A more informal look at life in Fonmon Castle
17 Aug 2012
History from the air
We unearthed these interested old aerial photos of the Castle from 1932 the other day. You can see two quite big changes - firstly in the close up view of the Castle, you can see there is a drive to the right hand side - this is the remains of the old carriage sweep and today is a paved area that we use for parties and events
In the second, you can see that the B4265 bypass and the bridge over it leading to Fonmon had yet to be constructed -
Posted by at 09:08 in Interesting objects
25 Mar 2012
Wonderful Wedding Welsh Cakes
We saw these little cakes at the Vale Hotel Wedding Fair and really loved them - think they make adorable favours for a weddings or other parties like christenings or birthday celebrations
You can buy them at www.fabulouswelshcakes.co.ukPosted by at 10:03 in Wedding Thoughts
3 Apr 2012
No Candles - No Problem!
Due to fire regulations, we unfortunately cannot have candles at the Castle. Instead, our brides can hire battery candles which offer all the beauty of the real flame with none of the risk.
These battery candles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can fit any table centre or floral arrangement - some models even come in a range of scents or can be remote controlled
See them here in action at a Fonmon wedding with beautiful flowers by Alison Bentley or visit the site directly
12 Oct 2012
Why we love Winter Weddings at Fonmon Castle !
Crisp cold air, possibility of snow on the ground, luxurious heavy fabrics for your wedding dress, the gorgeous winter colours of red, green and gold, delicous warming food and yummy red wine - there are SO many reasons to love a Winter Wedding !!!
I will freely admit I am a bit biased - having got married on a freezing cold but bright, sunny day on 29th December 2010 - I wore my granny's ancient fur coat (complete with very slight whiff of mothballs and Chanel No 5) to keep toasty warm between church and reception. My sister nicknamed it the Vintage Wedding and it was absolutely perfect !
If you choose to get married at Fonmon in Winter - we will draw the velvet curtains, put the heating on max and light the fire in the Library and you will be as warm and cosy as you can imagine - with walls 6 feet thick - the weather can do its worst and you will never know !
Posted by at 11:10 in Wedding Thoughts
18 Dec 2011
A fascinating find...
In a house such as Fonmon with its great age and huge numbers of nooks and crannies, we often come across unexpected treasures that have been hidden away from view for decades, in some cases even centuries!
Whilst looking for Christmas cards in the old Gun Room yesterday we came across a fascinating document, the title of which is
"An Inventory & Valuation of the Household Furniture, Pictures, Ornaments, Decorative China, Plate, Plated Articles, Linen & other Effects
at No 21 Victoria Square, London SW, late the property of Sir Brooke Boothby Bart, deceased"
This is detailed documentation of all the possessions of my Great Uncle the 11th Baronet from the year of his death in 1913. The beautiful, handwritten manuscript lists out everything in the house in detail from brass curtain rods to occasional tables. The inventory goes room by room which also provides a nice window into how he lived and arranged his house.
We are going to have some fun tracking down what we still have in the collection at Fonmon !!!Posted by Sir Brooke Boothby at 15:12 in Interesting objects
1 May 2012
A Tantalising Tantalus....
This object is known as a Tantalus - the name comes from the historical Greek mythological figure of the same name, most famous for his eternal punishment: to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink
The analogy for this rather elegantly named decanter holder is that the bottle stoppers are firmly clamped down by a locked wooden bar, as a means of preventing anyone without the key from accessing the liquor but the decanters themselves remain clearly visible and tempting.....
This particular Tantalus was given to Sir Brooke's mother Lady Anne in 1938 as a wedding gift from the tenants of Penllyn Caste Estate where she lived
We have just had it restored and mended so maybe now its time to fill it up and have a family debate over who holds the key !!!!Posted by at 18:05 in Interesting objects
15 May 2012
Creative Cakes ...
We see some wonderful wedding cakes at Fonmon but these two REALLY impressed us ....!
Posted by at 09:05 in Wedding Thoughts
25 Nov 2012
Our Downton moment....
Silver polishing is often a regular job in any historic house - its a slow, painstaking task involving Silvo, dusters, old toothbrushes and a LOT of elbow grease. Our lovely cleaning ladies Suzy, Rheema and Gill tackle the jobs in rotation and here you can see a few of the Castle's tea and coffee pots gleaming brightly after they have had their dose of tlc.
