Cotswold New Born Calf with Wobbly Legs

  The first clue ….. one cow stayed back from the others who all moved off when they spotted the farmer in the next field putting out their feed.  But why? This herd usually stayed together but not this time.

I was watching this scene from my cottage in the Cotswolds – the one I describe in my book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage. My land overlooks a meadow and I really enjoy watching the cows ripping at the grass and munching away. Somehow this is a very calming sight.

At first I thought this lone cow might be ailing in some way. Then I looked through my binoculars and realized that this lovely animal was giving birth.

Soon a gangly-legged calf appeared and Mama Cow licked her and fussed over her while my husband and I rushed to get a camera. When we returned this calf, born moments earlier, was learning to sit down for the very first time.

Cotswolds Memoir Author writes History of Downton Abbey location

Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)
Architectural History
Diz White

Author of

Cotswolds Memoir:

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

Available on Amazon

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

Highclere Castle, Location for Downton Abbey- Daily Mail

Highclere Castle, Location for Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle – the location of the successful T.V. Series Downton Abbey has brought the Victorian and medieval mansions and stately homes of England back into worldwide focus.
The huge success of the T.V. series Downton Abbey which uses Highclere Castle as its location has sparked great interest in British architecture and put a spotlight onto these ancient mansions and stately homes. This interest, may, in fact, be instrumental in stopping the decline of these buildings whose numbers have been traveling on a slow downward trajectory since the First World War. The curiosity aroused by this incredibly popular series has promoted a thirst for knowledge about British architecture and history from around the world.

Highclere2Highclere Castle Today

Highclere Castle as it exists today was rebuilt between 1839 – 1842 for the third Earl of Carnarvon by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament. The architectural style of this latest version of Highclere Castle is classed as Jacobethan and its fascia material is of stone from the town of Bath.
John Betjeman gave the name ‘Jacobethan’ to the style of architecture incorporating elements of both Elizabethan and Gothic characteristics. This English Renaissance style that was popular from 1550 to 1625 was revived in the 1820s and evolved into the Jacobethan style.

MentmoreMentmore in Buckinghamshire an example of Jacobethan architecture

This fashion subsequently became the hallmark of Victorian architecture and included features such as Tudor-style terra cotta bricks, arches and extended chimneys, elaborate carved brickwork, balustrades, pillars and parapets. Sandringham House in Norfolk, home of her Majesty the Queen represents a good example of this Jacobethan style.

Highclere Castle origins, like so many castles, mansions and stately homes in Britain, go back to medieval times and beyond. An Anglo-Saxon charter indicates that this site has been populated for almost 1400 years.

Architectural Plans for Highclere CastleArchitectural Plans for Highclere Castle

It was the custom of British architects, through the centuries, to build upon the foundations of earlier buildings and on occasion to incorporate parts of these buildings into the new structure. The Victorian architects followed this trend by erecting the current Highclere Castle on the exact site of an earlier mansion. This earlier building was constructed on the foundations of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Winchester who had retained possession of this large estate since the 8th Century. An even earlier building was recorded as existing on this site in the Domesday Book.
The Carnarvon family have owned and lived in Highclere since 1679.

earl of pembroke8th Earl of Pembroke

In 1692 Robert Sawyer left what was then a mansion named Highclere to his daughter Margaret, wife of the 8th Earl of Pembroke. Their son Robert Sawyer Herbert inherited Highclere and became the owner of this mansion. He created the garden rooms and assembled a collection of paintings. Robert Sawyer’s heir Henry Herbert was created 1st Earl of Carnarvon by King George III.

Earl of Carnarvon1st Earl of Carnarvon

This is the description (in part) of Highclere Castle given by the famous architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner and his co-writer David Lloyd.

