In the Courtyard & The Viper Barn
Don’t miss: The stone carving from the ‘Lace Factory’, the barn where William encountered the Viper which inspired him to write his mock heroic poem ‘The Columbriad’ and the view across the gardens to the spire of Olney Church.
‘Close by the threshold of a door nailed fast
Three kittens sat; each kitten looked aghast;
I passing swift and inattentive by,
At the three kittens cast a careless eye,
Not much concerned to know what they did there,
Not deeming kittens worth a poet’s care.
But presently a loud and furious hiss
Caused me to stop and to exclaim, ‘What’s this?’
When lo! upon the threshold met my view,
With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue,
A viper, …’
William & John travelled this route on their visits to each other as they had paid a guinea a year to take a short cut across Mrs Asprey’s orchard.