Figures of Speech
Arrive at the front door of the Castle and walk inside into the large central room. In Downton Abbey it is called the Great Hall but in reality, at Highclere, it is called the Saloon. From films and fiction, the name would seem to imply a wild west bar but, whilst we do in fact sometimes set up a bar in it, there is no need for Stetsons or gun holsters. Instead, it is a table covered in starched white linen on which there are some promising cocktails, wines and mixers.
In fact, the word Saloon is derived from the French word “le salon”. It is a reference to the procession of rooms leading through a grand house and perhaps also alludes to the shape of the older medieval house which stood here with its procession of rooms around courts.
This arrangement of rooms and their attendant names, along with the use of French as the language of the English court, is a legacy of the influence of the French court and the English aristocracy’s perception of its sophistication. Versailles is obviously on a vastly different and spectacular scale to Highclere – not just a home but the palace of a king but linked to us, however indirectly, by “le salon”. Versailles has a whole series of salons, named for ancient Gods and heroes, along with antechambers, “chambres” and “cabinets”. The last rooms were the innermost sanctum and still give modern government functions their name. A world heritage site, Versailles is more than just a palace with processional staircases and grand halls: it was also a centre of government. The rooms were rearranged and renamed as the palace developed but very few visitors were ever allowed to enter the bed chamber or the privy chamber. Likewise, those in the UK cabinet or Privy council are closest to the seat of power.
Moving through the Saloon in the Castle you could choose to go into the Drawing Room, which of course is not a room you can draw in. It is perhaps the withdrawing room into which the family could invite a guest for some privacy. Next door is the Smoking Room but you most certainly are not allowed to smoke in there. I cannot really change the name now but in the past, it has been changed a few times. Once it was a breakfast room, later it became a billiard room and then it became the room in which the 5thEarl of Carnarvon kept his collection of Egyptian antiquities.
In the south east corner of the Castle is the Music room but it is far too small for a concert or even for a small group to practice in together. However, it is charming and decorative and a perfect dining room for when we only have six or ten guests. The Saloon is far better for concerts with really quite good acoustics and plenty of space for an audience.
When we are open to visitors, we cannot offer any food or drink in the Castle so the Dining Room can only be admired, not used and, since we are not a hotel, it not possible to sleep in the bedrooms. In fact, even the building’s name is a misnomer. Highclere Castle is most certainly not an ancient fortified stone building – the word castle was simply used as a reference to its size and decorative style.
In fact, originally, Sir Charles Barry, the architect who created this latest version of Highclere, called it a palace.
Looking further, there are more muddles when Highclere is playing its role as Downton Abbey. As a traditional English estate, shooting to us implies a gamekeeper and discussion about the number of pheasants and partridges. To the film crew, it is cameras and crew, actors and props. In addition, as they have done in the past, they may be shooting a scene about what they call hunting when in fact they are talking about shooting. And all the while they are surrounded everywhere by signs saying photography is not permitted.
It is all part of the rich tapestry of life here at Highclere and really – does it matter?
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Shakespeare)
Lady Carnarvon, thank you so much for all this very interesting information. I learned so much today. I wish for you and all excellent health and happiness. With Kind Regards, Cheryl
You are kind Cheryl
Thanks for the daily blog
A change from the USA news
Hope to visit again
Wonderful trip to the castle a few yrs ago
Lady Carnarvon like figures of speech the weather is lovely happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon and lovely history
Thank you for this blog. I’ll never make it out of the states. I barely make it out of Indiana. Faithful watcher of DOWNTON. And appreciate that you opened your home for filming. It allows us to see grandeur.
Having worked in historic homes in the Williamsburg area of Virginia many of our estates are called halls. Most very early homes had one room called the hall and then developed a way to get to the hall or a hallway. Rooms then blossomed of the hallway on either side and then another floor was added. By the Revolutionary War most grand homes in the south were built in this fashion, most by slave labor. The house I helped restore was called Endview Plantation and was built in this fashion in 1769. Your home is very unique in its style on the outside and rooms inside. I enjoyed my visit there.
Thank you – i have researched the earlier homes for my new book – courts and halls and orchards
Thank you once again for sharing your insights …Please don’t stop! Happy Easter to all.
Thank you Jonathan, I am in the states and will be looking into the home/plantation you mentioned until I can make it to the UK, for now..
Lady Carnarvon figure of speech and the lovely the rooms and happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon l am a Downton Abbey fan
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for more wonderful history. I learned more about Versailles, and really, like Highclere, there is always much to learn on many levels. The English language is filled with double meanings and one must choose one’s words carefully in those instances. In translating to other languages these pose considerable issues that must be carefully addressed! Foil, engaged, park, wave…. it goes on an on. I love the reference to “shooting”- with film cameras vs. poor creatures.
