Next up: Haddon Hall. Located a short drive from Chatsworth my friend and I went there on the same day after having had that memorable afternoon tea.
Haddon Hall was a favourite of mine even before I visited it since it happens to portray Thornfield Manor in the best adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the one with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. It also features in one of the worst adaptations – the one with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg (not their fault – mainly the script’s fault…) and yet it is from this adaptation I found a long clip that shows both the gardens and the interiors of Haddon Hall:
It is quite perfect as the gothic setting required by Jane Eyre so you can understand why it’s been used twice as Thornfield.
The house is rather big though it comes across as quite intimate perhaps because of its two courtyards that split the house into two distinct parts – one with a chapel and one with the larger stately rooms. As you see it’s situated on a hill and easily defendable in medieval times, and its most ancient parts do date from the 12th Century. The family, Manners – Dukes of Rutland, who own Haddon Hall didn’t live there from the beginning of the 18th Century up till the 1920s when the then Duke began to gently restore the house. This fortunate neglect left Haddon Hall in its original state in contrast to many other country houses that have been refurbished not to say rebuilt during 18th and 19th Centuries.
Here are some of the pictures I took:
This is the entrance which leads to the lower courtyard. The tower is, if I may refer to Jane Eyre again, the perfect setting for the Mad Woman in the Attic – you could just see her jump from those battlements, right?
Gothic indeed but also quite low and cute in its proportions. This is from the lower courtyard which leads to both the chapel, the small museum (which is quite hopeless with its dusty exhibition cases filled with corks and old newspaper bits found under the floors during the restorations) and the rest of the house.
The chapel had some very nice frescoes and gargoyles aaaand it smelled foully of bat droppings since this very special kind of bats had decided to live there and they were allowed to because of their rareness.
This is the long gallery. Our guide book claimed that galleries like this were made in Elizabethan times for people to exercise in walking up and down. And why not? It’s a beautiful space with light coming through leaded windows from three sides.
The garden was a beautiful Elizabethan terraced garden with a wonderful view over the hills of the Peak District.
This was all in all a very sympathetic place and right from the gate keeper to the shop assistant we were greeted pleasantly. The house itself was a quiet and pleasant gothic dream (if such there be…). After the masses of people at Chatsworth it was refreshing to go to a simpler and more relaxed place.
I can’t recommend Haddon Hall enough!