The Oak Room
The ground floor room of the Tudor west wing, now known as the Oak Room, was built on the foundations of the fourteenth century kitchens.
It was originally used as the dining room being adjacent to the sixteenth century kitchens which were situated in the courtyard to the south and whose remaining windows may be seen in the Ladies' garden wall.
Later generations transferred both the dining room and the kitchens to the east end of the Castle.
An unusual feature of the room is the splendid interior porch with its delicate carving and tall 'cartouche' bearing the inscription 'Quod olim fuit meminisse minime iuvat' (There is no pleasure in the memory of the past*) perhaps placed there by William, 8th Lord Saye & Sele at the time of the restoration of Charles II.
It seems likely that this porch was originally installed in the Great Parlour above, which would also have been panelled.
On the south wall hangs a portrait believed to be of Mrs Nathaniel Fiennes, the second wife of Nathaniel Fiennes and the mother of Celia Fiennes, remembered today for the journals of her energetic and extensive travels through England at the end of the seventeenth century. A series of excerpts from these journals are included on the Vision of Britain website.
* A play on the better known phrase Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit, which loosely translates as "One day perhaps even this will seem pleasant to remember" and which is taken from Virgil's Aeneid (Bk. I, l.203).
Photographs © Simon Watts