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“The Story of Henry Dryden”
Review of Canons Ashby

Canons Ashby
Ranked #1 of 19 things to do in Daventry
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 4 May 2014

As one progresses through this wonderful old house a story is told of one of the owners.Sir Henry Dryden was 19 when he inherited his ancestral home and 2,500 acre estate in 1837.

The beautiful gardens are an added attraction.

20 minute wait for a sandwich which had to be ordered and brought to our table was excessive I thought and I overheard others complaining. The sandwich was tasty and fresh but if you don't want to wait, order a cream tea which you can take with you.

A thoroughly enjoyable day.

Thank Micci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"national trust"
in 88 reviews
"tea room"
in 59 reviews
"second hand bookshop"
in 22 reviews
"priory church"
in 23 reviews
"dryden family"
in 23 reviews
"car park"
in 43 reviews
"interesting house"
in 24 reviews
"room guides"
in 11 reviews
"vegetable garden"
in 7 reviews
"house opens"
in 6 reviews
"beautiful gardens"
in 22 reviews
"knowledgeable volunteers"
in 5 reviews
"interesting history"
in 15 reviews
"drawing room"
in 5 reviews
"old house"
in 10 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 25 reviews
"nt properties"
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357 - 361 of 469 reviews

Reviewed 4 May 2014

Canons Ashby is a quite delightful National Trust property. It is hidden away in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, a few miles south of Daventry and south-west of Northampton itself. This house is not a typical stately home because it is smaller than most and much more of a family home. It is set in a recently restored formal garden within a 2,500 acre estate.

The house and estate were inherited by Sir Henry Dryden in 1837 when he was only nineteen and a student at Cambridge. The estate was in debt and the house had not been updated for more than 100 years. He made the decision not to marry and start a family until all debts had been cleared. It was almost 30 years later that he found himself in a position to marry. His wife, the former Frances Tredcroft, was 42 whilst Sir Henry was five years older. Their marriage was blessed with one child, not the longed-for son to inherit, but a daughter named Alice. Alice's favourite hobby was photography and we have her to thank for the extensive collection of contemporary photographs of the house, estate and surrounding villages. These are on display in albums within the house along with a number of interesting family photographs. Visitors are able to visit Alice's own dark room in the cellars.

The volunteer guides positioned in various rooms within the house are extremely knowledgeable and it is wise to ask them if you have any queries. There are also information sheets for visitors to read in every room. A brief guide is also handed out to all at the entrance. Strangely, there are no bathrooms in this house so water had to be carried upstairs for bathing from the kitchen.

Since the National Trust took over responsibility for Canons Ashby, extraordinary Elizabethan wall paintings have been discovered under the 18th century panelling. This was as late as the 1980s. These are on show in several rooms.

The 1881 census lists only four servants. Louise Woodford was the cook and most senior. There were three others - Emily Carter the kitchen maid, Hannah Staunton the parlour maid and Maria Cox the laundry maid. You can visit their bedrooms, the kitchen and the servants' dining room.

Do allow yourself plenty of time to stroll in the magnificent formal garden, complete with its own croquet lawn, and then to cross the road (beware of traffic coming around the bend to your right) to the Priory Church of St. Mary. The Dryden memorials are within the church as is a model of the entire estate.

The tea rooms and gift shop are also well worth a visit. A buggy is available to transport visitors from the car park to the house if necessary but the walk is not too far.

This is a delightful property which my husband and I will certainly visit again. I recommend it to others.

2  Thank jilllovescricket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We stopped here for lunch on our way home from a weekend away. As National Trust members this was free to us, but obviously there is a charge to non-members, but it is well worth it. We had a lovely lunch (even given the recipe for my vegetarian pie) and then wandered around the beautifully recreated garden, reading the historical facts along the way. Inside the house is charming and knowing the names of the servants and understanding their lives makes it all very real. The guides are phenomenally friendly and knowledgeable and the house and it's inhabitants and history is brought to life wonderfully well. We went on to the church to learn more about Canons abbey's history and heritage. Do go. It is a lovely day out.

1  Thank xxxxx04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

Whilst the House is of interest, in terms of its historical evolution and development, the jewell is the Tea Room! We chose the Cheese Trencher for two…and what a small feast we had! Presented on a large 'silver' salver, the visual display was impressive enough: selection of bread rolls, home-made chutney and coleslaw, apples, grapes, strawberries, ample chunks of stilton and mature cheddar, pickled onions, celery sticks and a generous selection of chopped salad. A delicious lunch that more than set us up for the rest of the day!

Thank Iain K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 April 2014

Love this quirky place! Definitely recommend the guided 'taster tour' very informative. All the guides are knowledgeable and welcoming. Great cake in the tearooms too.

Thank dawn r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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