The records of the Highclere estate date from 749AD which during the Anglo- Saxon times. From that point, the buildings and land belonged to the Bishopric of Winchester who retained ownership all the way to Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries some 800 years later.
The second owner of any longevity was subsequently Geordie’s family who in 1679 acquired what was then a Tudor house, a church, estate, woodlands and associated farm buildings and tenants.
Therefore, when Geordie and I began our stewardship, it seemed appropriate that one of our first guests should be the then Bishop Michael of Winchester, a charming man, who subsequently returned many times. Of course, before we sat down in the dining room for dinner, we asked him to say grace along the lines of “For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful and keep us always mindful of the needs of others.”
Food is often not just about nourishment but also about welcoming others to your home: a moment to pause and take stock which was exemplified by these past two days.
This was a typical Highclere weekend: a combination of scenes from the past, a bit of Downton Abbey, some reflections on our journey going forwards, along with plenty of food, afternoon tea and later, of course, cocktails.
I would like to take this moment to pause and say thank you to all those who were here to make it so special: both entertaining and thought provoking. Eighty-seven re-enactors, assorted musicians, Mr Churchill (we need him as we enter a new darkest hour), Simon the farm manager for bringing up the pigs, Waterstones for bringing along books for us to browse and buy, Grundon’s (waste management and recycling) for lending us their Pierce Arrow Truck, all the Vintage cars owners (how beautiful those cars are), George Bacon and the Historic Helicopter flight and last but not least all the Concorde pilots. Team Highclere was led by Charlotte, who never stopped, and all of them were always smiling and just a million thanks to all of them.
Thank you also to our two charities: to SSAFA who help and support our UK veterans when they are isolated, ill, homeless or just need help and to Homestart who help young families struggling with debt, needing food banks or a bed or just company and the feeling that someone cares. Do look them up. Finally, thank you to Viking Cruises who supported the event and sponsored our speaker’s tent.
The talks and speakers varied hugely from the amusement of stories about the filming of Downton Abbey to author Andrew Roberts discussing his latest book on the mis-understood monarch George III. Sarah Sands led us towards inner peace and Dr Nigel Wilson shared his thoughts and the philosophy of the investment role of Legal and General, their focus on urban regeneration, their investment in future companies to help us resource our life through renewables at affordable prices. It was without doubt an honour to listen to immunologist Sir John Bell and his work with the COVID virus: we all gathered round the canopy from which he spoke, sitting outside in the sun, enjoying the life once more that he has helped restore. You will not be surprised to hear that he was cheered.
The last panel of the weekend looked where we go next, at nature, wildlife and biodiversity – thank you to Jason Channell,( Citi Global insights) Tracy Worcester, Harold Makant (DEFRA), my husband and Simon who continue to farm food for us to eat with all lightess and to leave space for wildlife and nature with all care.
It was a weekend for which I felt full of gratitude, which inspired curiosity, and reminded me that that none of us ever stop learning. Living here, looking both backwards and forwards, it is important not just to say the words but to live by them too.
I think all the beloved dogs would say “This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.”
We will share highlights on social media – I hope you will enjoy them! Ps much gratitude to God for the amazing weather! Thank you.
Gratitude is the right word, thank for sharing. (love the dogs).
I came all the way from Lockerbie as an RAF veteran and award winning scientist of 74, and Patron of Pedro Toth club because one of Patrons died of Covid 19 this year who could not share the day. Immensely proud of the day and my two day journey thanks to Journey care managers who took me through to Reading or I would have been stranded as my train was cancelled. Everyone assisted me in the tour of Highclere as I had travelled down the night before especially to rehabilitate and gain confidence. Thank you all. Pauline Badger MSc.
So glad you remembered to thank our Father God! He graciously made the whole day possible!
Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your weekly updates. I love the dogs!!
Looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing. We hope to visit next summer.
Inspirational post reminding us of the importance of gratitude. Thanks for the history of the area and the description of the event. Wonderful photos, especially the last one of the dogs. They look to be characters, every one of them!
Yes, they are all different in character!
Amazing weekend of celebrations. I enjoyed every minute via your descriptions. Thank you
Lady Carnarvon, days never to forget and always to be remembered with love and appreciation. Cheryl.
Thank you for your inspiring words today. Especially appropriate here, as it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
Patricia McClelland Nova Scotia
What a beautiful morning read. Thank you so much for sharing.
I enjoyed this blog post immensely – and thanks for including a pic of your gorgeous dogs.
On Saturday night we had a guest who had two Open Heart Surgeries this year. My husband made your glorious walnut, green apples, and red grape salad. It was divine. And we learned that “rocket leaves” are arugula to Americans.
