The Down House, Blandford Forum, + finishings

Lord and Lady plant in the grounds of The Inside Park close to Blandford Forum in Dorset.
We camped in what were the grounds to a big house.
The former stable (now a games room)
and former barn (toilets, showers, and reception)  are all that remain . 
I decided to explore and then do some research when I got home.
The Down House once stood here  on pitches 1-6 on this map. 
Pic of the house in the 1st link. Here are some more:
A postcard of the house.
A woodcut of the house.
Although the well is modern, the shaft is a lot older. 
I decided to see if I could find any clues about the house which had burned down. 
The 1902 map above was excellent (enlarge to read).
To get your bearings, the L shape to the left of the house (by the T of “The”) are the barn and stables.  
This is the woodland to the SW of the barn and stables. See the ring of stones?
I scraped away the leaves in the centre- this is where the fountain would’ve been.
 The other edge of the fountain pool.
Just to the NW of it was this feature- a stepped cascade for water.
 It appears as a darker blob on the map than the trees.
This tunnel of trees was obviously planted as a cordon for a pathway but were left to do as they pleased. 
On the map they are due W of the stables below the word “Fountain”.
 This is all that remains of the building by the “n” of fountain.
I suspect this carved stone was once a piece of ballastrade.
Now lets explore the woodland to the SE of the house. This is the area to the left on the photographs.
I got excited when I saw this in the gloom.
 And a corner of brick and dressed stone.
I cleared a bit of the moss so you can see the shape of the carving. 
 Under this ivy and built up leave mould is a staircase!
 I had re-discovered a seating area straight out of Jane Austin.
Not all stones were in place.
There was a 2nd staircase to the other side of the seating area with a modern middle section.
When you look at the photograph, this area is just out of shot on the left, but they are shown on the map as the 3 features just below the formal square of garden with the fountain in front of the house.
I was very pleased to be able to marry up what I had found with a map. What a shame about the house though.
Now onto makings- the aran for my niece is finished.
 It is a simple cable with a moss stitch section pattern repeat.
 A few tissue holders for gifts. The elephant fabric is a Laurel Burch one from my drawer of strokables. I really should dip in to that drawer more often as I love Laurel Burch and Mary Engelbreit. I did make it one of my 2012 aims, so I should try harder.
Now shhh the Fairy Quilt is finished. Sorry about the pic- it was rolled up as it is a secret present. 
I used some elf fabric which I bought in Holland last year.
The backing is an absolutely gorgeous pink rose on mid summer blue. The binding is a pale pink dot.
 You have seen each of the stitcheries by Faeries in My Garden before. They are going  to be at the Birmingham Festival of Quilts at the weekend. I will certainly have a good rummage on that stall. Anyone got any other recommendations for the stalls? Hopefully I will be meeting Grethe while I am there.

Posted in Uncategorized by with 11 comments.


  • Yvonne W says:

    what a fascinating place to visit. I love the jumper– it looks great.

  • Stephanie says:

    Oh gosh I love the tunnel of trees. This reminds me of the secret garden. What wonderful discoveries. Congratulations on your Fairy finish. Love the little elf fabric.

  • Messy Karen says:

    the combination of elf and rose fabric is lovely. your knitting is once again very impressive. your niece is going to look very spiffy in a gorgeous and traditional knitted sweater. nice job.

  • Lynn says:

    How much fun the exploring around the ruins of the house seems. I looked at the link, what a big huge list I saw of demolished houses. It’s a shame of the history and architecture lost. I do love the tree tunnel. I imagine it out of a novel, with all sorts of intrigue involved.
    Congratulations on finishing the Fairy Quilt. It is really wonderful and the fabric is adorable and just right for it.
    Beautiful sweater!

  • Ulla says:

    Exciting investigations! You knew how to put 2 and 2 together with your findings and the info you found. – The aran jumper is great. I was never good with cable patterns so I admire your work even more. The Fairy quilt is so sweet, and the fabrics are perfect for it.

  • Pam says:

    Lovely finishes, well done

  • I always feel so sad looking at old run-down houses or ruins, thinking of those who once built them, and how pleased they must have bee n when it was finished. And also of all the lives that have been lived in those houses. It was a very good post to read, Melanie!
    Enjoy the Festival, it has been on my wish-list for years!

  • Tracy says:

    What an amazing place! Like buried treasure at every turn… Love the tunnel of trees! Fun to see your finishes… And that Fairy quilt is marvelous! And it’s pink/white dot binding is a great finish. Have a great time at the quilt festival… and fun meeting your friend Grethe :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

  • Annik-Snor says:

    Your fairies are so nice, nice to see it finished. The tree tunnel must have been funny to walk. I’m sure your niece will be happy to receive the jumper. Have a nice trip ti Birmingham and say hi to Grethe from me, please.

  • Annie Coe says:

    Melanie, it seems I am always catching up!
    I love this tour, wonderful place and I love those trees!
    Beautiful jumper and quilt.
    Wonderful gifties you sent out and I never get tired of the beach :-).
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Deb says:

    Your fairy quilt looks fabulous hun, you have put so much work into it. Love all of the photos of your walk about, I bet you have some great story ideas running through your head now seeing all of that woodland. The wee Aaron jumper looks gorgeous, I love knitting aaron, the pattern is very satisfying and it grows so quickly.