A Day in The Peak

Bakewell Church, Haddon Hall, and Chatsworth

By Andreas Edward Cokayne

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013


Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall

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Haddon Hall Page Header

HADDON HALL is picturesquely situated on a lime-stone rock, rising steeply from the east bank of the River Wye, midway between Bakewell and Rowsley. This pile of buildings is undoubtedly one of the most perfect specimens of mediaeval domestic architecture extant. Built at various dates - altered and added to - from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries it probably owes its present condition to the fact of its never having been fortified, and therefore never having invited or defied the attacks of artillery in troublous times. It was, however strengthened by a curtain wall, for defence.

The north-western entrance-tower was built very early in the sixteenth century, probably by Sir Henry Vernon, who died in 1515, and completed and decorated by his grandson Sir George Vernon, who left to his posterity a great name, and left, too, his mark on the Hall by the important additions he made to it. Adjoining this entrance-tower is an archway leading into the grounds, which is generally used as the place of exit by visitors. Here will be noticed the Manners and Vernon Arms with a legend over the shield. Collins, in his Peerage, vol. viii. p. 222, says of the “King of the Peak” - Sir George Vernon - “He died seised of thirty manors, and

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left two daughters, one married to Manners, of the Duke of Rutland's family, by which Haddon came to them; in honourable remembrance of which, there is wrote over the entrance into the house, God save the Vernons; and the Vernon's crest being a boar's head, used to be served up, with a song, every Christmas”.

And the tens of thousands of visitors here may well say “God save the Manners”, as the Manners said of the Vernons - “God save the Vernons”. For, generation after generation, as one Duke of Rutland succeeds another, the same generous kindness is extended to the public to freely visit and enjoy this charming old Hall, and it is earnestly to be hoped that, more and more, the thousands who are thus permitted to enjoy this great privilege, will regard and respect the old building, carefully avoiding the slightest damage or thoughtless injury to a stone of its fabric, or a plant or shrub or flower in its precincts.

No one, I think, can go through Haddon Hall without a feeling of gratitude to the noble owner, who so generously allows it to be visited by the public; but who is at the same time jealous of its safety and preservation.

The fifth Duke of Rutland, in 1851, personally received the British Archaeological Association within its walls, and on that occasion His Grace observed: “I think there is no man who holds a possession, more proud of that possession than I am of this Hall ...... I will also take the liberty to add, though it may be considered out of place for me to do so, that I do not think there is a mansion in the kingdom which deserves or invites more attention than Haddon Hall”. At the same time the Duke produced for inspection

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“a Charter of John, Earl of Morton, afterwards King John, in the form of a writ, directed to his justices, sheriffs, bailiffs, &c., licensing Richard Vernon to fortify his house of Haddon with a wall to the height of twelve feet, without 'kernel' or battlements”. Thus defining that it should not be fortified as a castle. “Kernel” is the old English word for “crenelle”, which means the embrasures and loop-holes in the walls of a fortress. A Royal Licence was always necessary to “crenellate”.

The old Norman house would be much smaller than the present one, and the strong defensive wall, broad enough for sentinels to traverse, would make up and enclose the existing area. Portions of this wall may be seen on the south side, and the additions to the house observed to extend over the old line. The lower part of the north wall is also a portion of this curtain wall, the inner corbels of which may be seen in one of the rooms or offices. The north-east gateway and tower, part of the eastern building, and the southern aisle of the Chapel are the oldest existing portions. The Great Hall was built about 1320, and the Porch to it added half a century later. The Chapel turret was erected about the middle of the fifteenth century, and the steps adjoining, leading from the Earl's Bed-room, Drawing-room, &c., were erected a century later, namely about 1550.

