06 November 2010

AIR-thig



Erddig, pronounced AIR-thig, was designed by Thomas Webb and built between 1684 and 1687. The wings were added in the 1720s, when the fa├žade was faced with stone. This is quite severe, but provides a superb contrast to the rich Queen Anne brickwork of the rear of the building.



The house remained in the hands of the Yorke family from 1733 right through to 1973. The Yorkes were early adopters of self-sufficiency, and in many ways the most interesting aspect of Erddig is the extensive range of estates facilities. A steam engine drives a sawmill along with a mill designed to mix materials for brick-making and mortar production.


The extensive walled garden, sectioned by stunning avenues of pleached limes, is full of espaliered fruit trees. 173 varieties of apple are grown here. In the park, landscaped by William Eames between 1768 and 1789, is the 'Cup and Saucer,' which provides a fall of water from the Black Brook sufficient to drive an hydraulic ram pump that raises drinking water to the house.


The Yorkes also kept everything, so the National Trust acquired a house complete with its furniture, and coach houses boasting means of transport through the ages. Amongst these is the second Austin 12 seen recently (see Return to GBZ), this one a 1927 Tourer, and a 1907 Rover.

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