The house is ashlar-faced, of three storeys with an additional storey in the accentuated parts. The windows are of the mullion-and-transom-cross type, with transoms higher up than in genuine Elizabethan houses. At the top is a strapwork balustrade. The front is much flatter than an Elizabethan front would be. There is in fact very little decoration – just ornamented pilasters in stressed places. ‘Ung Je Serviray’ carved above all the ground floor windows.

5th Earl of Carnarvon5th Earl of Carnarvon

During the Victorian era Highclere Castle became a nexus of social and political activity. A stream of socialites, politicians, technical innovators, aviators, soldiers, writers and Egyptologists populated the parties at the house. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen with Howard Carter adding another exotic aspect to the rich history of the Carnarvon family and their Castle. An Egyptian exhibition is a feature of Highclere Castle today.


During the First World War Highclere Castle was turned into a hospital by Amina the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and treated soldiers wounded in Flanders in September 1914. The Castle became a private home again in 1922. The Castle was used once more in the Second World War as a home for evacuated children from London.
Today the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live for part of the year in the Castle and the remainder of the time in a nearby home.

Highclere Castle LibraryHighclere Castle Library

Only the ground floor rooms are in use at the present time and these include the Foyer, Saloon, Library (which contains almost 6000 books, some of which date back to the 16th Century), Music Room, Smoking Room, Drawing Room and Dining Room (in which hangs Van Dyck’s painting of Charles I)

charles-iCharles I by Van Dyck

There are 11 bedrooms on the first floor of Highclere Castle with approximately 60 bedrooms on the upper floors.

It is hoped that the success of Downton Abbey will help bring the public’s attention to the often sorry plight of Britain’s stately homes. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is fighting to save historic and listed buildings from decay, demolition and destruction. Web site

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Available on

About Diz

In addition to writing and acting for theatre, television, radio and film, British-born Diz White is also a book and magazine author.

Her latest book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR – Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is published in both paperback and ebook (in all formats) and is available in the U.S.A. on and in Great Britain on

Previously, Diz launched two books that were published in the U.K. by The History Press with an extensive book and media tour. Diz also wrote a full-length article about her book which was published in the magazine Cotswold Life.

Diz also wrote HAUNTED COTSWOLDS which is part of the popular ‘Haunted’ series published by The History Press. Following this her second book in this series was published, entitled HAUNTED CHELTENHAM.

Both books are also published in the U.S.A. by Trafalgar Square Publishing (part of the IPG Group). Both books are also available on Amazon.

For a video interview about HAUNTED COTSWOLDS with Diz White go to The HUFFINGTON POST Web Site to see a video etitled: Chic Trek – Ghostly Travels in England.

Diz is also the author of THE COMEDY GROUP BOOK which was published by Smith and Kraus in the U.S.A. This career development book, which also incorporates comedic war stories of Diz’s journey as she created a comedy group, is available on Amazon.

Diz and her husband Randall Montgomery founded a Internet/Mobile Phone and Home Entertainment DVD production company under their corporate banner Larrabee Industries. See web site

Larrabee Industries produced – a home entertainment DVD that is adapted from Diz’s book HAUNTED COTSWOLDS and is entitled GHOSTS OF GREAT BRITAIN COLLECTION– Haunted Cotswolds. (This is the first in the series of seven) It is available on in the U.S.A. and on Quantum Leap in the U.K. Go HERE to see the trailer for her DVD.

In addition Larrabee Industries produced an Internet/Mobile Phone Entertainment series entitled FILM NOIR FOR DUMMIES that was written, co-produced and narrated by Diz in collaboration with her husband. It has been licensed by Nokia Smart Phones and is in other markets. Check out episode one: Peter Mache and the Case of the Plaster Parrot.

Diz received the New York Critic’s Drama Desk Award for her starring in her play

Diz’s show EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA is currently in production at the Ruskin Theatre in Santa Monica. HBO televised EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA as a comedy special after it was picked up at the Edinburgh Festival and produced Off-Broadway in New York. This show had previously been launched by the comedy group she founded in England under the auspices of an Arts Council Grant and played at the Hampstead Theatre Club, Greenwich Theatre and The Edinburgh Theatre.

