Chastleton House is a great villa that arose from the ashes of the conspiracy to assassinate King James. The conspirators borrowed about a thousand pounds from 4 different men. When the conspiracy was found out, the men were promptly executed, leaving no one to pay the debt. One of the funders of this ill-advised conspiracy agreed to take the estate of one of the conspirators and pay off the other 3 thousand in debt. This man, a lawyer, torn down the house that was there and in its place erected a mansion in honor of… himself.
And a grand mansion it was indeed. Constructed, like much of this part of England, of light brown local stone, it rose over three stories. The grand dining hall was located to impress, being the first room to the right of the main entrance and separated from it only by an ornately carved wooden screen rising some 12-13 feet. Lots of the structure and flooring and some of the furnishing originally from the early 17th century still adorned the mansion.
There are plenty of mysteries about the mansion which fell into a state of disrepair even before the demise of the original owner. Up above the third floor, we could see some of the beams original to the house. Whilst I marveled at the engineering required to lift these heavy, heavy building stones to such a height, I was equally surprised to seen nicely hewn beams joined in ways that robbed them of much of their structural strength. Go figure.
The English National Trust had chosen to preserve the old mansion in a state of disrepair and dishevelment. Perhaps that is most apropos for a mansion with such dastardly origins… most apropos.