Friday, 20 November 2015

Macmillan Christmas Fair 2015 at Maunsel House

Monday 23rd November, 4:00 - 9:00pm
Tuesday 24th November, 10:00 - 4:30pm
Entry £4 (children free)

Enjoy a magical, festive shopping experience in the beautiful historic Maunsel House including a silent auction in the Dining Room for Macmillan Cancer Support.

NEW FOR 2015! Enjoy festive songs from the award-winning Bleadon Belles choir!

Stalls include:
Christmas delectables, decorations, flower arrangements, jewellery, gifts for gentlemen, handmade soaps, vintage clothing, works of art, bags, throws, cushions, knitwear, photography, cards, ribbons, stationery items, table decor, magnificent candles, interior design, furniture, gifts and accessories, silk jackets, scarves, beaded belts, skincare products, gilets, silk blouses, lamps and shades, driftwood inspired items, textile art, teddy bears, home furnishings, artistic glass, evening wear, children’s books and costumes, vintage china, antiques and collectables (at time of writing).

Food available to purchase
Magnificent hog roast on Tuesday
Grand draw – Christmas hamper, festive flowers, gorgeous gifts from stallholders.

Please note: Plenty of car parking but disabled access is limited.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Ascot 2015

I great time had by all at Royal Ascot 2015 last week!

Pictured at the White's tent
Left to right: The Hon Iona Debarge, Sir Benjamin Slade, The Hon Mrs Avon Cayzer
Left to right: The Hon Iona Debarge, Sir Benjamin Slade, The Hon Mrs Avon Cayzer
Left to right: The Hon Iona Debarge, Mr Olivier Debarge, Sir Benjamin Slade, The Hon Mrs Avon Cayzer and The Hon Avon Cayzer
Left to right: The Hon Iona Debarge, Mr Olivier Debarge, Sir Benjamin Slade, The Hon Mrs Avon Cayzer

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Easter Sunday

I had a most enjoyable Easter Sunday in the company of good friends.
The children enjoyed time on the lawn with Disney characters, an egg hunt, singing and games. After the vast number of mini princesses and princes left my guests and I enjoyed the sunshine and had a rustic buffet lunch - Glorious!

Images taken by the wonderful Miss Angelina Giampaglia

Ms Samantha Hitchcott, Mrs Aniko Mitchell, Mrs Gemma Taunton-Veal , The Earl of Shannon , Alexa Giampaglia , Zara Pledge-Giampaglia, Emily Hitchcott, Charley Hitchcott, Phoebe Mitchell, Jessica Mitchell , Amelia Taunton–Veal 

Sir Benjamin Slade & Mrs Gemma Taunton-Veal

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The paper's get it wrong.....again!

An article recently featured in Bridgwater Mercury “Aristocrat places curse on painting purchaser” and Somerset County Gazette “Aristocrat Sir Benjamin Slade issues curse in 18th century portrait painting dispute” regarding a missing painting in American owned by me. Some of the facts mentioned in these articles were incorrect so I wrote to the papers to point out the following:

Sir Michael Slade, my father, died in 1962. My furniture and possessions were initially stored by my elder sister Lady Rotherwick (nee Sarah Jane Slade), as I was only 16. When she moved house in 1967, this furniture all went into storage with Chapmans of Taunton. It was taken out of storage in 1974 and all bills were paid.  Lady Rotherwick died in 1978. Some of the property, including this portrait, disappeared and seemed to have been lost either by Lady Rotherwick or the storage company, Chapmans, and sold dishonestly to America. Ninety per cent of the furniture is now in my possession – the remaining 10% being the objects purloined by Lady Rotherwick and family.

I hope this clears things up.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Freezing the family assets!

In light of the recent story published in the Sunday Express titled "Sir Ben freezes the family assets" I would like to add that the present tackle I've got is in good working order, but I am looking around to get some more practice, sex is like tennis practice makes perfect.

Doing the horizontal is fine but I have this as a back up plan!

Furthermore, I think all these sperm banks should be regulated so they cant lend out the deposits without the donor's permission. If there are any healthy female specimens, with high IQ, the physique of an Olympian and looks like an Angel, I would be prepared to lend them the odd test tube!

It would help to have a further back up plan as when the next war starts, I hope that a lot of the Slade's will be on the front line, so just in case they all get killed. The other danger is when I produce, I might create several girls (who don't really count) so I need the best chance to have a boy.

