National Trust mansion The Vyne in Hampshire has re-opened, following a £5.4m project to save its roof
Visitors can now explore the untold story of Caroline Wiggett and William Wiggett Chute – the siblings linked to its survival.
The Vyne was once a great Tudor ‘powerhouse’, which later became the Chute family home for more than 350 years. It is very unlikely that it would have existed today had William not carried out extensive repairs. When he moved into The Vyne in 1842, he found the house in disrepair and in need of a new roof. He took on a huge project at great cost and sacrifice, which arguably preserved the historic mansion for visitors to enjoy today. Caroline left memoirs which offer an exclusive insight into life at The Vyne in the 19th Century.
Newly presented rooms and collections draw you into the house’s past, mirroring charming 19th-century watercolours painted by members of the family.
A water colour painted by the family in 1877. © National Trust Images/Karen Legg
Spaces previously closed to visitors have been opened up to host a snapshot of The Vyne’s huge roof project. Visitors can watch bird’s-eye-view drone footage, and learn how over 3,000 precious items were protected.
There’s a chance to watch live conservation on a grand scale too, as The Vyne’s entire library of 2,419 books is restored to its shelves. The six-month project involves cleaning and photographing any finds, from intimate margin scribblings to personal letters. These will then be shared with visitors as they are discovered.
In a new installation coming soon, The Vyne’s intimate Tapestry Room will tell the story of its magnificent 18th-century Soho tapestries, which are undergoing urgent conservation treatment. In this darkened space, projected images will highlight beautiful scenes from the rare textiles. Visitors can find out how they can be part of an ambitious plan to help save them.
Later in the year, a new ‘below stairs’ experience opens in the Servants’ Quarters, inspired by personal family memoirs. With extra dates to be announced in 2019, previously out of bounds spaces are revealed, on ‘behind the scenes’ tours, taking you into The Vyne’s atmospheric cellars, attics, and onto the newly restored roof.
A mix of architectural styles, The Vyne still contains several extraordinary Tudor interiors, including an early 16th-century chapel – one of the last surviving pre-Reformation chapels in Britain. The chapel contains stained glass described as being amongst the most beautiful in Europe and famous for its jewel-like clarity.
As well as the chapel, The Vyne also houses the impressive Tudor oak gallery. It is covered in wooden panels depicting the emblems of powerful Tudor personalities, from Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, to Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More.
In the centre of the house is a rare, nationally renowned, Palladian staircase hall designed in the 18th Century by John Chute.