Particulars of Foxup Manor
This beautiful house, which dates from the mid 19th century, was the country home of the Julian family. Sir Henry Julian, the 8th Lord Aberavon died in 1968, without leaving an heir. The house passed to the state in settlement of Estate Duty. It was bought by an Arab sheikh, who loved it for the scenery and seclusion that it gave him. The only changes that he made were the modern alarm system and new study bedroom.
Each of the bedrooms has its own story to tell, but you can really only appreciate it by looking around, or ideally staying, in it. I shall just give you a few of the many stories told about the different rooms.
The York Room was the favourite of Sir Julian Julian, the Second Lord Aberavon. He was a real eccentric who never married, but loved to entertain the young maids in this room, much to the chagrin of his mother, the Dowager Lady Clarissa Aberavon. It is said that the sounds of girlish giggles can still be heard in the still of the night. By tradition the clergy never stay in this room.
The Halifax Room used to be the small entertaining room next to the master’s bedroom. It was only converted into a separate bedroom in the 1960’s. An original Stubbs “Sir Jasper” hangs on the north wall.
The Leeds Room was the prime guestroom of the Julian family. In 1844 it was used by the young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when they were guests of the Julians. They stayed overnight on their way north to Holyrood House for a holiday.
The Bradford Room is of interest for its collection of oriental knives and daggers, amassed by Sir Godfrey Julian, the fifth Lord Aberavon. The room was traditionally used by the eldest son of the household, with all eight Lord Aberavons having used it.
The other bedrooms were originally servants’ bedrooms and were sub-divided. There was room for a butler, housekeeper, cook, six footmen and eight chambermaids. The area currently occupied by the bathroom in the Baldwin room was originally a secret room put there by Sir Percy Julian, the sixth Lord, who used it to hide from his creditors after he lost a fortune gambling.
The Large Lounge was the main entertaining room, used for all the family entertaining. The Metson Grand Piano dates from 1820. It has been played by many famous musicians when the Julians held their renowned soirees. Lady Annabel Julian, daughter of the fourth Lord Aberavon was an accomplished pianist who played before the ageing Queen Victoria at the opening of the Albert Hall in London. The fire screens are Chinese, the heavy stone desk lamp is Russian and the pair of swords over the fireplace is Arabian. The fifth Lord Aberavon claimed that they were execution swords that have been used.
The Small Lounge was the family’s room, containing many photographs and mementoes of trips abroad. Paintings of family members hang all around the walls. Only the second Lord, Sir Julian Julian is missing from the group. He refused to have his portrait painted; claiming that artists stole the souls of their subjects.
The Study Bedroom was originally the Estate Office.
The Dining Room is of interest for the Chippendale table and sideboard, the Mesk chairs and Spode Crockery. The family used the crockery up to the death of the eighth Lord.
The Garden is south-facing and offers one of the finest features of the house. The Rose Garden, surrounded on three sides by high hedges is a haven of tranquillity and colour for most of the year. In winter the evergreen hedge with red berries provides a backdrop of colour. Spring sees the prelude, when all manner of bulbs bloom in front of the rose bushes, while summer brings out the main course of colour from the roses. In autumn, dahlias and chrysanthemums complete the feast. In the centre of the roses is a fountain with a statue of Eros. Well worth an afternoon with a good book, with only the sheep in the lower fields to see you. Or why not spend an hour or two in the Orangery looking out over the lawns. For the more energetic there is the tennis court, originally grass, but now converted to an all weather surface. If that is too much, there is always croquet in the lower garden.
The Garage was a stable block for up to four horses, a carriage and jaunting cart. All this has been cleared away to give us room for six cars. The Victoriana Museum in York has two carriages that came from Foxup Manor.
In the event of fire / emergency
Foxup Manor has been fitted with the latest emergency technology to cater for anything from fire to terrorist attack. Throughout the downstairs are a series of push – button panic alarms and upstairs are “break-glass” fire alarms. These are all linked together. When activated they ring alarms throughout the house.
The introduction of the highly sensitive fire alarms precludes the use of any form of naked flame. The Manor is fitted with electric cooking and oil-fired radiators. The boiler is situated in the garage so that the pilot light will not set off the alarms. The owner has also had to introduce a complete ban on smoking. He believes this provides a much healthier atmosphere. If you wish to smoke please go out into the grounds, as the no smoking rule is strictly applied.
Mather and Mather
1 Cockspur Park