a purbeck link with county cork
...referring back to yesterday's blip, there were 48 Saxon estates in Purbeck south of the Purbeck Ridge. The most westerly five of these - Baltington, Tyneham, North Egilston, South Egilston, and Lutton - have no standing buildings as they are all on the land that was requisitioned by the MOD in 1943. Of the six most easterly estates - two on the land now occupied by the town of Swanage, Herston, Godlingston, Elwell, and Whitecliffe - only Godlingston and Whitecliff still have manor houses. Godlingston Manor is easy to photograph but, as it is a busy family home, equestrian centre and bottling plant for local spring water, it is constantly screened by a large number of vehicles that make capturing a meaningful image nigh on impossible. Nonetheless, I will keep checking.
This image is of Whitecliff Manor, which stands on National Trust land on the slopes of Ballard Down. Ballard Down was originally known as Whitecliff. The history of this house is very fragmented but it is known that, in 1422, one Henry Whitecliff settled lands here on himself for life and that the remainder of the estate went to the Clavells. Whatever building it was that Henry settled in, it no longer exists as the present manor only dates from the 17th century.
In 1785, it was occupied by Captain Henry Townsend (his will was read on his death in December of that year). This was not Henry's main residence, however, as those were at Dunbeacon and Ballintona because Henry was the son of Richard Townsend of the Castletownshend estate in County Cork.
More recently, Paul Nash (1889-1946), landscape painter and war artist, spent a short time here with his wife Margaret Odeh. It was here that he painted Event on the Downs in 1934, with its instantly recognisable view of Ballard Down and the white cliffs.
The house has fine views over Swanage Bay - you can see the sea over the hedge to the left of the property...