All good luck as you prepare to open up outdoors in a couple of weeks. Cocktails and/or tea on the lawn… both sound perfect! And may progress continue for everyone. Challenges still ahead, but with strength and resolve, we will tackle them all.
Happy Easter to you and your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy, and thank you for your wonderful words and photos. God bless.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Sometimes we mime charades to figure out the verb…
Lady Carnarvon figure of speech and like the room happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon the weather is sunny
Thank you thank you lady Carnarvon for writing 🙂
I’m always looking forward to read and look at the beautiful pictures
What a privilege :))
Roxanne from Canada
Many thanks for sharing, particularly for those of us who will likely never have the chance to visit in person. Say, did HIGH clear ever have a chapel/church or cemetery?
It still does
Thank you so much for this information. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing your home in this manner.
Lady Carnarvon figure of speech and pictures of Highclere castle and state rooms
Happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon
I can hardly believe another Easter and still locked down..
Have always loved your blog and your wonderful visits with us on Instagram! It’s so generous of you to take time to share the castle, what to you is called home. I loved these photos of the different rooms….curious, in the smoking room, I see the ceiling has changed, was it a ribbed ceiling or a skylight originally? …just curious.
It was never a skylight just a changed ceiling
Great story. As a pharmacist I think of L&D as labor and delivery. Yet in my new job it’s stands for Learning and Development. It’s all in the context.
Bob from Michigan
That would an interesting muddle
I have such great memories from watching Downton Abbey and from our visit to Highclere Castle a couple of years ago. My husband had watched Downton Abbey episodes with me before we went, but he really turned into a fan after having been to Highclere Castle. You’re right, the names of the rooms don’t really matter. The charm and beauty are what matters. Thank you for sharing Highclere Castle through the filming, through opening the castle to the public, and through your blog.
Thank you – happy Easter
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your lovely virtual tour this morning brought back our fond memories of our visit in 2013. Our entrance to the ‘Palace’ (I agree with Sir Barry, a building more elegant than a castle) was into the beautiful saloon where we were treated with tea and scones. The coats of arms high above added to the grandeur of the vast room.
Thank you so much for another look and history of these amazing rooms!
Martha thank you – the chefs would love to be making scones !!!
I found this fascinating. Thank you for your composition.
Your writing is so full of life. Thank you for sharing your insights.
I loved this post!
What a wonderful tour of the castle by your beautiful words. Fantastic.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What an entertaining and amusing blog you have presented to us today. If they be like me, all your readers will be grinning from ear to ear.
How delightful, yet confusing, the English language can be? Whether it be by:
(a) Homonyms – which have helped me ‘change’ the way I deal with my loose ‘change’;
(b) Homophones – ‘two’ of which I find to be ‘too’ difficult to teach; or
(c) Homographs – which lead to a ‘wound’ being sustained when I ‘wound’ the clock.
Further, the use of the prefix ‘in’ or ‘un’ can create an opposite meaning, such as changing my writing from being ‘satisfactory’ to ‘unsatisfactory’, which on occasions alters my ‘sanity’ to ‘insanity’.
However, why does the English language have words that express a negative, to which there is no positive? It makes me ‘disgruntled’ to have never come across someone who was ‘gruntled’.
That may make the language seem ‘inverted’ but it is never ‘verted’. And why does one feel ‘inept’ or ‘ungainly’, but never ‘ept ’ or ‘gainly’? It all potentially ‘inhibits’ my writing, but it never ‘hibits’ anything.
To add to the confusion why are there words, such as ‘flammable’ and inflammable’ that have the same meaning?
There are also the variations in the pronunciation of words with the same letters. For example, take the letters ‘ough’. They make it t-ough to c-ough thr-ough the mere th-ough-t of breaking a b-ough.
And why do we write letters that are never pronounced, such as the ‘w’ in ‘write’ and the ‘k’ in knight? But then again what of the ‘night’ when the ‘knight’ was ‘right’ to ‘write’ to his wife?
Some say, just add an ‘s’ to make a plural, but what of an ‘ox’, ‘mouse’ or ‘goose’, the plural of which are ‘oxen’ ‘mice’ and ‘geese’?
Best to keep with flowers I guess, where “by any other name…”
All part of the “rich tapestry” of the wonderful English language
It is a rich tapestry and much can be explained from the Anglo Saxon roots
IT IS EASY TO LEARN ENGLISH VERBS BECAUSE ALL VERBAL PEOPLE ARE THE SAME. UNLIKE PORTUGUESE AND FRENCH WHICH ALL VERBAL PEOPLE CHANGE AS IN LATIN AND GERMAN, WE HAVE THE DECLINATION.