Sadly these pots arent in very regular use as we tend to drink tea out of mugs! However they did get an airing recently during a house party to celebrate for a family 40th birthday
The large pot at the back is of interest as it was not originally part of the Castle collection but is in fact part of a beautiful Russian samovar set and was given by Sir Brooke's mother in law Lady Aliki Russell who was posted in Eastern Europe whilst her husband was a British diplomat.
Posted by at 12:11 in Interesting objects
16 Jul 2012
We had this lovely feedback from a recent Tour visit:
To All at Fonmon Castle. Last Thursday, June 28th, we visited Fonmon Castle as a group and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. From our initial contacts onwards everything was done to make us welcome. Several of us had visited before as members of various societies or for wedding receptions, but there is always much more to appreciate, learn and enjoy at Fonmon. We were welcomed at the door by our guide who was both knowledgeable and entertaining, and we were very pleased indeed that she was Welsh speaking and certainly enjoyed her company! We appreciated Sir Brooke Boothby's coming to the Library to greet us and the tea, coffee and biscuits were most memorable! It was a particular pleasure to see the second edition of William Morgan's Bible and the Prayer Book. Thankyou again for making our visit such a pleasure. I know many of us will return.
To know that the house gives so much pleasure makes it all worth while ....Posted by at 22:07 in Seasonal News
27 Feb 2013
Perfect Finish - Barry
Above and below are two of our favourite colour schemes for chair covers in the Library at Fonmon - we though both the gold and burgundy, though they are totally differrent colours, suited the room perfectly
Posted by at 16:02 in Wedding Thoughts
19 Jun 2012
The Boothby Butterflies - on sale for the first time
We are really excited to share a little piece of family treasure:
The Reverend Charles Boothby having lost a leg in the Battle of Talavera in 1809, left the army to join the Church. He was a prolific writer of poems and plays for the entertainment of his family of young children. In 1828, he produced "The Bat’s Hum" a bound book of a poem describing a ball given by Dame Bat. The poetry is hand written by the Reverend Charles and illustrated with a stunning set of pen and ink paintings by his wife Marianne depicting butterflies and moths, their exquisite colours are still jewel bright today. In the Reverend Charles words, this book "…. is unique, and no other couple in Europe could, without piracy, produce another like it"
Almost 185 years later, the Boothby family has partnered with ArtByEdition to produce a limited edition run of very high quality reproductions that are available for sale here: http://www.artbyedition.co.uk/Fonmon/fonmon.html . These large mounted prints are an affordable (£95 + shipping) way of sharing a beautiful and completely unique piece of history
Posted by at 10:06 in Interesting objects
12 Oct 2012
Going down in a blaze of glory !!
To mis-quote Jon Bon Jovi - we like to think that the Fonmon Castle gardens give us one last blast of colour before they fade back for the Winter. This comes courtesy of the wonderful and rather ancient Virginia Creeper that covers the side and back of the building.
We love the red so much and it is a real signal of the changing season for everyone who lives and works at the Castle - someone recently chose the red as the colour scheme for their husband's 40th birthday party in November and took a leaf off to the florists for guidance - talk about natural inspiration !!!
Posted by at 11:10 in In the Garden
7 Mar 2012
Just love this as a cake idea - beautiful to look at and easy to manage. Brilliant touch to have 1 extra large cupcake to cut !
Posted by at 16:03 in Wedding Thoughts
27 Feb 2013
The Black Hole.....
Right at the top of the Castle we have a very large, very dark clothes cupboard which is laughingly known as the Black Hole: because things go in there and never come out!
After nearly 37 years of hoarding - the cupboard was literally about to burst and so, as a family we took the (we thought) very brave step of deciding to clear it out and throw away all the clothes we were never going to wear again. The results involved a great deal of trying on and were frequently hilarious and in some cases rather sweet - we found the dress that Lady Boothby wore for her first date with Sir Brooke and some extremely tiny pairs of flippers from a family holiday when we were very little!
Our local Ty Hafan shop in Barry is now the recipient of about 20 bags of clothes - we hope our family memories will raise money for an excellent cause and if you looked carefully there are probably some vintage sartorial treasures to be found !
Posted by at 16:02 in Family News....
12 Oct 2012
Absolutely loved these really cute chocolate Welsh favours from nearby Cocoa & Co in Cowbridge - we were wondering if they could even do mini Fonmons if asked....
