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Chance to visit landscaped gardens and learn about French philosopher who wrote there

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 24, 2014

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LANDSCAPED gardens at a former residence of one of France’s most celebrated revolutionary political philosophers are being opened to organised group tours in April and May.

Wootton Hall, near Ashbourne, currently the home of Johnny and Laura Greenall, was once a refuge for Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Jean-Jacques has been acknowledged as an extraordinary man whose political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological, and educational thought.

He was born in Geneva on 28 June 1712.

His mother died when he was young, and Rousseau was initially brought up by his father, a watchmaker.

He left Geneva aged 16 and travelled around France, where he met his benefactress, the Baronnesse de Warens, who gave him the education that turned him into a philosopher.

He was also a pioneering and influential botanist and, while in England during an exile from persecution in France in the mid-1700s, he was given refuge at Wootton, which was at the time home to Richard Davenport, a friend of Rousseau’s associate philosopher, David Hume.

At Wootton, Rousseau compiled an inventory of local flora +as well as writing The Confessions, an autobiographical book penned in a small ‘den’ known as Rousseau’s Cave, the remains of which can still be seen.

Johnny and Laura Greenall own the award-winning Duncombe Arms pub in Ellastone and are offering guided tours of their Wootton gardens for parties of eight or more from Monday to Friday with a two-course lunch at the pub

The tour costs £20 per person and can be booked by calling 01335 324275 or email hello@duncombearms.co.uk

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