How about this for Cardinals Folly?

The place to post anything DW-related
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed 13 Jul, 2005 16:20:52
Location: Berkshire

Post by Clive » Mon 17 May, 2010 15:32:06

Cibator wrote:
K R Cope wrote: ..... the description of Grove Place in the Roger Brook stories. (I'd have to refresh my memory on the latter, it's a very long time since I read whichever book it's in....and was it called Grove House in the book?)
The most detailed description of Grove Place comes in the first volume, The Launching of Roger Brook. But having just done a quick check, I'm rather astonished to have to report that it isn't called anything at all! When referred to, it's invariably as "the house" or "Roger's home". Even when Fouche forces RB to reveal his true identity, he gives his address as simply "Lymington", with no mention of where in that town his father's home is.
I have been slowly reading through the Roger brook series in order and am now working my way through The Wanton Princess.
See page 202/3 Heron;
Roger says goodbye to Droopy Ned and goes to visit his ill father at Lymington, and after staying for "three nights at Walhampton House he boaded a brig"
Also (Heron P312/3) Roger makes his way back to England after Talleyrand has caught him out. On his return "through Lymington to Walhampton Park with the intention of seeing his father "and at home he finds his father has died and he stays for a few nights "
Note the name changes from House to Park!
There may be more gems in the later books, I will find out when I have read them and let you know.

Stevie P
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed 14 Sep, 2005 08:31:56
Location: Rugby

Post by Stevie P » Wed 17 Aug, 2011 09:52:22

Following my recent abortive attempt to establish Wytham Abbey as the inspiration for DW's 'Cardinals Folly' I turned my attention to the similarly named Witham Hall in Lincolnshire where Keld Fenwick (DW's friend) lived in the late 1920's. I attach the correspondence below for your perusal.

(Some of the 'Cardinals Folly descriptions you may have already read)

>> Sent: 03 August 2011 11:12
>> From: Patton, Steve
> To: Witham Hall
> From: Steve Patton'
> Subject: Searching for the Grail!!

> Dear Witham Hall,
> Firstly, apologies for the cold call but I wonder if you may be able to
> help me?
> In my spare time I write book reviews for an author who was a prolific
> writer between the early 1930's and the mid 1970's. His name (you may
> have heard of) is Dennis Wheatley.
> Dennis Wheatley was a close friend of a man by the name of Keld Fenwick
> who was a member of the Royal Household guards whom I am reliably
> informed lived at Witham Hall during the late 1920's.
> Dennis Wheatleys most famous book (written in 1935) was called 'The
> Devil Rides Out'. The book was also turned into a film starring the now,
> 'Sir Christopher Lee'.
> The book refers to a house which he called 'Cardinals Folly' and
> describes it in great detail. The description of the house is included
> below. He also refers to the house in another book called, 'Strange
> conflict'.
> Would you please be kind enough to read the two extracts below and let
> me know if the description is anything remotely like Witham Hall
> (bearing in mind the description dates back to the early 1930's). It's
> a bit of a long shot but here goes. You'd think that the 'Octagonal
> library described below would be a giveaway.
> (Whatever answer you come back with, I promise I will not duplicate or
> publish anything that you say without your permission) This exercise is
> purely for a group of readers who have been trying to establish if the
> house was real or not.
> The extract follows;
> Extracts from - The Devil Rides Out
> Cardinals Folly
> The house was a rambling old mansion, parts of which dated back to the
> 13th century, and the great octagonal library being one of the oldest
> portions of it, was sunk low into the ground so that they had to go up
> half a dozen steps from its French windows on to the long terrace which
> ran the whole length of the southern side of the house.
> Seven sides of the great library were covered ceiling high with books
> and the eighth was occupied by the French windows.
> A grey stone balustrade patched with moss and lichens separated the
> terrace from the garden, and from the former two sets of steps led down
> to a broad velvety lawn. An ancient cedar graced the greensward towards
> the east end of the mansion where the kitchen quarters lay, hiding the
> roofs of the glass-houses and the walled garden with its espaliered
> peach and nectarine trees.
> At the bottom of the lawn tall yew hedges shut in the outer circle of
> the maze, beyond which lay the rose garden and the swimming pool. To the
> right, just visible from the library windows, a gravel walk separated
> the lawn from a gently sloping bank, called the Botticelli Garden. It
> was so named because in spring it had all the beauty of the Italian
> masters paintings. Dwarf trees of apple, plum and cherry, standing no
> more than six feet high and separated by ten yards or more from each
> other, stood covered with white and pink blossom while, rising from the
> grass up the shelving bank, clumps of polyanthus, pheasants-eye
> narcissus, forget-me-nots and daffodils were planted one to the square
> yard.
> Further down the garden there was an old sun dial beyond which lay the
> pond garden, modelled from that at Hampton Court, sinking in rectangular
> stages to a pool where, later in the year, blue lotus flowers and white
> water lilies floated serenely in the sunshine.
> Where are you staying? At the village inn, (Pride of Peacocks (Also a
> fake name perhaps)) no more than a mile from here.
> The inn was almost as old as the house. At one period it had been a
> hostelry of some importance, but the changing system of highways in the
> 18th century had left it denuded of the coaching traffic and doomed from
> then on to cater only for the modest wants of the small local
> population. It had been added to and altered many times; for one long
> period falling almost wholly into disrepair.
> The inn had a comfortably furnished lounge and old oak beams.
> The landlord was Jeremiah Wilkes.
> A deep border of dark wallflowers sent out their heady scent at the
> farther end of the lawn and beyond them the garden opened onto a natural
> wooded glade. A small stream marked the boundary. (Five foot width).
> Beyond the stream was woodland.
> Extracts from - Strange Conflict
> The east wing of the rambling old house (Cardinals folly) was very
> ancient and said to have been at one time part of a great abbey, but
> centuries later these thick walled remains had been built onto, while in
> recent years the owners had spared neither pains nor money to make its
> interior both comfortable and beautiful. The heavy, oak, studded door
> was no sooner opened..................................
> The cellar's were centuries old having thick stone walls and heavy doors
> so that they differed little from actual mediaeval dungeons and quite
> possibly had been used for that purpose in the bad old days when the
> Lord abbots held temporal as well as spiritual sway over the lands
> adjacent to Cardinals Folly.
> One of them was now used as a wine cellar and two others for lumber of
> various kinds but a fourth was empty.
> It was the principal room in the oldest part of the house. Comfortable
> sofa's and large armchairs stood about the uneven polished oak of the
> floor, a pair of globes occupied two angles of the book lined walls, and
> a great oval, mahogany writing table of Chippendale design stood before
> the wide French window. Owing to its sunken position the lighting of the
> room was dim in daylight yet its atmosphere was by no means gloomy. A
> log-fire upon a twelve inch pile of ashes was kept burning in the wide
> fireplace all through the year and at night
> When the curtains were drawn. The room was lit with the soft radiance of
> concealed ceiling lights.
> Many thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.
> Steve Patton

