On Thursday 13th. October we spurned the hospitality of the Cams Hall Golf Club for the historic and rural delights of Foxlease, a Girl Guiding Training and Activities Centre near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. It is not normally open to the public so it was an opportunity not to be missed.
The journey was a very pleasant drive through the forest in Autumn sunshine. On arrival, we had coffee in a beautiful Georgian room with tall windows, mirrors. chandeliers, an Adam fireplace, and gilded ornate plasterwork. A splendid example of Strawberry Hill Gothic.Foxlease’s historian, Dr Deborah Lafferty gave us a comprehensive and interesting history of the house and showed us examples of the Tudor, Georgian and Edwardian modifications and additions to the original 16th. century cottage.
Armar Deyrolles Saunderson, the son of an Ulster Unionist MP, had the good sense to marry a rich American heiress Anne Archbold which allowed them to greatly expand and modernise Foxlease to the estate as seen today. Anne Saunderson was introduced to Guiding and became a local commissioner. Unfortunately, the marriage failed after the First World war and she left for the US with her children but, in 1922, she donated the house and grounds in Trust to the Girl Guides Association. They have been using it since as a training centre, a home for all members of the Guiding family worldwide, and accommodation for conferences and camps.
Foxlease provided us with a very good buffet lunch with a wide variety of choices and generous helpings!
Altogether we had a lovely day out and we are grateful to Pam for enabling and organising it.
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