you, so appreciate it. Great shots!

    Love the history (of course) and the house and gardens are beautiful. What a ceiling inside and the fireplace is positively Gothic!

    Hope lunch was delish :)
    hugs and xxx Deej

  41. A fabulous day out....your photo's are stunning. We just don't see gardens like this one here in Queensland...too hot! Mine is looking rather brown now the weather is warmer. Hope you have a wonderful weekend...Ax

  42. Such a stunning place Jackie.... Thank you for taking us with you... That fireplace looks extraordinary... Happy Sunday... xv

  43. What a gorgeous tour...the grounds are breathtaking and your images amazing!!

  44. Another informative day out with our best gal pal Jackie. I’ll have to put
    this pile on my list of things to do next time...

    Happy Thanksgiving J.

    I know you guys don’t get to celebrate this holiday but that’s cool...think of
    all the calories you’ll save.

  45. Lovely place.
    Shame about the welter of apostrophes which spoil the text for those pedants among us who get distracted by ' used in plurals.
    As in "Surrounding the house are the ground's, an enchanting mix of wild woodland and formal gardens. The rhododendron's introduced in the late 1850's, burst into life in the Spring, presided over by the majestic Giant Redwood's and Monkey Puzzle tree. Bluebell's carpet the wood's"
    Sorry to be boring.
    Good wishes,

  46. What an experience for you, and what a strange brooding looming house, even from your pictures it seems to have shadows in corners, kind of gives me the shivers, like hidden secrets...loved the gardens and the pictures you took,
    Hugs Lynn xxx

  47. Hi sweet Jackie, I hope you are fine! What an amazing house and garden, but a sad story of the first owner... Thank you so mutch for the picture, theyre so nice. I wish you the best, and have a great weekend. Hugs from me, Siren :)

  48. Keep Rockin.... It'll be Sabbath live with Ozzy for me .. soon ;)
    haha must be fun!

  49. Jackie, truly you are a national treasure. HRH should give you an award for services in Promoting the Gorgeousness of Britain.

    What a fascinating story...all the tragic ones are I suppose. She drained the lake! How romantic...and sublimely tragic. The photos are beautiful, clever you. Meredy xo

  50. What a beautiful and relaxing place is that. The details and decor in this place are awesome and definitely attracts the one who are going in there. :)

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