For the full story click the Express logo:

Friday, 8 February 2013

Big House Party 1-3 Feb 2013

Maunsel House and Woodlands Castle didn’t have a booking so Sir Ben decided to give a very large house party at both venues. 70+ people came to stay over the weekend and various locals turned up as well. Over the course of the weekend there was 66 to dinner on Friday at Maunsel House, 58 came to lunch at Maunsel House on the Saturday and 120 dined and danced at Woodlands Castle on Saturday night and a total of 171 came to lunch on Sunday at Woodlands Castle. Unfortunately a lot of people were away as over 390 were invited. This was a practise run for many events which are going to happen in the future.

Sir William Worsley Bt with Sir Benjamin
The Maunsel Estate could not accommodate all these people so a great many guests were invited to stay at Woodlands Castle. They all thought they were going to stay in a large castle near Taunton only to find that when they arrived they were in the Dower house. When they walked the 60yards to the Dower House it said the magic words Premier Inn! It was explained that there were no bedrooms at Woodlands Castle but the Premier Inn had 100 rooms and it was very comfortable and modern. This was thought to be hilarious, but the fact that you can get 300 people in the pavilion at Woodlands Castle and they can walk to the Premier Inn and sleep whenever they want and get up and have breakfast at the Blackbrook Tavern is extremely convenient. Some guests got in their cars and ate a 2nd breakfast at Maunsel House, where we had 50 to breakfast every morning.

Miss Rachel Wrey and Lady Caroline Wrey
The other place that was requisitioned was The Slade Arms in North Petherton which is 2miles away from Maunsel House. It is actually called The Walnut Tree and is very luxurious. Many of the guests had full English breakfast, kippers and all and wandered down to Maunsel House afterwards. The party organiser Sal had forgotten to order minibuses for Friday night so Ashley and Jordan the grounds-men were driving guests backwards and forwards in the farm trucks, so guest arrived and met up in the bar at Maunsel House on Friday night and then wandered through to dinner which was supposed to be at 8:30, but trying to get 66 people to sit down in the right place is impossible.

Mr Charles (eligible) Mitford-Cust with Ms Fiona Thomas 
They were all sitting on one big large table that stretched into a tented extension. This had heaters blowing to keep them all warm. Fires were lit in the long ballroom which made it too warm and so everybody took there coats off throughout the evening. It was thought that the hot air in the ballroom would go through to the tent but in actual fact the hot air blew the wrong way, we are going to have to redesign the wooden extension we are building so that no air can creep in the gap where it joins the house.

Mrs Anthony Fortescue, Miss Sally Melville and Miss Rachel Wrey
Ms Liz Brewer
Anyway the food started at 9pm and was served by Sticky Date who did an absolutely excellent job. The wine was a Pauillac. The guests then washed it down with various other wine followed by a pudding wine, port and brandy.  Some of the guests included the famous author and TV presenter Liz Brewer who had brought a huge wad of her books that she was signing, which mention Maunsel House. Also there was Sir Toby Clarke Bt, who had been complaining all over London that week that he was staying in a hotel and not the main house. He stayed until about 3am in the morning because he needed a lift as he couldn't read maps in the dark and was staying at the Premier Inn in Taunton.

Ms Nancy Prall, Miss Sally Melville, Miss Rachel Wrey, Sir Ben and Ms Bridget Convey
Unfortunately he and a team of people led by Prince Mangal Kapoor, set off via Bridgwater to go to the Premier Inn in Taunton only to go to the wrong hotel and eventually got to bed at 4:30 in the Premier Inn in Ruishton which is where they were booked in. Bridget Convey, the famous banker had been on hand since Tuesday because we had both been to Lady Wills’ 60th birthday party and Bridget had decided to stay and sort out all the things that were going wrong. Both Bridget and Toby Clarke were the heroes that stepped into the fray time and time again to sort out problems, especially when there was no seating plan on Sunday and all the name places had gone missing.

Ms Emma Ellis and Sir Toby Clarke Bt
Ms Charlotte Pike, Lord Northbrook, Ms Andrea Webb and The Duke of Rutland (Rutters)
Mr Will Cunningham from Caprington Castle, Ayrshire, had come down especially as he is one of Southern Scotland’s eligible young men and a cousin of Ben’s. The Hon. Mr and Mrs Olivier Debarge were also present, Robina is Ben’s niece and Olivier runs a big investment group in London called CIM Investment Management Ltd. There was the historian Emma Ellis who’s writing a book about the Napoleonic war, about David Rutland’s ancestor. The property tycoon Kym Erlich was also there to network and do deals. The Hon. Alexandra Foley was there for the weekend and just going off to America to secure very rich Americans for her travel business which visits only the best stately homes in England. Mr and Mrs Anthony Fortescue from Boconnoc were there, they have just restored their vast house down in Cornwall.

