Monday 3 May 2010: May Day
Went to Greyfriars (National Trust) in Worcester today - another windy wet day, interspersed with sunshine and not particularly nice. Greyfriars is a beautiful timbered 15th century house, lived in most recently by a brother and sister (the brother was called Matley - what a name!) until they died in their 80s, in the late 1980s, having willed the property to the NT in the late 1960s for bequest on their death. They were reclusive, but once a year invited local notables to their house at 4.00pm for a tea party. At 4pm as the bells of Worcester Cathedral chimed, they opened the gates - but not a second before - and everyone received a cup of tea and a piece of cake. Guests who spoke before they were spoken to, or tried to shake hands with Matley or his sister, were never invited again.
Upstairs is full of creaky sloping floors and their library (Homer and Country Life for him; A Century of Horrors and Byron, Keats and Shelley on her side of the room). Everything in the house is as they left it, and their original possessions.
Downstairs is a small yellow room which the sister attempted to make 'Edwardian' with fairly garish yellow paint. The best feature is some 17th century wallpaper, probably made in China, shown in small panels. The sister had heard that the paint on the wallpaper contained arsenic and so if she ever entertained in this room (presumably a rarity), she covered over the wallpaper, to "stop the arsenic poisoning anyone". You can still see the drawing pin holes surrounding the wallpaper panels.
This photo is of a window in sheltered seat area in the garden.