6 National Trust places that inspired great people

Sam Weaver is a Media and Communications intern at the National Trust. Over the next few months he will be following the politics of preserving our heritage. Check out last week’s post on High Speed Rail and heritage here.

The National Trust owns and runs several properties, places and things that have inspired a number of great people into making great things.

Here is a list (in no particular order) of those people and the properties/places that inspired them.


1. Chartwell Estate and Winston Churchill

As well as an accomplished statesman and war-winner, Churchill liked to indulge in the arts.

chartwell painting

This painting was sold for £1 million in 2007

Not only was Chartwell Estate the place where he composed most of his paintings, it also became inspiration for him as well.

In 2007, a painting named ‘Chartwell: Landscape with Sheep’ sold for a whopping £1 million in 2007.

Come visit Chartwell where you can see Churchill’s studio and 130 of his paintings on show to the public.



2. ‘ One ring to rule them all’- The Ring that inspired Tolkien

A Roman ring was found in 1785 and then sold to the Chute family, who then brought it to their home, the Vyne in Hampshire.

Inscribed in the ring is:

“Senicianus live well in God”

The ring that may have inspired Tolkien's Hobbit books

The Roman ring with an inscription, similar to Sauron’s ring in Tolkein’s works

Decades after the ring was found, a tablet was found in Lydney in Gloucestershire with a curse inscribed by its owner, Senicianus:

“Among those who bear the name of Senicianus to none grant health until he bring back the ring to the temple of Nodens.”

J.R.R.Tolkien certainly knew the story of the curse and the ring. Before he found fame as an author, Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford  and was researching into the Senicianus ring two years before he began work on The Hobbit.

Come to the Vyne where there is an exhibition of the cursed ring and a Hobbit influenced playground.


3. The most famous tree in science

We all know the famous story of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head. Newton then shouted ‘Eureka!’ as he figured out the theory of gravity.

Newstons Apple Tree 2

‘Eureka!’- the famous apple tree

This story has been told many times in many different ways, however what stayed the same was the tree. Although being blown down in a storm early into the 19th century, it re-rooted itself and has stayed there ever since.

For a tree-mendous time, visit Newton’s family home and the famous tree at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire.



4. Greenway House– Agatha Christie’s home in Devon

Whether they mean it or not, aspects of an author’s life show up in their work.


The last-ever Poirot episode Dead Man’s Folly was also filmed on location at Greenway

Agatha Christie frequently used her own home in Devon for inspiration.

One of the most obvious is in ‘Dead Man’s Folly’. Greenway’s boathouse is described in detail as a location of the first murder. Other places like the distinctive greenhouse and tennis court are also mentioned.

Why not kill some time and visit this landmark National Trust property?

For more aspects of Greenway House that feature in her literature, click here.


5. Rudyard Kipling’s home

The Jacobean manor house Bateman’s was used as a home and retreat by the author from 1902-1936.

The surrounding land and village of Burwash helped inspire his children’s fantasy Puck of Pook’s Hill and sequel Rewards and Fairies.

The property and surrouding land also certainly inspired the poem The Land, where he references the Burwash Weald.

He wrote many other famous works whilst living in the house, including the poem If.


6. Beatrix potter and Hill Top farmBeatrix potter

After experience some success from her first few books, Potter purchased Hill Top and surrounding land as an artistic retreat.

This inevitably impacted on her works, as the following books started to involve village and rural life: The Tale of Ginger and Pickles, The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck and The Tale of Tom Kitten.


Why not inspire yourself  and visit a National Trust property today?

We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us- Winston Churchill

Samuel Weaver is a Media and Communications intern at the National Trust.

He is a recent History graduate from the University of the West of England. When not selling sausages in a deli, he usually occupies himself by researching and blogging on our nation’s more overlooked heritage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s