I think the root of English words is drawn from both anglo saxon source and latin – romance languages. My thoughts were less than declension than the nuances of it all … it has more flexibility
Along the same lines, there is a children’s book written by Fred Gwynn (actor on a couple of TV shows in the 1960s) called “The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough.” The whole thing is homographs. Not a great book, but interesting to see how many he came up with.
I don’t know about the w in “write,” but I believe the k in “knight” was originally pronounced.
Thanks for your frequent erudite comments that add to the pleasure of Mondays.
Thank you, Pat.
I will keep an eye out for Mr Gwynn’s book. (Showing my age, I recall him very well from his early/mid 60’s roles in ‘Car 54 Where are You’ and ‘The Munsters’. However, his performance that I most enjoyed was as the judge in the movie, “My cousin Vinnie”.
Best wishes for a happy, peaceful and safe Easter.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
No matter what the castle or each individual room has been called through the years, it is all quite exquisite and the history of its usage conjures up wonderful imaginative scenarios of the past as well as real stories of its grandeur through the years. Thank you for providing us each week, a vision of this unique and beautiful home and its transition though time.
Thank you for opening the magic of Highclere for us to enjoy. Each of your blogs brings us a bit closer.
Oh, that was a lovely read. I really enjoyed that and learned some things. Thank you Lady Carnarvon for the time and effort that you put into your blogs. All my best, Cheryl p.s. Love your gin!
Thank you we have won another award for it…
I just love your Monday morning blogs! You truly have a way with words!
Lovely photos! Thank you for that. Very good historical lesson about why your great room is called a Saloon! Love the rich history! One day I hope to see in person and love to think about what it would be like to be able to sit in it and have a Gin and Tonic and just admire it!
Thank you for spreading good humor and smiles on this sunny Monday. The rooms of Highclere are enchanting, and I was so impressed by the green silk of the Drawing room during my once Spring visit in 2015. In the Drawing Room, also “drawn” to the painting over the fireplace of “The Children of the 1st Earl” by Beechley, how warmly they welcome us there. May Highclere open its doors soon, and perhaps I can make the trip in the Autumn to visit once again. May you and all at Highclere be well and enjoy this Spring and Easter time.
And I would love to visit Greece!!
Would you consider making a video of yourself riding Miss Phoebe to show her beauty, gaits, and comfirmation, as well as your own equestrian skills. We would love to see the two .of you on film
Please consider filming yoi and Phoebe in equestrian action.
Catherine M. Splane
Thank you – nice – you would have to excuse my riding!!
Thank you! Have a beautiful week, I hope the weather there is nicer than our last snow storm of March.
The sun has come out which is so helpful
Thank you Lady Carnarvon,
As a fan of the show and admirer of your home, I appreciate you taking time to share the proper meaning of vocabulary.
Lady Carnarvon figures of speech lovely pictures of Highclere Castle lovely history
Happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon thank you for the email you send me
Bill Bryson wrote a wonderfully interesting and informative book called, “At Home,” which goes into the history of everything about our living spaces. He discusses how rooms got their names, like the saloon/salon and withdrawing room, and all things related historically to how things became what they are in our homes.
There is a lot of information about English estate homes (this book was the first I had heard of Capability Brown!). Fascinating.
I enjoy your insights and comments, Lady Carnarvon. ❤️
Thank you Terry
Lady Carnarvon figures and speech l like the pictures thank you for the email
Happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon
It is so interesting how language does not always say what it means. Why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways? Hope you and your family have a lovely Easter.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Loved your blog this day as usual!!! I am fully vaccinated so next year for sure to come and visit your beautiful home!!!
Have a wonderful day and week!!
Bolingbrook, IL, USA, west of Chicago
Thank you so much!
I Know it’s totally random and off grid but here goes two of my favorites from my mother
“Don’t Come running to me if you break your leg!”
then the other one that makes giggle even to this day every winter as i look to the heavens
“No it’s to cold to snow!” …….
Giggles are the best ..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I think that even if I live to be 100, I will never forget the green silk wallpaper. It stunned me in September 2014 upon walking into the room. So very elegant. Your home will forever linger in my memories.
May you live to be 100!!
Another lovely post. Happy Easter Lady Carnarvon from across the pond in New England
Another Easter during lockdown, however my husband and I are fully vaccinated. My trip to England was rescheduled to 2022. I do hope to visit your beautiful home. Happy Easter.