It may be desirable to give this little bit of history. William the Conqueror gave Haddon to his natural son William Peveril - Sir Walter Scott's “Peveril of the Peak”, - who resided here; and it remained in his family until the reign of Henry II., who deprived the then possessor (probably his grandson) of his honours and

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lands, he having fled to avoid the king's vengeance for poisoning Ralph Gernon, Earl of Chester, an adherent of Matilda, the king's mother. The Avenells were the next possessors, from whom it eventually passed to the Vernon family by the marriage of Avicia Avenell to Richard Vernon, circa 1195. Arthur, Prince of Wales, resided for some time at Haddon, Sir Henry Vernon, who died in 1451,[1] having been appointed his governor by Henry VII. with whom he was a favourite. Collins says, (Peerage v. viii, p, 221), “Sir Henry Vernon, who became Lord of Haddon, Harleston, Haselbeach, Netherseale and Spernore, and was Governor and Treasurer to Prince Arthur, eldest son and heir apparent of Hen. VII. (at whose creation he was made a Knight of the Bath): as also his Counsellor for the management of Wales, and 15th Hen. VII. signed the marriage - articles between that Prince and the Princess Catherine of Spain. The tradition is, that the Prince frequently lived with Sir Henry, at Haddon, in com. Derby, where was an apartment called the ‘Prince's Chamber’, with his arms cut in several places therein. He married Lady Anne Talbot, daughter of John, second Earl of Shrewsbury, and by her, who died May 17, 1494, and was buried at Tonge, had issue six sons”.

The last of the Vernons who resided here kept a large retinue of servants - “fourscore” it is said. Under their successors - the Manners, this number was increased, so it is recorded, to one hundred and forty, and the house was kept open for twelve days at Christmas in the true style of old English hospitality. Lysons, in their “History of Derbyshire”, (page 29) give some particulars, and extracts which I will reprint here:- It appears by the

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following extracts from the bailiff's accounts, that John, the eighth Earl of Rutland, [father of the first Duke of Rutland], who died at Haddon in 1679, kept an open Christmas at this mansion in 1663:

Paid George wood the cook, for helping in the pastry all Christmas300
Paid Robert Swindell for helping at the like work all Christmas, and two weeks150
Paid William Green the cook, for helping in the kitchen all Christmas100
Paid Anthony Higton, turn-spit, for helping all Christmas030
Paid W. Creswick for pulling fowls and poultry all Christmas036
Paid Catherine Sprig for helping the scullery-maid all Christmas030
Paid Thos. Shaw, the piper, for piping all ditto200
Given by my Honourable Lord and Lady's command, to Thos. Shaw's man0100
Given by their Honors' command to Richard Blackwell, the dancer0100
Given by their Honors' command to Ottiwell Bramwell, the dancer0100
Given by their Honors' command to Ottiwell Bramwell's kinswomen, for dancing050

“About this time, from 1660 to 1670, although the family resided chiefly at Belvoir, there were generally killed and consumed every year at Haddon, between 30 and 40 beeves, between 400 and 500 sheep, and 8 or 10 swine”.

The old festive doings in Haddon Hall are now things of the past; the wassail bowl, the baron of beef, and the boar's head are gone for ever; but the mansion, though unoccupied and dismantled, remains a venerable relic of a past age, and enables us to imagine the rude magnificence, profuse hospitality, domestic arrangements, life, and customs of an important family of the olden time.

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Sir George Vernon, the celebrated “King of the Peak”, the last of his name who resided here (and who, with his two wives, is so characteristically pourtrayed in effigy on their fine altar-tomb in Bakewell Church), was a man of great importance and power in his day; and as the elder of his two daughters and heirs died a year or so after her marriage to Sir Thomas Stanley, the great possessions of this worthy Knight chiefly passed into the hands of his other daughter (Dorothy) who had married John ( afterwards Sir John) Manners, younger son of the Earl of Rutland; a marriage which has cast a halo of romance for all time around these venerable walls, associated as they, must be, in the mind of every visitor - be he artist, poet, historian, painter, student, or what not - with the name of the celebrated Dorothy Vernon.

The Vernon family lived at Haddon Hall certainly from 1195 to 1567, a period of three hundred and seventy-two years; and it still remains in the possession of a descendant of that family - His Grace the Duke of Rutland, whose predecessors at the close of the seventeenth century left it residentially for their princely seat at Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire.

