“If by your art, my dearest father, you have put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.” Not!
I am pretty sure this is what Miranda would have said to her father had she been exiled to Stanway House instead of a desert island. Does this seem random? Well a little maybe, but so is a house whose most ancient parts date form 1630 accommodating the tallest water fountain in Britain since 2004.
Stanway House is a majestic Jacobean house settled in the Cotswolds hills near Broadway. By itself, this lived in stately home is well worth a visit if only for its opulently decorated front room and its impressive bow window. The pièce de résistance however, is found in the terraced gardens in the form of a single jet fountain that shoots out water 300 feet high (91m). It holds the title of tallest fountain in Britain and tallest gravity fountain in the world, no less ladies and gentlemen.
On the day I went, a bunch of wan…derers gathered around this gigantic jet spluttering white water fast and high while emitting some oohs and aahs at its impressive size and prowess. I’m not sure what Freud would say about me having “thoughts” and I’m sure the English were just thinking of England while watching the gigantic squirt but just like high tea and its variety of colourful gâteaux might be considered food porn, I think Stanway House and its fountain deserves the medal for Cotswolds Houses and gardens porn.
After the special treat in the garden, I found myself enjoying the house and its countless treasures guided by an audio tour. I wish I could say I remembered it all very clearly but I always forget facts. What remains after a while is the emotion. There are manors that leave me dry but I remember this one as being warm, interesting and really worth a visit. It is certainly one I would recommend for a taste of the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds may look as if they are made of sleepy villages and houses sitting pretty, looking much the same. Yet, Stanway House holds a unique in the world attraction behind its walls. Being used to the over the top French way of doing things, I love the unassuming flamboyance of this house. There lays its true magic.