With Wolf Hall in full media swing, the Tudors have never been so popular, and a visit to Haddon Hall, near Bakewell, this season will more than satisfy the appetite of any Tudor enthusiast.
Described by historian Simon Jenkins as ‘the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages’, Haddon’s exceptional circumstances - lying dormant for over two hundred years from the 1700s to the early 20th century - left its Tudor past intact from the time of the 16th century Vernon and Manners families, whose ancestors still live in the house today.
Glorious examples of Haddon’s ancient architecture include the magnificent Long Gallery, reputedly designed by the prominent 16th century architect Robert Smythson - whose work was behind the design of many of the country’s important later Tudor (Elizabethan) houses, including Hardwick Hall, Longleat and Wollaton Hall.
Haddon’s Long Gallery interior of crafted oak panelling, including details of fish scales, crenellations, flowers and fruit, sit by the peacock of the Manners and boar’s head of the Vernons.
Other fine examples of Tudor architecture around the hall include rooms such as the panelled parlour with Tudor Roses and Talbot dogs embellishing the ceiling, the unspoiled Tudor kitchen with its stone bread ovens, chopping blocks, and water troughs and the magnificent Banqueting Hall with its impressive panelled fireplace.
Haddon is also decorated with one of the finest collection of early English furniture in the country, with many of the pieces still positioned in situ from the day they were crafted. Each year as part of Haddon Hall’s events programme, the Tudor Group - featuring Tudor historian and TV presenter Ruth Goodman – base themselves within Haddon’s walls on key dates throughout the season to entertain visitors with re-enactments of life from Tudor times. Over the Bank Holiday weekend of May 23-25, see the Tudor Group celebrate Whitsun, with displays of pastimes including dance, music, food and drink enjoyed around this ancient May holiday.
Haddon Hall opens for 2015 on April 1, and tours exploring the development of Haddon Hall are available for groups, by appointment. See www.haddonhall.co.uk