The first time I went to Minster Lovell Hall, some years back, I thought the inhabitants of Minster Lovell were victims of a collective hallucination when they kept pointing me in a direction that led me to a church when I was asking them for the ruins of a large manor house built in the 1400s by William Lovell, one of the richest men in the country, and visited by Richard III.
Determined for it not to be the winter of my discontent, I eventually followed people whose Barbour jackets and heavy boots indicated they were looking for the same thing as me. I smirked when I saw them enter the churchyard like I had previously done but then they didn’t reappear. Oh, so I had to walk through the churchyard! Indeed, behind St Kenelm church, totally invisible from the path, lay the still impressive ruins of Minster Lovell Hall.
Since then, these ruins have been one of my favourite place in the Cotswolds. Ruins remind me of the time that passes and that nothing is stable in the universe, nor in life. Though the house has lost the splendour of ifs past, its remains are still atmospheric and worth a visit. Though the textiles, the crockery, the gold and the wood that it would have contained can no longer be seen, the walls are still standing strong in an imposing presence that refuses to be forgotten. In this respect, Minster Lovell Hall can be compared to a great love from the past. Even if its fire is extinguished, it has left its imprint in someone’s heart.
The beauty of the place is striking, especially seen from the river to have an idea of the scale of the house. To the right, an intact dovecote that belonged to the estate is still standing. In the summer, people picnic by the river Windrush with the hall as a fine-looking backdrop. In the autumn and winter, the place acquires a more ghostly appearance, its quietness broken down by the laughter of a child you cannot see.
I have always thought Minster Lovell would be a perfect place to be proposed to as I find the battle between nature and stones rather romantic. The softness and the prettiness of the greenery bring poise to the harshness and sturdiness of the stones. Like with love, both are incomplete and seem to be looking for this fragile balance that makes a solid couple. For this reason, for me, love emanates from this place and of course, take off the last two ls of Lovell and Love is what remains.