Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Peaks Revisited, Part V: Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall, the beautifully-preserved medieval manor house near Bakewell in Derbyshire, was first known to me from the Joseph Nash print of Elizabethan reveling in Haddon's fourteenth-century banqueting hall. Nash's print of the hall, with its minstrel's gallery, was appropriately featured on the cover of Jethro Tull's classic 1975 album Minstrel in the Gallery. A copy of the print also hangs in our dining room in Northfield. It was a thrill to stand in the actual room, although the revelers had been replaced with sedate mannequins wearing the costumes of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. It was during a night of Elizabethan reveling, so the story goes, that Dorothy Vernon, the daughter of the Catholic lord of Haddon Hall, eloped with the upstart Protestant peer Sir John Manners. The story of the elopement may be fanciful, but it's true that Dorothy's father objected to her marriage to Manners. In time, however, he overcame his objections, and on his death Haddon Hall passed into the hands of Dorothy and her husband.

Sir John Manners was the son of the first Earl of Rutland, and in the seventeenth century, the Manners family closed up Haddon Hall like a time capsule and withdrew to their much grander home, Belvoir Castle, further east in Nottinghamshire. Then, in the 1920s, the 9th Duke of Rutland reopened Haddon Hall, much of which is unchanged since the Middle Ages. The family chapel still has magnificent medieval wall paintings (though these have faded to a monochrome, as in the example at left), and the kitchen was never modernized in the Victorian era, as is the case in so many historic homes that one can visit in England. Haddon Hall is currently the home of Sir Edward John Francis Manners, the second son of the 10th Duke of Rutland—and the thirty-first generation of the family who have owned Haddon Hall since the twelfth century. His elder brother, the 11th Duke, lives at Belvoir Castle.

This is the last installment in the series "The Peaks Revisited."

1 comment:

Becky said...

I was led here from LibraryThing. How lovely to see photos of Haddon Hall, one of my favourite buildings.