The National Trust’s controversial plan to breed new ancient manor houses for future generations has come under fire, following a failed attempt to mate the Elizabethan manor Montacute House with the ruins of Corfe Castle. Critics regard the programme as expensive and misguided.
‘Honestly, what goes through their heads?’ thundered Nigel Calloway of pressure group SHHI (Save Historic Houses from Inbreeding). ‘How did they imagine this would work out? And even if they had succeeded, what on Earth would the mutant offspring of such a mismatched pair have looked like?’
Emma Coles, director of livestock for the National Trust, told reporters that Montacute House has been put back on rollers and is being transported along B roads through Dorset back to its original location in Somerset. ‘Getting old buildings to get it on is a tricky business,’ she said. ‘We’ll try again next year.’
The house breeding progamme calls for mansions to be crossed in the South-West of England, where they are super-abundant, and for their offspring to be released into the wilds of East Anglia, where they are relatively rare or even endangered. The National Trust continues to defend the policy in the face of widespread criticism, pointing out that manors are simply not reproducing in sustainable numbers.
‘At present replacement rates, we will completely run out of places to sell tea towels and pots of marmalade by 2050,’ claimed Coles. ‘We have to act now.’
In the last planned mating of the summer, St Michael’s Mount is to be floated around the coast of Cornwall and up the Bristol Channel to breed with Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire in a bid to create a new line of late 17th century country homes with medieval chapels on top. SHHI, however, dismisses this as another publicity stunt.
‘That’ll end in tears too,’ warned Calloway. ‘I thought everybody knew old Mikey-boy is gay. Why do you think he hangs around the coast all the time directly opposite his French namesake who even looks exactly the same? Durrr…’