After a very successful two year run Off-Broadway run in New York, EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA was produced in many parts of the world after it was published by Samuel French Play scripts. Along with her other plays it has been performed in first run, amateur and stock productions in over twenty six countries.

BULLSHOT , the movie, in which Diz starred, along with Billy Connolly and Mel Smith, and also co-wrote, was released on DVD in the U.K. BULLSHOT the movie was produced by the late ex-Beatle George Harrison’s HandMade Films and was adapted from the play that Diz conceived and co-wrote entitled BULLSHOT CRUMMOND. The movie BULLSHOT was directed by Dick Clement and co-produced by Ian La Frenais.

BULLSHOT the movie has been released as a DVD in the U.S.A. by Image Entertainment and will also be included in a HandMade DVD Box Set that Image is bringing out soon. The DVD of this movie is available on Amazon

The play BULLSHOT CRUMMOND is based on a spoof of the Bulldog Drummond novels and has had successful presentations in London, New York, San Francisco (where it ran for four years) and Los Angeles. Diz conceived of this play when she found a Bulldog Drummond novel in an antique bookstore in the Portobello Road in London. She ‘saw’ that a play could come from this book if it was given a ‘Noir B movie’ treatment on stage, complete with movie-style drama stings of music and thirties-style shadows. BULLSHOT CRUMMOND is published by Samuel French Play Scripts and there have be have been numerous first run, amateur and stock productions of it licensed in dozens of countries around the world.

Subsequently, Showtime Network filmed BULLSHOT CRUMMOND as a comedy special and it was nominated for an Ace Cable Award.

Diz starred in the short movie TOO MUCH OREGANO (Feltham Films) which won for BEST SHORT in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

In her solo acting career Diz guest starred in STAR TREK -The Next Generation, COMEDY BREAK and THE (MIS) ADVENTURES OF FIONA PLUM (a U.S. pilot with British actress Kelly Brook). These shows were among numerous other guest appearances that Diz has made for television.

Diz has also starred in, written and performed voice over work in many other television and movie projects.

In addition to her on-camera acting for television and film Diz has also performed voice over, narration and animation work for numerous television and film productions.

She has performed voice over work for the film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2011, and for TITANIC which won for best picture at the Oscars, also for SHREK, FROST NIXON, GLADIATOR, 101 and 102 DALMATIANS and BRUCE ALMIGHTY among many other films.

In television she has performed voice over work for ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, FRIENDS, BOSTON LEGAL, and J.A.G., among many other T.V. shows.

Diz is currently developing a new comedy play which has had two workshop productions to date at the Chandler Theatre in Hollywood and is also performing voice work as a regular in the Japanese Anime series HUNTIK.

She is also developing an IPAD App for COTSWOLDS MEMOIR – Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage which will combine the text of her travel tour memoir of the Cotswolds with footage shot by her DVD production company. Diz is starting work soon on an audio/Internet streaming version of COTSWOLDS MEMOIR and is also part way into writing a sequel of this book.

In addition Diz has completed a treatment based on COTSWOLDS MEMOIR and is currently developing it as a film.

Diz divides her time between Hollywood in the U.S.A. and the Cotswolds in England. (Contd. Below)

OTHER T.V. SHOWS AND DVDS that feature Diz White’s work (Partial list).

FOOTLIGHT FRENZY was produced as a play in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The play was adapted as a comedy special for SHOWTIME NETWORK.

Diz co-wrote and starred in both the play and the Showtime Comedy Special. FOOTLIGHT FRENZY is published by Samuel French Playscripts.

THE LOW MOAN SPECTACULAR was produced by ABC Network in the U.S.

Diz co-wrote and starred in this one hour sketch comedy special.


Diz co-wrote and co-produced this half hour children’s home entertainment DVD