Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bassingthorpe Manor House

click photo to enlarge
Legislation dating back to 1947 gives protection to historic buildings in England and Wales. Buildings deemed suitable are added to one of three graded lists, thereby becoming "listed". Grade I applies to buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest. Grade II* is for particularly significant buildings of more than local interest. Grade II applies to buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Though it is mainly buildings that are listed, monuments, bridges, piers, milestones and other structures can also receive this designation. England and Wales currently have about 442,000 listed buildings and structures of which 418,000 are Grade II, 18,000 are Grade II* (starred), and 6,000 are Grade I. Examples of the latter, the highest category of listing, are the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, York Minster, Windsor Castle, Manchester Town Hall, the Natural History Museum, and the building shown in today's photograph, Bassingthorpe Manor House, Lincolnshire.

The reason for this relatively small, provincial building receiving the highest grade is because of the advanced quality of its architectural design for which there are no known parallels. What we see today is a fragment, probably the parlour block, added to an older and larger house. The building carries the date 1568 at the top of its west gable, and positively bristles with architectural details that were to become more widespread only later in the Elizabethan period. It was built for Sir Thomas Cony, a notable wool merchant who, as well as adding this extension to the older property left to him by his father, funded repairs and alterations to the medieval church that stands next to the house.

I took my photograph from the churchyard, and placed a group of thin, slate gravestones in the right foreground as a visual counterweight to the house on the left. A black and white treatment seemed to suit the subject better than the original colour.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 13mm (26mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On