It’s immediately apparent when you walk through the front door of Greys Court that this is a stately home with soul. The Brunner family came to Greys Court in 1937 and raised four boys there. You can imagine children running through the halls, and almost hear the echoes of a door slam as they run out into the vast gardens to play.
Set in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, Greys Court can be found at Rotherfield Greys near Henley-on-Thames. Five families have lived at Greys Court since 1066. The current house was built in the Tudor era. Gifted to the National Trust by the Brunner family, Greys Court was properly lived in as a family home until Lady Elizabeth Brunner’s death in 2003.
The most beautiful room may be the drawing room, redesigned in 1765 by Sir Thomas Stapleton for his bride. Bow windows offer stunning views over the gardens, and plasterwork roses, courting doves, bows and arrows on the walls suggest the theme of romantic love. Sheet music is scattered by the piano, and a tea cup sits just above the keyboard, suggesting the player may have simply wandered away for a moment.
The dining room, schoolroom and study gives us further glimpses into the family’s life, and Lord and Lady Brunner’s bedrooms offer a peek into the more personal world of a couple who were clearly devoted to one another.
The huge family style kitchen on the ground floor appears quite modern at first; a vast vintage Aga oven, pink kitchen table and chairs and fabric encircled sinks hark back to the mid twentieth century, but impressive wooden dressers and recycled medieval panelling remind you that this kitchen’s history goes back hundreds of years beyond that.
The gardens are beautiful, and at this time of year they are just beginning to come into their own.
Billows of cherry blossoms hang off the trees, and a myriad of hyacinths bloom in the borders, their scent heavy in the afternoon sunshine.
Daffodils are scattered throughout the grass, and you can walk for hours in the fields surrounding the house. The views over the Chilterns are stunning.
In a few week’s time, the wisteria will come out. I love visiting Greys Court while the wisteria is in bloom.
A place you will want to return to again and again, Greys Court definitely fulfils Lady Brunner’s hope that it would be “…a haven of peace and quietness for those in need…”, where “families can rest for a moment together, away for the pressures of present-day living.”