We are partly vaccinated but that still gives us 90%/95% aid…
I live in one of a group of houses collectively known as…… College.
Our houses are two hundred and twenty years old.
When we moved in I thought that they were once a college.
When I researched our house I discovered that no, they were never a college. It is the name of the design of a building built with the front doors at the rear of the building.
Lost count of how many times I have told tourists the story.
Looking forward to visting your lovely home, next year, God willing. Gin and tonic on the lawn?
It is a good name – I think college is also from a word meaning partner or collect so you are a collection of houses perhaps?
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
GOOD EVENING MILADY
I LOVE SHAKESPEARE POEM’S .SHAKESPEARE IS BEST WRITING IN THE WORLD .
LOVELY SPRING AND EASTER FOR YOUR GREAT FAMILY AND YOUR STAFF.
RIO CLARO – SP
Shakespeare is extraordinary
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your informative and colorful Monday blog. If possible, perhaps at some future date you could describe the lesser known rooms at Highclere, and what its original purpose was or what it may now be used for.
It is hard to believe that I have been following this website’s page for little more than a year. In Michigan, even though we are not on lockdown and vaccines are being given, we still have group and social restrictions.
Until next Monday, I wish you, Lord Carnarvon, and the staff at the Castle a Blessed and Happy Easter.
I can hardly believe we are locked down for Easter again
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you again for a most humorous and delightful blog today. Eloquent as usual as well.
A most Happy Easter to your and Lord Carnarvon and the whole family!!
May this covid fog lift permanently and free all of us to be able to travel and visit you!!
Warmest thoughts and wishes,
Thank you Happy Easter to you too. It is foggy but the vaccinations will help it lift
You cleared up something I had wondered about. Living in the states and hearing a room in these grand houses being called a saloon I was confused. I looked for the bar. Thank you for your interesting post!
Always look for the bar..
Thank you so much for sharing part of your lovely home, its history and traditions! Happy Easter! ~ Julia from Georgia (a Downton Abbey and gin fan!)
Great read, Thank you for your time. Happy Easter
Dear Lady Canarvon,
Thank you for working so hard to let us into your world and the truly living place of Highclere Castle. It is a dream of mine to visit one day. If I’m lucky some day I’ll see it in real life. I’d be so honored to meet you as well. You and your husband have done us all such a service to share this beautiful place with the world. In this very isolated times, to have a chance to travel, if only in our minds, is so important and I’m very grateful.
My best to you and all you hold dear.
How long, do you think, would it take to have a peak into each and every room in your beautiful castle? Have you been in every room?
I have indeed!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I never tire of the information and photos you provide! Thank you for your hard work in bringing this to us and other admirers.
Hello, Lady Carnarvon!
Thank you for your wonderful blog post!
I can’t wait to visit Highclere Castle some day–maybe even in 2022. I’m fully vaccinated now and ready to go–if international travel is allowed at that time.
I love your online cocktail parties and am enjoying my beautiful bottle of Highclere Castle gin here at home in Los Angeles, California USA. I’m also enjoying your lovely book “Christmas at Highclere,” which I think you mentioned at the St. Patrick’s Day cocktail party, so of course I had to order a copy immediately!
I wish you and Lord Carnarvon a lovely Easter and spring.
an American-born Anglo-Celt (my mother was born in Birmingham, England)–
Happy Easter to you
Thank you for sharing yet another well-written, wonderful window into your Highclere world. I’ve never posted before, but your blog posts have provided much-needed escapes during this past year. Additionally, I was never a fan of gin until I tried Highclere; there’s nothing like it, and my local liquor store in central New York State is now stocking it. Yay! And speaking of Highclere gin, do you have a recipe for the raspberry cocktail that is featured in one of your photos this week? So looking forward to visiting in person some day . . . 🙂
What a fun read today. It amazes me how one word in Europe means something totally different somewhere else. That’s the amazing and bewildering issue with speech and language. Thank you Lady Canarvon for always giving your readers something interesting about Highclere Castle.
It must of been a upheaval when the castle was invaded by myself and other evacuees back in 1942. I returned in 2018 as a treat from my son I still remembered the secret door. In the corner of the saloon when was only 6years old f
Frank….I would love to read more of your time as an evacuee at Highclere in 1942! Have you ever written down your memories of that time? I’m sure others would enjoy it, too, so maybe it would be something Lady Carnavon would like to include in their historical archives of the place.
