07 March 2018 | Your Stories
Hidden in its own valley down a winding mud track, Owlpen Manor is not a place for articulated lorries. Yet last March a fleet of white trucks descended on this tranquil corner of the Cotswolds, bringing with them the production crew and equipment for Phantom Thread, Daniel Day-Lewis’s final, and Oscar-nominated, film.
“We were chosen not because of any practicalities – there weren’t any – but because Daniel came to the house and loved it,” explains Hugo Mander, who grew up at Owlpen, near Stroud, and now runs the estate on behalf of his parents, Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander. Day-Lewis “had a sort of meeting of minds with my father – they chatted about old houses and poetry. I think he knew immediately that his character would live in a place like this.”
Owlpen, which dates from 1450, has captured the imaginations of countless writers and poets over the years. It lay abandoned from 1815 until the early 20th century, when it fell into the sympathetic hands of Arts and Crafts architect and artisan Norman Jewson, and as a result has changed remarkably little in appearance since the 17th century.
“Tudor houses like Owlpen became farm houses, which is why they survived,” Sir Nicholas explains. “My theory is that these early houses are more adaptable… you don’t need an army of servants to run them.”
Owlpen featured in Phantom Thread as Day-Lewis’s character Reynolds Woodcock’s countryside retreat. The wonky east front might resemble an archetypal Cotswolds farmhouse, the south front, with mullioned windows, string courses, gabled bays and stone owl finials, presents a far grander house. The gardens, with enormous yews and terraces edged with box, are thought to be Britain’s earliest domestic gardens.
Find out about the ghosts that haunt the house, and more by reading the original article from the Telegraph here.
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