Posted by at 12:10 in Wedding Thoughts
6 Jun 2012
By Royal Invitation .....
Great photo of Sir Brooke & his daughter Francesca Boothby on their way to the Buckingham Palace garden party - so smart !!!!!
It was Francesca's first time and she really loved the huge gardens, delicious cake, great music and reported that Her Majesty was looking very smart in peach ....Posted by at 10:06 in Family News....
25 Apr 2012
A Historic Heirloom
This is the sword belonging to Major-General Oliver Thomas Jones (1776-1815). The sword was used by him in the Peninsular War, during which he commanded the 18th Hussars at the Battle of Corunna.
Then it was inherited by the Major-General's son Admiral Oliver Jones (1813-78) who fought with it during the Indian Mutiny. You can see the portrait of the Admiral by John Lucas at the Castle - he is shown in informal uniform with the sword at his side.
There is a rather macabre story that at the end of a battle - the sword had been hastily returned to its scabbard covered in blood and there was much concern as to how to clean inside the leather. A low ranking soldier gave the advice to put it outside an ants nest and that they would do the job - and it worked !!!
You wont find any blood today though - the sword has just returned from the restorers - refreshed and renewed and ready to hang on the wall in the Old Kitchen so you can visit it on a tourPosted by at 08:04 in Interesting objects
1 Aug 2012
The product slogan for Marmite is "Love it or hate it" - well, we just love our version: a little black cat
Marmite arrived at the Castle as a stray several years ago. When she first appeared, she was incredibly shy and ran away like a little shadow at the first sight of anyone but, after a long period of gentleness and tidbits she is now tame as anything - too tame in fact ! You may well see this elegant little lady at weddings and events - flirting like mad in the hopes of a canape and some fuss...
Marmite resides in the stables and her arch enemy is Sooty another black cat who lives in the Potting Shed - at first there were furious turf wars and you could hear shrieks of feline fury at odd times of night but now Sooty is a very ancient cat indeed and simply lies in the warmth of the Grape House all day lets Marmite have the turf.
Posted by at 10:08 in Family News....
1 Aug 2012
Simple and elegant flowers
We loved the way Becky & Guy used only white gypsophila cleverly arranged for their wedding flowers - the results were so pretty and chic, perfect for a summer country wedding
We think they proved 100% that you dont always need to have loads of big arrangements of brightly coloured flowers to have a lovely effect
Posted by at 10:08 in Wedding Thoughts
27 Feb 2013
First Signs of spring...
After a long, dark and VERY wet Winter we were delighted to see the first snow drops that have sprung up all around the Castle gardens and herald the oncoming spring
Posted by at 16:02 in In the Garden
7 Mar 2012
We came across this really great hire company at a wedding fair and thought that vintage china & Fonmon Castle could make a super pairing for any event.
The Vintage Crockery Cupboard is a crockery hire company based in the heart of the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan. Exquisite range of vintage crockery and accessories are available for hire, perfect for any special occasion, from weddings, afternoon tea parties, christenings to corporate events. The eclectic collection of delightful teapots, indulgent cake stands, and pretty tea cups brings a touch of unique vintage charm and effortless style to your event.
If you want to get in touch with and to talk about your event, they look forward to hearing from you.
Downcross House, Castle Street, Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, CF61 1SR
Tel: 07796 443 273 Email: tea@
15 May 2012
L'Ordre des Chevaliers Bretvins
This is Sir Brooke in his uniform of the L'Ordre des Chevaliers Bretvins before a celebration dinner at Fonmon Castle
Posted by at 09:05 in Family News....
Founded in 1948, L'Ordre des Chevaliers Bretvins is a French Confrerie which commemorates the customs, food and wine of the Pays de Nantais.The headquarters of the Chevaliers Bretvins are in the Chateau de Goulaine, just outside Nantes.
The Chevaliers Bretvins du Pays de Galles was established in 1993 as a Bailliage or Branch of the main French Ordre. This honour recognised the cultural ties between Wales and Brittany and particularly between Cardiff, capital city of Wales and Nantes the ancient capital of Brittany. We in Wales assist our colleagues in the Pays de Nantais to celebrate the great wine of that region, Muscadet and at the same time acting as ambassadors for Wales and Cardiff when visiting France and the other Bailliages throughout the world
25 Nov 2012
Rain, Rain Go Away.....
