Dashwood Family Mausoleum readyclickandgo

Every visitor to West Wycombe knows about the mystical Hell Fire caves, the place where myth and reality are so entangled that you can’t separate facts from legend. The legend said after the local harvest failed Sir Francis Dashwood decided to give jobs to the local community and build a road from High to West Wycombe by excavating caves on his estate. Many of his contemporaries were building estates, temples, landscape gardens above the ground but no one ventured underground.

The excavated chalk was used to build a road from West to High Wycombe which stretches along a thin line and is still in use today. Above the Hell Fire Caves there is an imposing mausoleum or private burial ground dedicated to the deceased members of the Dashwood family. The Mausoleum was built in 1765 from the local Portland stone and flint.

Not far from the Mausoleum there is a famous landmark, St Lawrence’s Church, which was originally built in the XIV century and refurbished in 1752 by Sir Francis Dashwood.  The church is famous for its golden balls which are copies of those at the custom house in Venice. In the Chancel there is a striking Last Supper painting by Giovanni Borgnis who was brought over from Italy to work on the Church as well as the Manor House. The views from the top of the church are magnificent and if you are given chance to climb to the top – don’t miss it. It well worth £2! The tower is 80 meters high and there are over 100 steps but you will pass 8 fantastic church bells which are made in Germany and they are still in use today.

During the winter time you’ll probably catch a glimpse of the elegant yellow manor house,  the creation of the 2nd Baronet in the 18th centuryand home to the Dashwood family. The house which lies in 45 acres of landscaped parkland is regularly featured in movies such as Downton Abbey, The Duchess and Pride and Predujce. The park around the house is like an openair art gallery featuring statues and temples, inspired by Sir Francis Dashwood’s travels through Europe and the Ottoman Empire.  The most impressive is the Temple of Music set on an island in the lake created from the River Wye in the form of a Swan and inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Rome.

Once you finish exploring all the achievements of the Dashwoods you can take a break in the village itself which is part of the National Trust. The houses are well preserved and walking along the main road is like walking back into the rich past of the area with several small independent pubs with gardens, sweet shops and galleries. The West Wycombe is an excellent place for family outing.

 

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About the author: Tara

 

The travel professional with years of experience in the travel industry – in guiding, reservations, operations, contracting, customer service and product development – and have travelled extensively in Asia and Eastern Europe not just on holiday but also for work, inspecting hotels, visiting attractions and seeing exactly what each destination has to offer. The only way I could do this properly was with my own guide, car and driver and this inspired me to create my own range of customised private day tours for other people to be able to explore in-depth and learn to love their destination as much as I do.

Website: www.readyclickandgo.com