Thank you for the history that you share. At one time I taught the history of King Tut and your relative the 5th Earl of Canarvon to my sixth graders. I was more than delighted to know more about him through you. I also loved Downton Abby and that period of history. Thank you for sharing your beautiful palace. Wishing you and Lord Canarvon a blessed Easter. Cleone
Highclere is stunning in photos; must be even more beautiful in person. Warm regards and happy spring.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, sitting here with my old Lab on a gloomy Virginia Spring day, I’m delighted to warm up with your lovely photos, again, this week! I love all things Marie Antoinette and have collected many books about her time at Versailles and beyond.
Your stories pull your Monday blog family together. I’ve had a wonderful English grammar lesson today. Thank you and Jeffery Sewell.
Perhaps you and Frank Smith should consider a book about the memories of an Evacuee of Highclere Castle written for the younger pre-teen set. I would love to know more. The photos you shared of that time are priceless.
I would also love to see you and Lord Carnarvon showing off your riding skills when it is safe to do so again.
Wishing you all the Blessings of the season and an especially Happy Easter, with chocolate!!!
Shelley in Virginia
thank you – Happy Easter to you too!
Lady Carnarvon, I wish you and all those you hold dear to your heart a very Happy and Blessed Easter. May it be filled with all good things life has to offer. I send you my very best wishes. Cheryl
Thank you so much Cheryl
I learned of your beautiful home through Downton Abbey, and then found your web site. One video I enjoyed tremendously was you showing different clothes that are stored there. Some were from long ago. I have ordered your cookbook and hope to make some of the recipes and to read about your ghost visitor.
You mention film crews, is there another season of Downtown Abbey coming, I do hope so!
Thank you for buying the book ghosts are in the Christmas one! It would be nice to have to see familiar face back again!
Thank you for putting a smile on my face to imagine these rooms and places. I so appreciate you sharing the space, history and memories of the castle that transport me to such a magical place.
Lady and Lord Carnarvon and staff, May you have a blessed Easter and I am so greatful to your wonderful blog, amazing pictures and the wonderful stories you tell us about. I truly feel you are the best blog out there. Lady Carnarvon you always inform us of all kinds of wonderful history and show the most beautiful picture and I thank you for that, I hope you have a Easter egg Hunt and it turns out beautiful. Again May all of you have a blessed Easter and Thank you for the wonderful pictures you share.
How very kind ! We are in fact still locked down here but have reconvened a late Easter Egg Hunt in the gardens towards the end of April when we can. It is in aid of the Murray Parish Trust which helps Southampton Hospital so something good!
Thank you… while I do not leave very many comments, I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and particularly enjoy the ‘behind the scenes’ shots!
How kind – thank you
I ordered two of the gins tonight and have enjoyed a box of the cigars. For me, life is about making experiences for those around me and myself. As a leukemia survivor, I find that if i can inspire others by how I live, then so be it. The greatest compliment I ever received was from a client who said, “You don’t act like you have leukemia!”
Life is something we live! It is not something that controls us. My own backyard, although meager compared to Highclere, has become a respite for many who desire peace.
Thank you for you inspiring blogs!
Thank you – carpe diem – I am with you
MONDAY FAMILY .
HAPPY EASTER FOR ALL FRIENDS IN THE WORLD.
RIO CLARO – SP
Lady Carnarvon, I was on your gift shop site and saw the card bookmark which is very pretty. I was wondering if you have any leather bookmarks or something like that. I was not sure if all items are displayed on the site. Thank you for your time. Hope your day is a pleasant one. Cheryl
thank you Cheryl – yes we do and I know we need to update the web site .. this spring job!!
THANK YOU for sharing all of the AMAZING and INTERESTING information. I LOVE learning about your BEAUTIFUL home. I wish you and everyone at Highclere Castle a HAPPY and BLESSED Easter.
I love reading your blogs. My dream is to walk down the stairs dressed for dinner. My husband and I would like to visit next May. (2022) Do you think the castle will be open. Reading the lady Catherine book now, and really enjoying it. Happy Easter!
YES -!!! And Happy Easter
I am in awe of the knowledge that you share on your blogs. As an American I dream of the romance of the history that the castles and the estates hold. I subscribe to Discover Britain, and the English Home magazines. I am in love with the traditions and the history that the pubs, stores, etc., hold. I have a wish to visit Highclere Castle one day as well as to live in the amazing British countryside. The pictures of the lambs and new ewes made by heart swell. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Teresa D. Matthews
Thank you so much I have just posted a lamb video on our Highclere_castle instagram account too!!!
Thank you very much for this informative post. I find the origin and evolution of what we “call things” very interesting. If you haven’t already, I certainly recommend At Home, A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. It is enlightening, enjoyable and entertaining.