Sunday, 26 June 2011

Haddon Hall revisited

I have been looking back through my photos and thought I would step back in time to when we visited Haddon Hall, a year or so ago. It really is so unspoilt, mainly because no-one occupied it for any length of time for about 200 years following the Civil War. In consequence, much of the original furniture remains and the buildings haven't been "modernized".

Here is the approach to the castle, with the loveliest little cottage with topiary in the garden.

The stable block has now been changed to provide toilet facilities and an excellent cafe. I forgot to mention, that that's a wasps' nest inbetween the window uprights . . .

The entrance to the hall, which sets the scene for what you will find inside.

Inside the chapel: Fresco of St Christopher dating from the early 15th century when Richard Vernon VI commissioned them. During the Reformation these were plastered over and then whitewashed. They were not uncovered until the 9th Duke of Rutland had restoration work carried out at the hall during the early years of the 20th century.

The wonderful Reredos is made from Nottingham alabaster and dates from the 15th Century, although it was bought by the 9th Duke in 1933. Originally it contained 11 panels showing scenes from the Passion, but now only 9 are displayed.

A Golden Hop (I think!) growing up the wall prompted me to add one of these to my "wanted" list of garden plants.

Looking across the courtyard from the entrance to King John's Wall.

View of the High Table in the Banqueting Hall. The French tapestry shows the Royal Arms of England and it is said that it was presented to the Vernon family by Henry VIII.

The kitchens are totally unspoilt and date from the 14th century, with the Buttery, the Pantry and various other side rooms. I would love to go on one of the Tudor cookery courses they hold here.

House in the original Milk Larder are a fine collection of 'dole' cupboards. Houses such as Haddon would put one of these outside of the house filled with food and leftovers from the kitchen and for passing traders or Estate workers to make use of. That so many have survived to add to the collection is amazing, since they were outside in all weathers for many years. So now you know the meaning of the expression, "on the dole".

The huge lump of tree was a chopping block in the Butchery . . .

Just look at the step, quite worn away in the middle, from countless feet stepping onto it.

A view through the window into the private courtyard and buildings which aren't open to the public.

A bouquet of beautiful flowers from the gardens. Allium and Larkspur.

Looking up in the Banqueting Hall.

The far end of the Long Gallery.

The odd "hinge" on the bottom of the door is so that it will swing shut after being opened.

A close-up of the ancient chest at the end of the Long Gallery. It is an oak dowry or vestment chest dating from the 15th c. The arms of the Vernons and other related families decorate the front.

Another of the treasures of the house.

Another of the Dole cupboards.


  1. What an amazing house. One on my list to visit, if we ever go in that direction. The dole cupboards are interesting. Now I know where "dole" comes from. One of those expressions you use for years without thinking of its origins.

    Your OH must have been in seventh heaven admiring all the beautiful old carpentry and wood carving.

    Thank you for a lovely "virtual visit"!

  2. Don't you wonder how it would be to conduct daily life in such a huge space? I'm thinking that the pantry or buttery are probbly bigger than my whole compact kitchen and dining area. I also think how impossible it would be to keep an area comfortably warm in cold weather. Do footsteps and voices echo?

  3. It is years since we visited Haddon Hall but these photos brought it all back. I don't know anywhere with more atmosphere.

  4. Such history! I tried to picture myself cooking in that enormous space, and I cannot. Although, in our defense, there was not just ONE cook in that kitchen - there was a staff of cooks and bakers! Seeing this makes me want to hurry our visit there!


  5. Wonderful items in Haddon Hall. Brings back many happy memories. I wish they had preserved Thornbridge Hall over in Ashford-in-the-Water like that. That's where I attended college in the late 50's. It isn't a college any more, but it had a beautiful entrance hall and gorgeous gardens.


  7. I'm glad you all enjoyed it. ASM- you just wait - it's the GARDEN photos today!!!

  8. Haddon Hall has always been my favourite 'stately home', I've always felt that I could live there, it has a welcoming feel about it. I'm lucky to live close enough to visit whenever I want to:)

  9. Stones carries the spirits of ages. Ancient sentinels weathering the aeons, outlasting all other signs people gone, carrying ghosts of other things - things otherwise forgotten, and in some case best remaining buried, lost in time.