I know we will make this wonderful salad many times. To us it will always be Highclere Salad. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
Another wonderful post; thank you Lady Carnarvon. How might one obtain a high-resolution digital copy of the photo of the castle that is at the top of this post? With thanks and best wishes.
It is off my phone so i am not really sure it is that good!
Your message of gratitude and thankfulness is timely as today we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s a triple measure of gratitude for me as both my first child and first grandchild were born on Thanksgiving weekends…serendipitous to be sure!
I enjoy reading your accounts of life before, life now and life ahead at Highclere and thank you for your own generosity of spirit in sharing.
My turkey is roasting happily away, pies are baked and rolls are rising. It’s an unusually warm day where I am today, more to be thankful for.
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Seasons at Highclere and delight in being able to enjoy the recipes and companionship sharing food brings.
Happy Thanksgiving from Canada
My yoga teacher – Aadil Palkhivala always says that gratitude is the most powerful feeling and we must cultivate it. Warm greetings from Finland 🙂
Thank you for supporting the military. In my hometown of Corona in Southern California, we just hosted the 3/4 replica provided by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund of the Vietnam wall in Washington, DC. I had the privilege of volunteering to assist visitors in finding names on the wall (over 58, 000). It was an honor to meet some veterans who still shed tears over the loss of their comrades in arms. Thank you again for what you are doing for servicemembers.
Thank you so much for this.
Happy Thanksgiving Canada
Kathleen from Ontario Canada.
Thank you so much for your beautiful stories of Highclere and for sharing your home with us!! Our visit a few years ago was amazing and looking forward to seeing again when next in England!! Love your dogs!!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon and Lord Carnarvon
Please know that. for many of us who follow your blog, it is the only source of social media to access your blog. So please show as much as you can on the blog.
We look forward to each and every blog.
Catherine Marie Splane
Thank you – it is a website independent of the ebb and flow of social media
Hello Lady Carnarvon
Wow. Sounds like you had a great weekend with many different themes and the weather was perfect.
Two sorry three Questions…………..
Did you fly in Concorde? No I have never flown in it!
Ever visited the TUDOR HOUSE in Southampton? A little gem not many know about.
Ever visited the Titanic exhibition also in Southampton? NOT yet!
Carry on surprising us Highclere with your wonderful stories.
So Grateful your weekend was another successful event and that Mother Nature cooperated as well! Beautiful photos and lovely events. Sorry I couldn’t get across the Pond to attend as we had a wedding to attend here in the states. Thank you again for sharing, grateful for your wonderful Monday Blogs!
Mother nature was very kind!
Enjoyed your blog. It sounded like you had a great day. Love reading and seeing all your photos. Love all your animal photos. Labs are my favorite . My husband and I have had chocolate labs since we have been married 1985. It’s Columbus Day today in the United States
A great day was enjoyed by all!
It is good to take the time for gratitude. Grocery store workers and medical staff during the pandemic, the military, law enforcement. There’s a never ending list. And, you are on that list. Your weekly blog has kept spirits high and an avenue for the mind to travel in those quiet times. Thank you, sincerely.
Thank you Joan
Did any of your labs “star” in DOWNTON ABBEY ?
No my dogs did not appear in Downton Abbey
I will just echo what everyone else has said about how wonderful you and your beloved Highclere .
You define hospitality, I also want to strongly agree with you that we need Sir Winston Churchill as a new “darkest hour” continues, I was privileged to meet his granddaughter and a highlight of my life is shaking her hand and, with tears in my eyes, thanking her grandfather for saving the world.
Thank you! He was a force of nature and now it is being strong and modest for nature
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of gratitude and thank you for send me blog
Did you have a nice weekend and lord Carnarvon and have bought your new book season highcelere castle and lovely to visit highcelere castle
The new book is excellent and lovely cooking
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of gratitude and lovely to visit highcelere castle
and you and lord Carnarvon have a lovely weekend and bought your book the season of highcelere castle and the book is excellent and lots of nice recipes to cooking
Well well well we came on the 9th of October wow what a fabulous day cannot believe how good it was inside and out you must be so proud of yourselves to have such a beautiful place and how you work it so people can enjoy your good fortune well done to you and all your staff absolutely magnificent going to come again with the rest of family so impressed well done to all Highclare castle love and best wishes from Peter and Annette xxx❤️
Thank you – I think everyone enjoyed the Festival
A drizzly morning started off with coffee and another read of a special event at your lovely castle. What wonderful and selfless ways to help veterans who are so often overlooked and under appreciated. And how thoughtful to help those who are having a difficult time helping themselves get started on their life’s road. They are so blessed by the stewardship shown by you and your family and the super Highclere Team!!
