I visited Boynton Hall during my year long study abroad as an English Speaking Union Scholarship recipient to Wrekin College, in Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, during the academic year 1974/1975.
At that time an architect, Mr Cooke and his wife were the owners of Boynton Hall. I had written to Mr. Cooke prior to my visiting the Hall at the suggestion of my elderly cousin who had visited the home some years previously and made the acquaintance of the Cookes.
At the time of my visit the Hall had been sectioned off in order to maintain a residence as well as a flat or two. Mr. Cooke graciously toured me throughout the house showing me the secret passageway, as well as the upper level bed chamber in which Queen Henrietta Maria - Charles I wife - was reputed to have spent one night on her way to enlist her cousin's - Louis XIV - aid in the defense of Charles's throne from Cromwellian troops. Framed and hanging beside the door in the hallway was the large room key which had previously been removed from the house, but later returned as a jesture of goodwill.
Mr. Cooke was also kind enough to demonstrate how he and Mrs. Cooke painstakingly removed each ceiling decoration piece by piece in order to hand wash and rinse each. Mr. Cooke would disassemble the plaster coated lead flowers and leaves of the ceiling surround and hand each to his wife to wash and rinse in order to properly replace each piece in its proper place before removing the next.
If memory serves me - I want to say that when Mr. Cooke showed me the secret passageway that he also showed to me ancient foundations which were said to be Roman.
Also, of interest was the turkey lectern found in St. Andrew's Church on the grounds.
Matthew S. Quarles
113 Pintail Lane
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
November 29, 2008
A memory shared byon Nov 29th, 2008.
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