Kentchurch Court, on the borders of Herefordshire and Wales, is one of England’s oldest and finest stately homes. However, the owner’s refusal to open the house to the public was costing her £50,000 a year, until Ruth Watson and the Country House Rescue team stepped in. Seated on antique balloon backed dining chairs around a palatial antique dining table , Ruth and owner Jan Lucas-Scudamore managed to come to a workable solution – though not without some reservations at first.
Country House Rescue (Channel 4) was first aired in March, and is currently being repeated. The first property to be given a makeover was Wyresdale Hall in Lancashire. On July 18th, the antique desks and Victorian dining chairs of Kentchurch became the star attractions.
Kentchurch dates back to 1057, and has been owned by the Scudamore family for almost 1,000 years – reflected in the wealth of fine arts and antique furniture. Architecturally, the 11th century tower has a fine Jacobean ceiling, and the Gothic carvings of 18th century architect John Nash are evident throughout. Further work was carried out in the 1830s, making Kentchurch a work of living history.
Following an unsuccessful open day, in which the house remained stubbornly closed, Ruth met with Jan and her family in a cosy drawing room furnished with Georgian armchairs and antique desks. As in the Lancashire episode, Kentchurch had to open its doors or risk closure. This time, the Scudamores saw sense. They gathered Victorian dining chairs for the newly renovated coach house-cum-café, and started giving guided tours.
Visit antique dealers in Lancashire, if you want antique balloon backed dining chairs like those at Kentchurch.
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