Hounds, History & Historic Houses Following in the paw prints of poets and princes.

Going for walks is one of my favourite things, as well as pointing at rabbits and chewing slippers. This summer I have been enjoying visiting some of the Isle of Wight's historical homes to follow in the steps of hounds in history whilst my fur mum was researching for her new children's book set at Osborne House during the reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 'On the Trail of the Queen's Jewels' .

Luckily for dog owners they can walk pooches in selected areas of the grounds of Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle and Yarmouth Castle. The only just opened newly renovated and restored Grade 1 listed house 'Farringford', home of Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson at Freshwater Bay, also welcomes dog's in its grounds with stunning views across the West Wight.

Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle and Yarmouth Castle are all under the stewardship of English Heritage with access for people and hounds who can enjoy some lovely walks around their grounds. Whilst I made the most of my time sniffing outside on our visits my fur mum spent time learning about some of their historical inhabitants including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Charles I and Henry VIII.

She was very excited to see that throughout Osborne there are plenty of portraits and statues of dogs in history showing how important pets were to the Royal family. There is even a children's trail through the house 'A Noble Quest' following clues to find the Queen's gloves lost by one of her favourite dogs 'Noble' for young visitors to enjoy.

Although there are no portraits held at Yarmouth Castle dogs were also a key part of Henry VIII's court. His favourite breeds were beagles, spaniels and greyhounds especially the latter which were considered a particularly noble breed. It was during the Tudor reign that little spaniels became very fashionable as Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I chose these as their pets. They became increasingly popular because the ladies of the court were allowed lapdogs.

Farringford has only just opened this August after an extensive and meticulous renovation to put the house back to its former Victorian glory. My fur mom was extremely excited to be amongst the first visitors to walk around the home of eminent poet Alfred Lord Tennyson and his family as it would have been at the time he lived there. The house has a formal walled garden and 11 rooms open to visit with walks around the grounds. While dogs can enjoy a walk outside owners can pre book a small group audio tour for a fascinating insight into this Victorian poet's life. Many of the reproduction portraits feature dogs and there is even a sketch in the school room of one of the family pets. I can now understand why my fur mum decided to feature me in her children's book illustrations because dogs obviously make fantastic models!

To find out more about my fur mom, Marianne Su Yin, and her children's books set in history visit www.mariannesuyin.co.uk

To visit Osborne, Carisbrooke Castle and Yarmouth Castle go to www.english-heritage.org.uk

To book a visit to Farringford go to www.farringford.co.uk

Spike the Vizsla

31 August 2017

By Spike the Vizsla in The locals' blogs