Mr William Cuninghame
Foreground - The Hon Mr Charles Cayzer, Mrs Francis Fulford, Mr James Wood, The Hon Mrs Charles Cayzer
Young Arthur Fulford, who works in the House of Commons busily writing a report on the chemical industry, was busy chasing girls as there was dancing and left the bar about 3:30am. Mr and Mrs Francis Fulford of TV fame went to bed at a sensible time. Xenia Howard-Johnston who has some very rich investors announced how she was buying some hotels and supermarkets in Poland and a little voice piped up ‘where abouts?’ and when she said where they were, Matthew Cartisser said ‘that’s funny because that’s my supermarket and I suppose I’m selling that to you and I didn’t know that’.

Mr Arthur Fulford and Ms Sally Melville
Lord and Lady Monson were also around all weekend; he is of course very big in PR in London and recently tried to reclaim his seat in the House of Lords. The Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley danced both nights very hard and is married to the famous politician, power broker and author, Christopher Monkton, who is busy writing books and giving lectures on the nonsense of global warming. Lord Northbrook and Charlotte Pike were in attendance. Lord Northbrook is a Conservative peer in the House of Lords and regularly speaks on finance. Nancy Prall had flown in from Palm Beach especially to come for the weekend and is jetting off next week to San Moritz. The Duke of Rutland came with his girlfriend Miss Andrea Webb, as he needed a rest after the big shooting season at Belvoir Castle where he runs a vast empire of farming and corporate entertainment. Isabel Schaechterle had flown in especially from Germany where she runs a tourist group for very, very rich Germans who wish to visit England, especially stately homes. I wish she would hurry up and bring some more my way!

Mr Alvaro Picardo
Ms Cornelia Schaurecker
Cornelia Schaurecker was in attendance and she drove a really fancy car as she is head of IT at a branch of Volkswagen Group UK which deals with Audi and Bentley etc. Roger Selig of Upton House which is a shrine to the East India Company was there with Claire Ward Thomas; Roger is also a very large sheep farmer in Gloucester and hunts with the Beaufort Hunt. Miss Fiona Thomas the property tycoon, young and beautiful, from Gloucester was in attendance as indeed was Mr William Thuillier the famous art dealer who deals in old masters. Gerald Westminster was staying all weekend in the Bothy recovering from an operation that he had last Tuesday.

The Hon Mrs Olivier Debarge (Robina)
He is making a slow recovery as for a few days he could not eat or drink. It is hoped he will be better next week. Miss Caroline Williams danced and drank both nights and has a good business finding accommodation for very rich bankers in central London. James & Sarah Williams had come out of Cornwall; he is of course famous for his vast garden of rare plants at Tregullow. Barney Windsor-Clive the high tech tycoon was there, one of the most eligible bachelors in England, who is great friends with Sir William and Lady Worsley. Sir William of course is the former president of the CLA and now Chairman of the Scarborough Building Society.

The Hon Avon Cayzer and Ms Kym Erlich 
Mr Keith Holland

Pictures courtesy of Photographer, Ed Mash 
He is also a famous forester and is very lucky to have the Hovingham Estate which was given to the family by Cromwell because they did the decent thing and married Cromwell’s difficult daughter. Sir Bourchier and Lady Caroline Wrey stayed all weekend and Sir Bourchier is now retired but Lady Caroline specialises in thick, dyslexic children and getting them into public schools and is an author of books on curtains and social events. Mr Keith Holland who was section head in MI6, (now retired) regaled us his stories of his old cold war escapes and daring do’s.

Lunch on Saturday
Lunch started at 12 on Saturday in the bar at Maunsel House, unfortunately the party planner Sal had forgotten to lay up for 58 people and the room sits 46 people without the extension, so it was a bit tight to say the least. Dinner in the evening with a bit of music at Woodlands Castle was a wonderful affair for 120 people. One was very pleased to see Nick & Sarah Allen, Nick Allen formerly of Boyer, is a hedge fund magnet, he now has been building luxury hotels in Jaipur India. Also there was Chris & Emma Chanter, Christopher sells a wonderful furniture polish around England and is possibly going to be the local UKIP MP in the local election. Mr & Mrs Peter Edwards flew in from their chateaux and vineyard in Bordeaux. Also Bobby Faber and Sue De Zulueta the famous interior decorator who has a working mill at the end of the runway at terminal 4 were in attendance. Cllr Ian Morrell appeared who is the youngest and most up and coming councillor on Taunton Deane and is on the candidate list to be a MP. Hannah Pike who lives in Wellington but works in Cirencester with Knight Frank & Rutley was a great success with the young men. 

