Canons Ashby, Northants

Canons Ashby, a rambling Elizabethan manor house in deepest rural Northamptonshire, is just close enough to where we live, to make it a suitable place for a Sunday afternoon jaunt. It’s been almost two years since the last time we went (I wrote about it on Mostly Motley at the time, so if you want to know a bit more about the house, do click here).

Inside the courtyard.

Inside the courtyard. Don’t you wish those walls could talk…

It was clear from our previous visit, that the gardens were being worked on, and I was keen to know how they were coming along, so last weekend, we dodged the showers for a quick afternoon stroll around the grounds, followed by afternoon tea.

A glimpse through the trees of the church connected with Canons Ashby's monastic past.

A glimpse through the trees to the church connected with Canons Ashby’s monastic past.

Canons Ashby is the sort of place to visit when you need to unwind, to slow down and relax. It somehow manages to help me breathe, as if it gives you permission to take time out of the present stresses and step back into a peaceful time-warp.

One of the house's many faces.

One of the house’s many faces.


One of the things I like most about the house, is the gateways and doorways – liminal places, promising enchantment.

For me, it’s a portal – a place where it’s very easy to let your mind slip you back through the centuries. I don’t think I’d bat an eye-lid if I saw people bustling about in seventeenth century costume, or cooks were preparing a feast in the Elizabethan kitchen, or  ladies in wide dresses were fanning themselves provocatively in the gardens. It’s a house where the imagination happily conjures the past. IMAG1744 IMAG1745 IMAG1747 I wasn’t disappointed with the progress on the gardens. As I’d thought from our last trip, it’s being done gradually, with taste. It manages to feel like an old-established garden, not an instant construction, which fits well with the atmosphere of the house – they both sit gently in the countryside. IMAG1751 IMAG1755 IMAG1760 I wonder if membership of the National Trust should be prescribed on the NHS for soothing battered nerves. If it was, Canons Ashby would be up there at the top of the list of tranquil places. If your spirit needs a little TLC, it’s a good place to find it.

For more information…

This is the National Trust visitor site with all the opening times, prices etc. We had a short visit this time, but next time I go, I hope to find out more about the secret masonic chamber – see the news article here. And who knows, one day, when the girlies have flown the nest, I might persuade the Other Half to book us into the Tower for a few nights.


4 thoughts on “Canons Ashby, Northants

    • Anny says:

      I had the pleasure of staying at Castle Ashby once after one of those corporate entertaining events – it was lovely, but what I remember most was that the room I had was enormous – getting on for the size of my little house at that time – I spent a lot of time luxuriating in the bathroom!

      I think you’d like Canons Ashby, it feels lived in.

  1. theresagreen says:

    I’d never heard of Canon’s Ashby & I was born and raised in deepest rural Northamptonshire. Looks lovely. I think you should write to your MP about the National trust prescription – sounds like a plan.

    • Anny says:

      I’ve sometimes thought that if I was ever going to write a book, it’s the sort of place I’d like to squirrel myself away in to do it – it has a really peaceful but also down to earth feeling.

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