This is the recently restored Fonmon Castle Barograph - th technical deifinition of a barograph is a recording aneroid barometer. A barograph is used to monitor pressure and it produces a paper chart called a barogram that records the barometric pressure over time.
The basic rule of thumb for reading the data on the barogram is to follow the blue line. Change of direction usually mean changes in weather pattern - downwards means lower pressure and poor weather, conversely: up means higher pressure and finer weather - recently the line seems to have gone down and stayed there as it rains and rains and rains !!
Posted by at 13:11 in Interesting objects
25 Nov 2012
Its party time !!
Fonmon is most certainly a party house - the old building comes alive when there are people around and recently we had the chance to throw a great fun party for Sir Brooke's son in law Riaz to celebrate his 40th birthday.
We decided to roll out the red carept and have a black tie event with everyone all dressed up in their finery and looking wonderful
We had tea in the Library - then a champagne reception and three course dinner in the Drawing Room followed by a LOT of dancing until the early hours - below is a photo of the birthday boy and Sir Brooke's daughter towards the end of the evening !!
Posted by at 12:11 in Family News....
27 Feb 2013
Keeping the roof over our heads....
With a Castle as old as Fonmon, the conservation work is never done and the money is never enough, we could literally spend millions and still have work to do. Therefore, as with many things in life - we have to prioritise and trade off what we will restore and conserve each budgetary year.
This year we decided to take a very big step and restore the roof over one wing of the Castle - the beams, some of which are coming on for 350 years old had started to "lose integrity" (thats a technical term not a moral judgement!) and it was high time they were given some help with the aid of a little 21st century steel.
After a lot of scoping and preparatory investigation, the whole of one side of the Castle was shrouded in a huge scaffoldinmg tent to keep it dry. Then in partnership with CADW, Davies Sutton Architects and Taliesin Conservation - we, slightly nervously, opened up a roof space that hadnt been accessed for over 50 years and they began work to secure the roof beams and replace the slates - below are some progress shots.....
Above was the first sight of the roof in its bare state - below is the steel going into place - it may not look that much but rest assured, this is a very carefully done job indeed with the goal of preseving as much of the original timber and structures as we can
Posted by at 16:02 in Seasonal News
13 Dec 2012
The "Jeremiah's" Christmas Lunch
Today was the annual lunch for the "Jeremiah's" dining club.
Sir Jeremiah Homfray after which the club is named, lived from 1759 -1853 at Penllyn Castle near Cowbridge. He had a large number of children, of whom seven are shown in this picture below. As a result, he is the ancestor of many local families - the heads of a number of which gather together every year in his honour.
Posted by Sir Brooke Boothby at 17:12 in Family News....
17 Aug 2012
After weeks and weeks of wet weather, during which we all became thoroughly disheartened for the garden - we have finally had some sunshine and the soft fruit, vegetables and flowers are, at last, coming out as they should, albeit rather later.
Here is a rather pretty artichoke flowering - even though we cant eat it, this bumblebee is making the most of it...
The runner beans are growing strongly, these are so delicious fresh out of the garden in soups and salads or just plain steamed with a bit of butter and seasoning !
Finally a big family favourite - the raspberries, we almost believed the crop had failed as there was just no evidence of fruit for ages - then after daily plaintive trips to the raspberry canes - Sir Brooke finally reported that at last they were coming and we would have our usual summer ritual of trooping out to pick them and trying to resist the temptation of the "one for me & one for the punnet" picking habit that makes the job rather slower than it might be.....
Posted by Sir Brooke Boothby at 09:08 in In the Garden
27 Feb 2013
This is strictly an Autumn shot of Lisa & Felipe's wedding from back in 2012 but we thought they looked so very happy that we wanted to publish it early !!
The bright red you can see behind the happy couple is the Virginia Creeper that covers the whole of one side of the Castle sending it that fabulous and dramatic colour for about 8 weeks a year -
We think that the colour you get depends on the weather, it is always bright red but the colder the first autumn snap - the more intense the crimson
Many Thanks to Martin Phillips Photography for sharing the great shotPosted by at 16:02 in Wedding Thoughts
12 Oct 2012
We made it on TV....
During the summer we were visited by the crew from BBC2 filming for the new series "A Summer in Wales" - they followed us as we managed a tour and tea and also at the Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show - it was all very nerve wracking being miked up and filmed in action.
The series has started and we are a bit worried we are on the cutting room floor but finally we made it on air on Sunday 24th Feb 2013
You can still catch it on iplayer for a while - we are at 42 minutes in !