Thank you once again for being so giving,
Thank you for sharing that beautiful grace: “For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful and keep us always mindful of the needs of others.”
It will go up on my refrigerator next to Matthew 25: 34-40.
What a wonderful, interesting and meaningful read this blog has been today!
Thank you so much. Although I came to your brilliant ‘Movie’ weekend, I so wish I had been there for this event too. You are right…gratitude is inspiring and even a little of it every day might make a difference.
Best wishes to you and your Team.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Every Monday you fill your blog with the most important, heartwarming, vital and fun topics. This one, though, particularly embraces much of what is most important- looking back to learn and looking forward to improve. We must heal and be keenly aware of being good stewards of the land and of each other. The photographs are stunning, as is your description of all that took place over the weekend.
And, of course, the dogs and piglet reminds us of the 4-legged joys!!
Thank you so much. I love the beautiful grace of thanksgiving- we say thanks before every dinner, but I truly love the all encompassing aspect of yours.
Be well, and thank you for your inspiration.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Do you really have NINE dogs? and YES Happy Thanksgiving. We hope to visit Highclere some day when this covid thing settles down. Cheers
Only 8 but a relative of the puppies came for a walk too
That is such a beautiful blog, thank you !
I am glad to have a contact point for SSAFA. I live in America where there is a great deal of support for veterans from the public, but as I am English I would like to support British veterans.
The Little piggy is charming, but I wonder if it will be like my own fowls and animals who were going to make us self supporting , but became elderly pets instead?
I envy your dogs. The family will not let me have any more dogs until I have fewer rescue cats! I keep hoping a stray dog will wander , unclaimed, of course, into my garden. I leave the gate open, just in case!
Thank you for a lovely update, I enjoyed it greatly.
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of gratitude and l am fan of Downton abbey calendars and l get it at for Christmas presents and lam looking forward to seeing new Downton abbey film at the cinemas when it out
Ta v much Lady C,
I always pray for the deceased when I walk up from the village to the cemetery, friends and your own ancestors alike.
Greetings from Santa Barbara, California. I want to say how much I enjoy reading this blog. I have told my sister about it and she also now reads it.
When we were seventeen, my sister and I lived in the midlands of England and went to school there for a semester. We lived in Duffield, which is not too far from Derbyshire. It was a fabulous experience. Your blog brings back wonderful memories of the landscape and how beautiful it is. We both look forward to each post.
Thank you !
So much enjoyed reading the background of Highclere -the past memories are beautiful and give an idea of just what is ahead! The entire article was just delightful – enchanting – and memorable. What a wonderful weekend. Nothing left out. And there were your dogs! Love’em.
Stay well – continue your wonderful work at Highclere, Hopefully I will be there one day to see it all with my own eyes. So so so “special”. You are a wonderful writer – leave nothing to the imagination.
Stay well – continue the “good” work.
Sounds like a lovely weekend. Would love to come next year as one of the speakers, the book Churchill: A Drinking Life, Champagne, Cognac and Cocktails will come out next spring as a lovely little hardcover gift book. Of course we give a big nod of approval to your delicious High Clere Gin in the book and the many hunting weekends Churchill had with your husband’s grandfather. Waving hello from California!
Jennifer Basye Sander
Such a grand weekend. It was full of many good things, people, events and animals. Most of all it was full of insight. Your post made my day.
Thank you Nancy
An inspirational blog post – thank you.
So happy that the Festival had sunshine and a nice gathering at Highclere. How the Covid virus and the lockdowns, quarantines, have made us thankful for finally being able to enjoy friends and gathering, and events like yours. We appreciate all this , all the more now. Glad that here in Greece we have held all the cold, grey, rain and drizzle for days on end, so that Britain and Europe could have a such a nice sunny weekend! 🙂
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your Monday blog, colorful pictures, and sharing your thoughts about being grateful.
I am glad that everything went well for you and everyone at Highclere this past weekend while attending and participating in the festival. Will look for the online sharing of this event.
Until next week, may you have continued success.
Dear Lady C.,
Such a delightful tribute to Gratitude!
Thank for your messages every Monday,
This one, especially, lifted my day.
May we all be thankful to our troops who served so valiantly.
Your dogs are precious.
We had the most amazing day at Highcleere on Saturday from looking around the castle and Egyptology exhibition, wonderful champagne picnic, chatting to many varied members of your staff, quick chat with Churchill, very interesting talk by Paul at the airman memorial and of course meeting you and your husband at the book signing. We have often sat in the adjoining field listening to the Battle Proms looking at Higncleere Castle and wanting to visit so this weekend we made it!
Linda and Gary Hampson
Thank you so much for visiting!