Jeremy & Lady Rebecca Wharton danced the night away, Jeremy is the whizz fund manager at Church House Investments based in Dorchester. Young Sir John Becher also one of the eligible young men in England was staying the night and dancing. Amy Cayzer financial PR guru at UBS was there with her hedge fund husband Avon Cayzer. Lunch the next day, one was able to see Mr & Mrs Ted Coryton and there beautiful daughter Sam who runs Pentillie Castle in Cornwall.  Lady Dashwood (Katie) the celebrity cook and author appeared for lunch looking radiant. Most interesting news for Sunday at Woodlands Castle was Mr Andrew Davis & Andrew Onraet formally of Von Esson Hotels, are busy suing the banks for £450 million and they say it is looking really good. Tamsin Day Lewis the sister of Daniel unfortunately forgot to appear.  DR & Mrs Charles Goodson-Wickes appeared for lunch and he is now a top medical consultant for a big pharmaceutical group after many years in the House of Commons. Mr David Kenyon of Crowcombe Court was able to compare notes on strategy with Sir Ben Slade. Sir John Madejski was with Jackie Osborne all weekend and it is unfortunate that he left his two beautiful daughters behind. He has luckily sold Reading Football Club which was a bit stressful with all those highly paid footballers. 

The Pavilion at Woodlands Castle - Three tables for 175 people
Mr & Mrs Francis Mander came down from Gloucestershire luckily he is a society photographer and he had brought his camera with him and we will be able to add these photos to the blog. Magnus & Lyn Mowat came down from Exmoor, Lyn is head of SAW (Somerset Arts Week) and there is a big do on the 21st March to promote more friends for SAW at Woodlands Castle. Mr & Mrs Martin Sessions-Hodge were slightly worse for wear and did not leave until 5 am after doing a few hand stands on the bar. Mr Tim Smith and Miss Clare Gore-Langton appeared from Hatch Beauchamp, they are very important stock brokers in the city and were giving tips to people. Also involved were Hugh & Jane Warmington who come from Cothlestone House, Jane is a very important county councillor for Somerset. Mr and Mrs Richard Williamson came down from Bath, Penny owns a hotel just outside Bath and she also runs a club called ladies that lunch in London that meets every week. 

Lunch on Sunday
Mrs Francis Fulford and Sir Ben
Miss Rachael Wrey, who is an ‘it’ girl, looked gorgeous all weekend and danced to 3:30 am every night and still looked gorgeous. She obviously has got a lot of young and old admirers. All this was going on when the organiser Sal had forgotten to order any flowers and there was no seating plan for Sunday lunch for 171 people. The day was saved by Sir Toby Clarke who announced that each lady had to grab two men who she didn’t know and hadn’t come with but fancied and sit down quick! This seemed to work. Lunch finished at 4.55 pm.  

The conclusion was that the Premier Inn was more convenient, more comfortable and cleaner than the majority of the stately homes in the West Country and in fact some of the guests decided to leave tips for the staff as thought they were in a private house. The next party at Woodlands Castle, Sir Ben is going to stay there for convenience. 

Gemma Halliwell, Bridget Convey, Keith Holland, Matthew Cartisser

Lady Monson & Mrs Martin Session Hodge

Charelle Armstrong, Gemma Halliwell, Kate Marits, Dylan Nyce

Miss Rachel Wrey, Christopher Shaw, Miss Rachel Wrey, Lady Monson

Mrs James Williams and Mr Richard Williamson

Miss Rachel Wrey, Mr Arthur Fulford, Miss Sally Melville

Ms Jane Martel, Nicholas Bowater

Ms Cornelia Schaurecker, Miss Rachel Wrey, Mrs Francis Mander

Ms Caroline Bellot & Christopher Shaw

Sir Benjamin Slade & Bridget Convey

Sir Ben Slade & Ms Isabel Schaechterle

Ms Nancy Prall, Francis Mander

Sir Ben Slade & Cornelia Schaurecker

Sir Toby Clarke & Sir Benjamin Slade

Images courtesy of Francis Mander