> PS I have recently been through this process with the occupants of
> Wytham Abbey in Oxford, as Dennis Wheatleys recent biograpy states that
> Keld Fenwick lived there. This turned out to be untrueand so Phil Baker
> (The Author) will have to amend his book when I tell him!
> The occupants in Oxford were very enthusiastic with the storyline and a
> little disappointed when it bacame apparent that the abbey was not the
> building that 'Cardinal's Folly' was based on.

> From

> Sent: 12 August 2011

> To: Patton, Steve
> Subject: FW: Searching for the Grail!!
> Dear Mr Patton, I have been forwarded your email and was hoping to speak
> to you about it but as I do not have your number I thought I would make
> contact by email.
> I'm afraid it is bad news as the descriptions of the houses do not bear
> any resemblence to Witham Hall. I wish you all the best in finding the
> "real" house and if I can be of any further assistance, please do not
> hesitate to call me on ****** >
> Kind regards,

> From: stevepatton
> To: charlesbeck
> Subject: FW: Searching for the Grail!!
> Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011

> Hi Charles,
> I thought you might like to see the attached.
> Some of the description you will recognise.
> Best wishes
> Steve

Dear Steve,

More than interested.

Here's something curious ... when you started your quest, I was pretty sure in my own mind Cardinal's Folly was a fabrication ... but the more I read the unnecessarily detailed descriptions, the more I come to think you are right and that it is a real building ...

Best as always .... where next to look ???


Where next indeed?

Posts: 164
Joined: Sun 29 Oct, 2006 17:03:42
Location: GLASGOW

Post by ken68 » Thu 18 Aug, 2011 21:41:04

Hello all.
After the talk at the field trip about DW maybe disguising names and places I wondered what form it would take. Well the easiest way would be to change the cardinal to and religious term. So I tried a few without any real luck, but bishops folly in Much Hadham may have a chance. Most likely it isn't but the changing of cardinal to something else may bring results. I will keep trying some others when I get the chance but I am afraid I am really busy at the moment so it may not be soon.

Sorry to say Stevie that I couldn't get across to try the other possibility.

Stevie P
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed 14 Sep, 2005 08:31:56
Location: Rugby

Post by Stevie P » Mon 5 Sep, 2011 14:21:28

More correspondence from Witham Hall.

Sent: 05 September 2011 13:59
To: Patton, Steve (S.R.)
Subject: FW: Searching for the Grail!!

Dear Mr Patton,

Further to your email of August 3rd concerning Witham Hall, I am pleased to respond having heard from a member of the family who lived here for many years. I hope his comments, quoted below, will be of interest to you.

"I certainly know the ‘Fenwick’ name and he is probably correct in believing they lived at Witham Hall in the 1920s.
As he says, the octagonal library should be decisive and it would indeed be a nice concept.
However, other than Ely’s Lantern, and a few Chapter Houses, I know not of any other octagons."

With best regards,


Dear Headmaster,

Many thanks for taking the time to respond to my email. I've attached some details of the man (Keld Fenwick) himself for your information. See file above. (This just showed a photo of Keld and dates of his birth & death).

In fact he is also mentioned in the History of Witham Hall (Page 5) see below.
"Walter Fenwick died in 1914.
His son Keld inherited the house. In the years following the 1st World War he held fashionable parties and party fetes. The house had one of the first outdoor swimming pools in England. It was kidney-shaped." There was also a small picture attached of Noel Coward who also used to frequent Witham Hall.

In the unlikely event you should hear of anything else in connection with Keld Fenwick and/or Dennis Wheatley please let me know.

Many thanks and best wishes

Steve Patton

Posts: 64
Joined: Sat 11 Nov, 2006 09:41:16
Location: Derbyshire

Post by duncanpaul17 » Tue 18 Sep, 2012 19:43:35

Sorry to raise this one again, but re-reading the posts, ideas were put forward that Cardinal Follys could probably be a composite of various buildings visited by DW.

I am currently reading "Drink and Ink" and on page 91 DW accounts his visit to the Royal Vault under the Palace in Spain where he was shown the octagonal room in which the coffins of the Kings of Spain were lying on rows of shelves.

Was this his inspiration for the library at Cardinal Follys?

Best to everyone as always, looking forward to meeting up again at the Convention.


Post Reply

Return to “General Topics”