Sunday, 30th June 2019
|Haddon Hall Entrance Great Hall Kitchen Parlour Great Chamber Long Gallery Gardens Chapel Goodbye Thank You Maps+Refs Read Me|
Haddon Hall is a fortified medieval manor house, its origins going back to the 11th century. The present Haddon Hall can best be described as a mix of mediaeval and Tudor architecture, having been built in various stages between the 13th and 17th centuries. Haddon Hall is Grade I listed; its estate and gardens are separately listed at Grade I as being of Special Historic Interest. With all this history, it's not surprising that Haddon Hall has provided the historical setting for many films.
The important attraction of Haddon Hall is that it has survived unscathed the various political and religious events such as Cromwell's Puritanism and the change-over from the Roman Catholic Church to the Church of England. It has also avoided the changes in style from traditional to the Palladian (e.g. Robert Adam's influence) such as beset London's Osterley Park. Importantly, it also avoided the restoration zeal of the Victorians. In 1703, the 1st Duke of Rutland and his family made Belvoir Castle their main residence, and Haddon Hall remained dormant until the 1920s when the 9th Duke of Rutland realized Haddon Hall's importance and began a programme of carefully executed restoration.
Haddon Hall lies on the River Wye, about two miles south east of the centre of Bakewell in Derbyshire. (See this Link.) Today, the Hall is one of the seats of the Duke of Rutland and is currently occupied by his brother, Lord Edward Manners, and family. The Hall is part of the group of independent "Historic Houses".
Haddon Hall is built around two courtyards, appropriately called the upper and lower courtyards. Today, as mentioned, relatives of the owners of Haddon Hall live in part of the Hall. The main features which we, as visitors, saw of Haddon Hall, were the following.
The visitors' entrance to Haddon Hall is from the A6. We pass the sign welcoming us to Haddon Hall; the sign bears the "Arms of Manners, Duke of Rutland". We cross the River Wye over a traditional bridge, all the while enjoying our first view of Haddon Hall. We arrived early, so we enjoy coffee and toast in the restaurant above the old stables and coach house. The doors of the Principal Entrance, beneath one of the north towers, duly open at the stated time of 10:30, and we proceed to the lower courtyard of Haddon Hall. All the while, we admire our mediaeval surroundings.
The first "room" in Haddon Hall which we enter is the Banqueting Hall. In many houses this would be called the "Great Hall" and it was where the master and mistress and their household would congregate and eat their meals in a formal setting. In mediaeval times, before the arrival of dedicated kitchens, there would, in the centre of the "Great Hall", usually be an open fire to provide warmth and often the facility to roast an ox or wild boar. There would also be, as at Haddon Hall, a minstrel gallery to provide the music for those attending the banquet. There would often be an additional room, or solar, to which the master and mistress could retire after the banquet.
At Haddon Hall, the banqueting hall and its minstrels' gallery, the kitchens and the parlour, all date from 1370. At that time, dedicated kitchens were becoming part of manor houses.
The kitchen in any country house was usually a hive of industry. It had to be, in order to keep the noble owners of the house, their guests and the servants, well dined and wined! Meat was roasted and bread and pastries were produced. Herbs from the herb garden were required. Vegetables and fruit were also on the menu. Syllabubs and cheeses added dairy produce to what was often a multi-course menu. Much dining and wining!
For less formal occasions, the Parlour would be the dining room instead of the Banqueting Hall. The leaded windows bear two coats of arms represented in colourful stained glass. On the left, the circular shield represents many generations and parts of the Vernon family, including the Vernons themselves, Avenell and Manners. On the right is an example of the old royal coat of arms bearing the lions and the French "fleur-de-lys".
The Great Chamber at Haddon Hall was a Solar or Solarium, otherwise known as "an upper chamber of a mediaeval house". The name "Solar" derives from the sun. It was completed between 1540 and 1567 and served as a drawing room. Tapestries, wood beamed ceiling, the bay window and plaster frieze are ingredients for the ascetic enjoyment of this room.
The Long Gallery at Haddon Hall was innovative in that its design extended into the Garden. The exterior arches in the Fountain Terrace below were echoed by the balustrades on the interior panelling of the Long Gallery. The Gallery was designed for exercise, especially in inclement weather, as were the long galleries in many country houses. "Long and light" are the descriptions characterizing the Long Gallery at Haddon Hall. The Long Gallery dates from about 1600 and was one of the last rooms to be completed at Haddon Hall.
The coats of arms of the Vernon and Manners families, with boar's head and peacock respectively, cover the panelled walls and appear on the panes of the windows. The three large windows overlook the gardens. At the end of the Long Gallery we found the small wooden doorway leading to the ante-room and the state bedroom (minus bed) and to the gardens.
The terraced 17th century gardens can be regarded as an English interpretation of a 16th century Italian garden. From the following Link you can see that the main formal gardens are arranged around the eastern corner of the hall in two terraces which are connected by balustraded steps. The lower terrace contains the fountain, a refreshing aspect for the house's owners in Tudor times. The upper terrace contains a 17th century summer house and the knot garden.
This chapel is dedicated to St Nicholas. It was originally Nether Haddon's parish church and somehow became incorporated into Haddon Hall! Wall paintings, the East Window and the screen behind the altar are all from the 15th century. However, parts of the Chapel were already built during the reign of our mutual friend, William the Conqueror. Fast forward now, and we see in the nave, the monument to Lord Haddon, who died aged 9, in 1894.
Haddon Hall is worth several re-visits, because one just cannot absorb the wealth of historical and artistic detail in one go. However, here is a last set of pictures which take in again some of the views and items we may have seen earlier. The message certainly is, "Please come again"!
Thank you, Michelle, for suggesting a visit to Haddon Hall, a historical and cultural gem in the heart of England. Thank you indeed for a nice visit. Both of us saw and learnt new things. That's what life is about!