New Beginnings

St. Mary's Villa


We had a lovely day today! The lovely and talented Michael and Maria, our friends and guides to the area, invited us to go and tour St. Mary's Villa in Ambler. Yes, another castle!!

Dec 20, 2014
St. Mary's Villa

Before the castle became St. Mary's Villa, it was the home of Dr. Richard Mattison, an asbestos baron who pretty much built Ambler into a company town. The castle -- known as Lindenwold -- was a big Victorian mansion when Mattison bought it in 1888. He covered over the mansion in stone to turn it into a replica of Windsor Castle.

The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth bought the castle in 1934; the order just recently sold it to a developer. Those of you of a certain age may remember the movies The Trouble with Angels and Where Angels Go Trouble Follows, starring Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills. The movies were filmed at the castle!

Dec 20, 2014
An Amazing Window

 This window is on a landing of the main staircase. The house is full of gorgeous stained glass windows --  the nuns added this one later -- featuring lovely Victorian ladies.

Dec 20, 2014
Pegasus Dragon?

The woodwork, ceilings, and walls are beautiful. The were hand painted on canvas and attached to the walls and ceilings. Alas, the nuns covered a lot of the walls with deep red flocked wallpaper.

It was fun exploring the house and seeing the formal parlors, dining room, studies, and sitting rooms. The fireplaces were works of art! Almost every room had its own Christmas tree. Santa even paid a visit in the formal parlor.

The grounds are really lovely. There's a hobbit house of a gazebo right by a lake, a formal English garden, and even the Stations of the Cross, oddly mounted on stone Japanese lanterns! There are fountains and sculptures, sphinxes and Chinese dogs.

We did notice that Jesus is peeking through the third story window. Whether he's blessing the visitors or waving for help, I don't know.

Dec 20, 2014
Help! I'm locked in the attic!