A small statue of a horse set in a neat box hedge garden welcomes visitors to an arched porch and panelled oak door. This modest entrance conceals the wealth of history and design at Godinton House.
The Dining Room was re-modelled in the 1760's in high Georgian fashion, classically proportioned to make a grand entertaining room. A further step leads to the Great Hall, a magnificent medieval space with huge tie beam and crown post. The essence of Godinton is captured in the contrast of these rooms; an ancient house lived in by the same family for many generations, each adding and embellishing without removing the old.
The exterior is Jacobean, the compass gables added in 1620 by the great Captain Nicholas Toke but, within the house, the architectural puzzle is revealed from room to room. The Library, Chinese Room, White Room and magnificently carved staircase lead to the Great Chamber and Gallery, all revealing their own secrets and wonders, as the house is explored and explained by one of our excellent, enthusiastic guides.
The house contains a good country house collection accumulated by its owners; some ancient pieces have been here for many centuries, including the portraits of the Toke family lining the walls of the Great Hall. The furniture, porcelain, pictures and curios on display, include pieces of the finest quality, Reynolds, Chippendale, Worcester and Sevres mixed with more contemporary items and occasional fakes, some of which date back nearly as far as the originals. Long case clocks gracefully tick and chime away the hours, rays of coloured light from the stained glass Coats of Arms and decoration in the windows illuminate oriental rugs and ancient polished floorboards.
It is a comfortable, much-loved home; each room has a different feel, a contrast on a theme not designed by architect or curator but for the taste and enjoyment of those who lived here and now for those who visit.
The Historic Houses Association represents Britain's historic houses, castles and gardens in private ownership. Please be sure to visit the HHA website.