Bedstone Court in Shropshire was built by Sir Henry Ripley whose grandfather started Bowling Dyeworks in Bradford in 1806. I discovered on Monday, thank you Janet, that he purchased Bedstone Court in the 1870s and turned it into a calendar house – something I’d never come across before.
It has 365 windows, 52 rooms, 12 chimneys and 7 external doors. And it turns out that in the hall are 52 stained glass windows with include the signs of the zodiac and the labours associated with each month of the kind that you might find on a medieval calendar in a psalter or a book of hours.
It turns out that the Elizabethans introduced the calendar house in the sixteenth century – it was about the device that demonstrated your learning. Knole House in Kent built the year after Elizabeth I’s death boasts seven court yards and an eye watering 52 stair cases.
Scout Hall near Shibden in West Yorkshire is another calendar house – though in a state of ruin. It was built by John Mitchell, a silk merchant, in 1681 and boasted 365 panes of glass and 52 windows.
In the Midlands Bradgate House built by Henry Grey (yes it is that family) built a calendar house with 52 rooms, 12 chimneys and 365 windows – no, you can’t go and see it as it was demolished in 1925.
There’s not many of them – the investment and the attention to detail would have been huge but I think they’re absolutely fascinating.