Pride and Prejudice….And Enchanted Forests.
By Talitha Andrea Buizon
Pride and Prejudice – a classic love story that seeks to depict the irony of the saying, “the more you love, the more you hate,” and how two individuals who see themselves as completely different, can eventually lower down their pride, falling madly in love with each other.
What I love the most about this movie is how the surroundings contribute so much to not only the theme and period, but to the entire “feel” of the movie and the effect it sends out to the audience – elegance, classicism, and general romanticism.
The story begins in Groombridge Place, Kent, England. Built in 1662, by Philip Packer, this manor has a moat around it and served as “Loungbourn,” the home of the Bennet family in the movie shot in 2004.
One of the greatest features of this manor house is its gardens, which were planted and laid out by architect Packer in the year 1674, with the help of a famous diarist, John Evelyn, who would like to think of the gardens as “outside rooms” where people could walk and talk like they normally do in a parlor or living room. He wanted to break the barrier between indoors and outdoors, but wanted the gardens to still look as “natural” as possible, although already been fixed.
Elizabeth Bennet is seen walking around in these gardens at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice; however, an extensive landscape shot of the actual gardens was never really shown, which is quite sad, since one of the main features of Groombridge Place is its gardens.
Groombridge is actually quite an extensive property, built in the 17th century; homes were going through a transition of styles. The Baroque period was well underway in certain western countries, which is probably why, though their house was fairly big, Mrs. Bennet kept complaining about wealth (aside from the fact that the house would never pass on to the girls, but to the nearest male relative, cause women barely had any right to the ownership of anything, back in the day).
What is so amazing about structures such as these is the way that they are able to withstand the test of time in terms of durability and lasting style. Now, at the 21st century, art and architecture has found numerous styles to use and for some, reuse. Although the attack nowadays is very modern, there are still some structures that thrive despite the change in style.
Moreover, what is also very interesting is how structures like these have been utilized in the modern day. People have found very creative ways to use buildings like that of Groombridge without having to alter them too much, aside from the fact that they are very useful for making movies that involve a certain period.
At present, Groombridge Place is now a tourist destination know as, “Groombridge Place & Enchanted Forest” for those who want to admire its extensive gardens and the many birds that are kept in the Groombridge Place birds of prey sanctuary: The Raptor Centre. Other animals like the “zeedonk,” (half zebra plus half donkey) can also be found by the manor.
In addition, there are many events that are also held in Groombridge Place such as flying demonstrations by the birds of prey, and Medieval themed weekends throughout the summer. There are also boat rides in the moat, and park sets with swings already installed along the grounds.
“Every day will be a special event….full of sun and magic throughout the day – there will be something for all the family – NOT TO BE MISSED!”
– Groombridge Place Gardens
Truly an interesting place, what many do not know is that its gardens don’t just end with what one normally sees right in front and behind the house, but there is also a Secret Garden where Philip Packer was rumored to have died in while reading a book, and what many would like to call an ‘Enchanted Forest,’ as well as vineyards! Indeed there is more than meets the eye with this manor house than what the audience only sees in the limited view of Groombridge Place, in Pride and Prejudice.
Also, aside from it’s appearance in movies, Groombridge is a site used in many novels such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s world famous Sherlock Holmes novel, “The Valley of Fear,” and, “At the Edge of the Unknown”.
In conclusion, although the movie Pride and Prejudice was not able to show all the attributes of the beautiful Groombridge Place, now we know that it is not just some old-period house in England, but acutaly a very interesting place to be!
Groombridge: another place to add to the list of places I must get to visit and see!
Pride and Prejudice. Film. 2005.