Great History and Classy Christmas Gifts
Usually top of any day tripper's list when they visit Marlborough is The Merchant's House at 132 the High Street. This magnificent timber and brick building is a Marlborough landmark, but less well known is that discerning shoppers are making great finds in its wonderful Christmas Gift Shop. What could be better than a shopping trip all dressed up in a respectable cloak of culture?
Constructed by prosperous silk merchant, Thomas Bayly in the aftermath of the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653 which destroyed several eminent buildings and more than 200 dwellings, The Merchant House has recently been restored to its former glory thanks to some tasteful restoration work in recent years. Particularly of note is the fine oak staircase, wall paintings and extensive panelling which would have been major feature of the Bayly family home.
The Merchant House exists not just as fine place to visit but to bring the 17th Century to life through its educational programmes which seeks to encourage groups from across the community to enjoy its historical re-enactments and learn in depth about The Civil War, The Republican years and the Great Fire of Marlborough.
There is too a library which includes rare and valuable collections as well as highly specialised volumes on the silk trade, oak furniture and needlework.
Then there's the garden; a gorgeous facsimile of a classic 17th Century Town House garden which was opened by Sir Roy Strong in 2007 after many years in the making. There are year round tours of the house and garden - check website for details - but maybe for now you can content yourself with bagging some fabulous Christmas gifts.
The Merchant’s House: 132 High Street, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1HN
www.themerchantshouse.co.uk or telephone: 01672 511491
The shop is open Monday – Saturday 9:30am to 5:00pm.