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Basing House, situated outside the modern town of Basingstoke, Hampshire, used to be as big and significant as Hampton Court in Tudor times. The older part of the two linked houses was built by Sir William Paulet, first Marquess of Winchester and Lord Treasurer of England in 1535, on the top of the remains of the 12th Century bank and defensive ditches of a castle. The newer of the two houses linked to the older one by means of a bridge and gateway through the defences. Together the houses had five storeys and 360 rooms and was visited by many Monarchs including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary I and her husband Philip II of Spain who spent their honeymoon there.
Before you all dash off to book a room, sadly during the Civil War the house was attacked three times by Parliamentary troops and in the August of 1645 the walls were surrounded by 800 men. The garrison held out until Oliver Cromwell arrived with the heavy artillery and breached the walls in October.
Nowadays only the foundations and earthworks survive and it's the archaeology that brings it all to life.
|There's a delightful walk from the car park along the river and under the viaduct. This sign was unusual - it superimposed the house on the countryside to show what the view would have looked like.|
|This Great Barn is one of the largest of it's kind in England and is the only Tudor building to have survived at Basing House. It was used to store corn and barley.|
|The visitor centre has a model of Basing House to give an idea of what used to be there.|
|Inside the Great Barn you are treated to an audio and light presentation to help you imagine the battle that took place there in 1643.|
Following the path through the farm buildings, you cross a modern road lined with delightful old houses and enter through the gateway to Basing House itself.
|Entrance to Basing House|
|Lego models of the two linked houses|
|Artefacts discovered on the site|
|Within the old house on the bank you can see the wells and where the walls were breached.|
Here's the website with more information and photos of the area. This is another place bursting with history. The noise of royal bustle and revelry and of battle cries have been replaced by a gentle peace and quiet punctuated by the sound of cars in the distance.