For this stately home was once the home of the Trevelyan family who, unlike most of the landed gentry of England, veered first towards Liberalism and then Socialism.
He was a leader in plans to raise the school leaving age, giving grants to people on low incomes. He believed very much in the redistribution of wealth.
Charles, like his younger brother George – the famous social historian G.M Trevelyan – was a great country walker, a devotee for the preservation of footpaths, and a champion of increased access to the countryside. George Trevelyan wrote one of the best ever essays on Walking – which may be found in Clio – The Muse and Other Essays – I commend it to you.
Both brothers were early enthusiasts for the Youth Hostels movement (he early on turned his stables into a hostel) and countryside conservation. Trevelyan gave the house and estate to the National Trust in 1941, saying that “as a Socialist, I am not hampered by any sentiment of ownership. I am prompted to act as I am by satisfaction that the place I love will be held in perpetuity for the people of my country.”
Charles was a great champion of education, encouraging the local poor to come to his library and borrow a book. But you really had to read it! He would have a long conversation with the borrower on the book’s return.
Wallington House is a little-known gem of an NT property, overshadowed by the nearby dramatic Cragside. The interior hall has a series of paintings by William Bell Scott, featuring scenes of Northumberland life. I show you a dramatic scene of industrial Newcastle here.
The house has a wonderful feel of being a home and not just a showplace. The grounds are extremely pleasant, with a beautiful walled garden, lakes, woodland and a bird hide, from which you may glimpse red squirrels. You can spend a happy day wandering around as we did.
A charming place with a fascinating family history.