Posted by at 13:10 in Seasonal News
27 Feb 2012
Who do you think you are ?
This is a rare view of the Brooke genealogical family scroll - the Brooke family are ancestors of the current owners of Fonmon: Sir Brooke Boothby the 16th baronet
It holds some fascinating facts and links closely to the family history and the Fonmon collection:
- The family tree was made for Henry Brooke 11th Lord Cobham and his portrait is on the Hall gallery. He died a prisoner in the Tower of London!
- The wooden coat of arms of Hill Brooke his daughter can be found in the Hall. The gold cup Hill gave to her husband as a 21st wedding anniversary present is shown on the public tour
- The portrait of Sir William Boothby the 2nd baronet by Lely who married Hill Brooke is also in the Castle collection
The scroll is over 12 feet long when unrolled, it normally lives in a tin tube hidden away from sight but, recently we have been investigating the methods (and costs!) to maybe have it restored and then put out on public display so we hope many more people may be able to come and hear its fascinating story
4 Jul 2012
How does your garden grow....
'Can you spot the camoflaged young bamboos growing in this clump?
They are Golden Chinese Timber Bamboo (Phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis) and only came out of the ground about 1 week ago and by the end of August they will be 30 feet tall and bright gold ! My children used to play a game to see if they could actually watch them grow whilst they stood in the Dell garden ....
Posted by Sir Brooke Boothby at 15:07 in In the Garden
1 May 2012
Come and see us for tea !!!
Here at Fonmon Castle - one of our most popular offers are our Tours & Teas:
Booked in advance by groups of 12 of more, you can come to the Castle and enjoy a fantastic informative and (we think) very funny tour of the Castle where you can listen to the colourful history of its occupants and how they shaped the building and its collections. We have hosted all sorts of visiting groups from W.I, history and church groups, garden enthusiasts or just groups of friends looking for a great day out
Afterwards you can enjoy a delicious home made tea with sandwiches, cakes and scones taken at tables laid with crisp white linen and fine china. The beautiful library with its collection of rare and ancient books is a far cry from your standard tea room at a visitor attraction !
Finally, if the weather is fine (hard to imagine this week we know!) take a wander around the Castle lawns and enjoy the planted borders, extensive walled gardens and lovely mature trees
For more information on booking a tour please call us on 01446 710 206 or email us at email@example.comPosted by at 18:05 in Seasonal News
25 Nov 2012
A seriously stylish arrival
We thought that this beautiful horse drawn carriage made for a seriously stylish arrival for a recent Fonmon wedding
Posted by at 12:11 in Wedding Thoughts
25 Nov 2012
Summer Fair - June 15th & 16th 2013
Celebrate in Style all things Summer - we are really delighted that we will once again be holding the Welsh Summer Country Fair at Fonmon
Avoid the humdrum monotony of the High Street and support some of Britain's most talented craftspeople and small businesses – in the exclusive and charming setting of Fonmon Castle. From fabulous fabrics and clothing, to vintage collectables, delicious seasonal local summer food and quirky individual crafts – it is the perfect way to discover inspirational ideas for your home.
Indulge yourself in our health and beauty zone, enjoy a glass of champagne or wine in our champagne marquee, feast on a cream tea or have a leisurely stroll around the castle gardens. Join free lectures and demonstrations with one of our food or wine experts ....
After a beautiful day out in gorgeous surroundings, leave feeling that you have celebrated in style ....
For all info and enquiries - please see: http://www.welshcountryfairs.co.uk/Posted by at 12:11 in Seasonal News
10 Sep 2012
4 star wedding accommodation offer
We are very pleased to have partnered with the Copthorne Hotel, Cardiff to bring you this new wedding accomodation offer:
Posted by at 09:09 in Wedding Thoughts
26 Apr 2012
Good Value Accommodation
Coming to a wedding and looking for good value accommodation?
We have a preferential 15% off best available rates at the Holiday in Express Cardiff Airport which is just a couple of miles from the venue and really easy - all you have to do is mention Fonmon Castle or simply use the link below to get your discount.
Don't forget to tell your guests and friends...
Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Airport: http://www.holiday-inn.co.uk - 10 minsPosted by at 15:04 in Wedding Thoughts
Fonmon, Barry, CF62 3ZN
Tel: +44 (0)1446 710206
Fax: +44 (0)1446 711687