On Wednesday 6th August the Ladies Fellowship had their annual outing and the venue this time was Melbourne Hall and Gardens, on what turned out to be a very sunny afternoon. After the short journey there a pleasant lunch was enjoyed in the restaurant before a guided tour round the hall where the guide gave them a potted history of the building.
Originally a rectory for the Norman Parish Church, it became the home of Sir John Coke in 1628 and has been inherited by subsequent members of the family to the present day and is now home to Lord and Lady Ralph Kerr and their young family. Melbourne Hall, as it stands today, shows what Sir John's descendants have made of it. The family surname has changed three times due to inheritance via the female line.
Later in the afternoon the party enjoyed a walk, or ride in a wheelchair, round the extensive gardens. The Gardens were planned by Rt. Hon. Thomas Coke in the early part of the 18th century. The colourful and tranquil garden has been imaginatively updated with some new planting by Lady Ralph Kerr, and then also captured in oil on canvas and sketches in fine detail by Lady Ralph Kerr.
The gardens are designed with paths allowing easy access, and intersected by streams that flow through the grounds underneath miniature bridges and through the lush flower beds.
Thanks must go to Hilary for organising the outing, and to her, together with Ann, Alan and Maureen for driving the ladies to Melbourne.