Canons Ashby is a mixture of architectural styles, lovingly yet pragmatically maintained by generations of the same family, the Drydens. The charmingly irregular, toffee-coloured buildings set in a modestly sized but beautifully maintained garden give a sepia-toned view of a life of rural practicality.
However, for all the family’s love of the place, like so many other country houses, Canons Ashby fell into disrepair. Its rescue in the 1980s, spearheaded by the National Trust’s Architectural Adviser Gervase Jackson-Stops, broke new ground, and its subsequent restoration is testament to the care and fondness Canons Ashby continues to inspire.
This richly illustrated guidebook tells the story of how Canons Ashby was first rescued from ruin following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, through its conversion to a country house by the Copes and its subsequent modifications by generations of Drydens to its present appearance. The many phases of the building and layers of decoration reveal a fascinating account of centuries of lives lived in rural Northamptonshire.
About the author: Andrew Barber is a freelance historic buildings consultant and author, recently retired after 33 years as a curator for the National Trust in the East Midlands. He has written guidebooks for Packwood House, Gunby Hall and Calke Abbey as well as Canons Ashby.
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