Building In Durham, County Durham
A Grecian style summerhouse on the banks of the River Wear named after a Polish entertainer.
A trip to Durham tends to culminate with a visit to the magnificent Durham Cathedral, but if you take yourself down to the riverside there is a cool little find just a 5 minute walk away.
Sitting on the loop of the River Wear near the Prebends Bridge is a small Grecian style house called the Count's House.
Built originally in the 1820s by the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral, it was eventually named after “Count” Joseph Boruwlaski who lived nearby. The “Count” title may have been honorary.
Boruwlaski was a Polish entertainer who lived from 1739 to 1837 (yup he lived to the grand old age of 97!) and although he only stood at 3 foot 3 inches tall, he was a big hit across Europe, performing for royalty including Marie Antoinette.
Arriving in Britain in 1782, he fell in love with Durham and finally retired there in 1791. He wrote a poem to a lady friend stating:
Poland was my Cradle,
England is my nest,
Durham is my quiet place where my weary bones shall rest.
Boruwlaski didn't actually live in the Count's House, he lived in Banks Cottage (formerly known as Callamanco Hall) which is now demolished. A tennis court now stands on the spot and was a tad overgrown when we passed which you can see from the path.
Although he didn't live there, other people did as it has been a family home on several occasions.
Unbelievably a family of seven once lived in the Count's House (surely in bunk beds) and the house was known affectionally as Miss Wooler's Garden Cottage. Another family ran it as a café serving tea and scones. (Now we're talking!)
He was buried in Durham Cathedral, but we didn't spot his grave when we visited.
Whichever way you have arrived at the house, just simply follow the path as it loops around back towards the city centre. You'll pass the Prebends Bridge at some point on your journey.
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Standing on the Palace Green facing the cathedral turn right and look for a path between the buildings leading to the riverside. Follow the path south and behind the cathedral, you will find the house as the river loops back on itself. Probs a 5-10 min walk.
Plenty of parking in Durham city centre. Just find your spot.
Place contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
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