Then look again…be your own detective and search for clues. The National Trust want their visitors to become detectives and uncover the revealing hidden secrets in their properties.
We all enjoy a good story and are fascinated by the fictional lives of Downton Abbey.
The National Trust in Wales is keen for us to discover real life happening in their stately homes and castles; historic drama and romance, tales of landed gentry and struggles of life below stairs.
Visiting one of Britain’s finest historic houses, Erddig, I found some intriguing stories of below stairs romances as questions prompted me to go beyond the everyday experience and uncover the secret trysts.
This fascinating, yet unpretentious, early 18th-century country house reflects the upstairs and downstairs life of a gentry family over the past 250 years. It is unusual as there wasn’t a vast chasm between family and servants the residents family had no vast wealth, even using the same stairs.
Here I encountered the tale of blossoming love between Lucy, the governess, and Earnest, the footman. I enjoyed following their wooded walk that took me to meeting places in little visited parts of the estate.
In contrast, nearby at Castle Chirk, with its imposing views, foreboding walls and dank dungeons hid some more eerie tales.
Completed in 1310, it is the last Welsh castle from the reign of Edward I and is still lived in today. Features from its 700 years include the medieval tower 17th-century Long Gallery, grand 18th-century state apartments, servants’ hall and historic laundry. Who and why was someone breakfasting in a full suit of armour? What is the mystery behind the red hand?
It is great fun way to spend the day for all ages. Get under the radar and find hidden stories picked from 700 years Welsh history.