Sunday, 30 September 2012

Big ol' Homes -- Haddon Hall and Hardwick Hall

We topped off a fairly laid back weekend with a quick tour of a couple of manor homes on Sunday.  Saturday was supposed to be the better weather day but we had various appointments set up so we were stuck with Sunday.  Fortunately, the weather held out (and we stayed mainly inside) so good times. 

Haddon Hall is about 40 minutes away near Bakewell (B).  Since it didn't open until noon we figured that would be it for the day, but we had a little extra time so we zipped over to Hardwick Hall as well (C).

Haddon Hall has been on my list for awhile but we haven't made it there until today.  (I'm sure having to pay to get it had something to do with it.  It's still privately owned).  Some pretty funky shrubbery to greet us.  Love the warthog.

Haddon Hall was owned by the Vernon family and later the Manners (by marriage, never sold).   The home is one of the seats of the Duke of Rutland though I admit I don't even try to keep up with that.  I tried to see if they were later rivals with the Bess of Hardwick clan since they were relatively near by, but it didn't sound like it.

The building has been used in various films (Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Elisabeth, etc.) but I got a kick out of the fact that it was Prince Humperdinck's castle in the Princess Bride.

Impressive entrance tower.  Not technically a fortress though.

The courtyard into the main house.  Haddon Hall (wiki) dates back to the 12th century and is one "of the finest examples of a medieval home".  It did seem to have a nice, older feel to it. 

A wall?  Not just any wall -- parts of the wall actually date back to the 1100's.  The estate was given permission to build the wall from John-before-he-was-Magna-Carta-King-John (though there were restrictions on how high it could be so it wouldn't become a fortress).  It's easy to get numbed to the old stuff here, but this was really old!

another shot from the courtyard and then it was on to the house

early kitchen counters

they actually had a place to tack someone to the wall in the banquet room if their drinking got out of hand

outside in the garden for a spell -- great views as most of these homes have

down along the river and a very old footbridge

a nice shot of the house from the garden

garden and countryside

interesting hall of fame above the fireplace -- royalty only may apply (sign)

Queen Mary

and again on a return visit with . . . 

King George (King's Speech guy)

Kuk checking out the signatures

check out this old 3-legged chair -- looks like it requires some balancing, particularly in its current state

 a cute little piano from 1289 (supposedly, I did not confirm); notice the dried thistle which is a polite way of saying don't sit here

interesting carving to say the least, reminded us for our trip to the Louvre and . . .

. . . the sister's pic

cool 3-D glasswork (from the inside)

and the outside

We had a nice walk through the house and grounds which took about 1.5 hours.  Not sure it was worth £27.50 for the family, but it was unique compared to some of the others.  Given the short duration, we decided to tick off another on our list and visit Hardwick Hall.

On the way there, we past through Chesterfield which is famous for it's crooked spire.   Neither the twist nor the lean were by design!  (folks didn't always engineer things perfectly you know).  Some of the theories include that there were few skilled craftsmen when it was built due to the plague and the addition of lead 300 years later caused uneven heating from the sun. 

[photo from the web as I didn't feel like stopping as we passed]

And here we are at Hardwick Hall.  You may recall that we went to Hardwick (Old) Hall next door in January (link).   The "new" hall (still late 1500's mind you) was closed so we thought we'd see it today.

I'll not repeat the details, but ole Bess of Hardwick was a tough, smart cookie who also new how to marry well.  Her family owned Hardwick Hall(s), Chatsworth and had ties to Bolsover Castle as well.  She's buried in Derby Cathedral, btw.

The house itself was not a big hit for us, largely because it was so dark inside (preservation reasons).   Cuts back on the photos as well.   But, it was free with our NT membership so we aren't complaining.  [we might actually like the ruined Old Hall better]

very large coat of arms above the fire place

think you can go to sleep with that in your bedroom?

 Queen Elisabeth I.  (I thought it was Bess of Hardwick at first-- they look somewhat similar)

Jesus on the ceiling -- that should punch your ticket

cracked us up -- we are always looking for hairy cows

Photo of the Old Hall next door for good measure

My buddy Jay did a nice write-up on the Hardwick Halls if you'd like some more info and photos:  link.

Hundred bucks says that a guy does not own this car.

Light on the historical facts this week.  More of a carefree casual stroll.  Hope you still enjoyed it.

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