Having invested in National Trust membership I decided to recoup some of my expenditure yesterday. Accordingly I wended my way to Springhill House just outside the village of Moneymore. This small Plantation estate had been in the ownership of the Lennox-Conyngham family, albeit not in direct line, for some three hundred and fifty years before economic realities found Captain William Lowry Lennox-Cunningham deciding in 1957 to bequeath the estate to the National Trust. He died three days after the signing of his will. The term , "O'Hagan Clause," springs to mind.
It is not a huge house, really nothing more than a substantial farmhouse with more formal rooms occupying the additions to the original seventeenth century seven bay structure. The symmetry is surprisingly pleasing. On a similar vein the replacement beech walk to the rear of the property will be quite impressive when it reaches maturity.
I cannot say that I was overly impressed with the National Trust staff that I came across. The house guide was trying too hard. She may have a desire to be a standup comic but her attempts at humour and bonhomie were cringing. In the coffee shop the waitress decided not to clear the detritus from my table's previous resident before delivering my order minus milk for my tea. With a total of three tables occupied she also managed to forget the order of a young couple who had arrived in the eatery in advance of myself. Hopefully these rather obvious mistakes are a reflection of the start of the season and not inherent staff failings.