In 1653 the Great Fire of Marlborough almost destroyed the whole town. Over the next 40 years a house was built that became the home of a prosperous merchant and his family.
The Merchant's House Trust leased the house from the town council in 1991 and is carefully restoring it and providing the public with a rare opportunity to view a 17th century house of this type. There are guided tours around the house and award-winning garden throughout the week, when you can take a fascinating glimpse into the home life of a wealthy merchant in the 17th century.
The pretty shop on the ground floor raises funds to help the upkeep of the house and is full of lovely china and glassware, items for the home, some really unusual gift ideas for all ages as well as toys and greeting cards. The shop is full of colour with lamps, throws and rugs that make it feel warm and welcoming. In November and December the paneled room on the first floor becomes the traditional setting for the Christmas room, full of colour and nostalgia, a truly magical wonderland.
The aim is to offer quality items that customers won’t see elsewhere and yet are still good value. There is always someone on hand to give advice but it’s also the perfect shop for browsers, there is so much to discover.
The House's position on Marlborough's lively High Street is a reminder that it was both the shop and the home of a prosperous puritan family. The Baylys lived through the English Civil War and the Republican Commonwealth as well as the Great Fire in which they lost their previous home.
Not only is the view stunning from Barbury Castle, but it’s perfect for getting the children out at the weekend to fly kites when there’s a decent wind. Topped off with a walk around the castle mounds it’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon in the fresh air.
Marlborough is a lovely place to visit and fortunately still has quite a few interesting independent shops selling a wide range of wares. Stroll down the High Street and venture into the alleys – there are plenty of coffee shops, pubs and restaurants to make a day of a trip to Marlborough.
Wiltshire is lucky enough to have Crofton Beam Engines and Wilton Windmill situated within a mile and a half of each other – both fascinating examples of working history and well worth a visit -so do both and take in the beautiful scenery and watch the long boats chugging by on the Kennet.