When they said three days of rain, they weren’t kidding: the morning greets us with a stubborn drizzle that progressively worsens. We had great plans to visit Salisbury but our arch enemy, parking, thwarts us. The plan was sound, use the park and ride to enjoy, if somewhat wet, sightseeing, but when we get there, a height barrier stops us cold. It’s the first we’ve seen on a park and ride service. All other attempts fail: Salisbury is in gridlock with the rain. Sigh. At least we got to drive past Stonehenge and have a giggle at the water logged tourists trudging the perimeter. You’re really at the mercy of the weather when you travel.
We have to be in Portsmouth tomorrow morning, to see if we can finally resolve a nagging issue with the fridge, now running, but not as cold as it could be. Consequently, we’re not quite as free to roam the country as we normally would be. It’s this that determines the afternoon, a visit to the National Trust Mottisfont estate. It’s such a beautiful place: I wish we’d made it our first choice and not wasted the morning in traffic.
Mottisfont has a history dating back more than a 1,000 years. It’s named for the natural spring (font), which was a meeting place (mott). The spring is still here, a brilliant turquoise, fed by a clear chalk stream that runs through the property.
In the 1200s an Abbey was built on the site. Barely surviving the ravages of the plague in the 1300s, it, like so many other religious institutions, it ran foul Henry VIII when in his quest for divorce, he seized Mottisfont in the name of the crown, sold the assets, then gave the property to one of his supporters. He really was a piece of work, egotistical to the extreme. I’ve just finished reading a perspective on each of his wives and the nicest thing I can say about him is that he could have benefited with a good solid beating. Regularly.