There was, however, a brief but remarkable interregnum in this long possession of nearly four centuries. Their long reign was not quite undisturbed, at all events in the Vernon name; for in the time of Henry III, Haddon was held for thirteen years by Gilbert Franceys, direct from the Crown. This looks like some temporary dispute or quarrel between the King and his powerful subject, the then lord of Haddon, which was however happily of short duration. It should, however, be noted that the Brothers

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Ground and Garden Plan of Haddon
Ground and Garden Plan of Haddon

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Lysons in their “Derbyshire” state that Richard Vernon who married Avicia de Avenell, had one child, a daughter, who married Gilbert de Franceys, and that their son Richard assumed the name of Vernon and became ancestor of the future lords of Haddon. This appears to account for and fill up the apparent breach in the Vernon continuity, and is most probably accurate.

The approximate dates of the several portions of the building may thus be given: “The south aisle of the chapel, the walls, or some of them, of the north-east tower, and portions of walls in the south front, before 1250: the great hall and offices, the hall porch, lower west window of chapel, repairs to and rebuilding of portions of north-east tower, and some work in upper court under long gallery, between 1300 and 1380: the eastern portion of the chapel, the rebuilding of the upper portion of the west end of the chapel and repairs thereto, and the buildings on the east side of the upper court, between 1380 and 1470: fittings and furnishings of the Dining Room, the western range of buildings, and the western end of the north range, 1470 to 1550: the range of offices in north front, alterations of east buildings in upper court, the long gallery and the gardens and terrace, the pulpit and desk and pews in the chapel, the barn and bowling green, after 1550”. This is, practically, the conclusion arrived at by Mr. Henry Duesbury, as recorded in his paper on Haddon Hall contributed to the British Archaeological Association Journal, 1851. Mr. Duesbury also wrote in 1837, a supplement to “Rayner's Haddon Hall”, with ground plan, illustrations of the wood panelling in the long gallery and the dining room, and of the metal work - the fire-dogs, hinges and handles of doors, &c.

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The lower or basement story of the building includes:

The upper and lower entrances in their respective towers, Porter's room, Steward's room, Waiting-room, Chapel, Hall, Dining-room, Kitchen, Larders, Pantries, Buttery, Wine cellar, Bakehouse, Granary, Stables, and many other apartments and offices. The upper story comprises Drawing-room, Ante-room or Earl's Dressing-room, Earl's Bed-room, Page's-room; the long Gallery or Ball-room, Ante chamber, State Bed-room, Dressing-room, &c. There are also the Chaplain's rooms, Butler's bed room, Steward's bed-room, and many other small rooms, Closets, and Wardrobes - as they used to be named.

The approach to the Hall is by a picturesque bridge of three arches over the Wye; beyond which is the pretty cottage of the warden of this ancient mansion, by whom and her assistants every attention is given to visitors. In the garden will be noticed yew trees cut into the shape of the Boar's Head and Peacock - the crest of the Vernon and Manners families. Every convenience is afforded for horses and carriages. Rooms are also provided for the accommodation of tea and luncheon parties; all by the generous permission of His Grace the Duke of Rutland, who pays a visit to the Hall every year.

On approaching the principal entrance the visitor will observe the arms of the Vernon, Pype, and other families, on stone shields; and, below, the deep hollow of the stone, apparently made by repeated stepping through the portal. Under the arch of this entrance is the enormous hoop of an old mash tub; and the porter's lodge with its ancient bedstead.

A flight of steps leads into the court yard. This, it should be stated, was not (except, perhaps, for pedestrians)

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the main entrance used in the olden time, which was through the gateway in the upper court-yard under the eagle or Peveril's tower, whence the road towards Bakewell formerly went, the present high-road being modern: in old times the roadway in this direction was broken and impassable, except with difficulty.

Central Column and Norman Font
Central Column and Norman Font

Proceeding along the lower side of the quadrangle, the visitor is shown what by some strange misnomer is called the Chaplain's room. It contains an old carbine or musket, a buckskin doublet, two pairs of horseman's boots, an old dinner service of pewter dishes and plates; pistol holsters; a hunting horn, and other antiquities. Adjoining the porter's lodge, this was probably a waiting-room. The Chaplain's - room was really in the storey above.

The visitor is next conducted to the Chapel, which forms the south-west angle of the building. This chapel consists of a nave, with aisles, and a chancel. The entrance is through an archway into the north aisle, which is narrower than the one opposite, and probably of more recent date. On the right band side is a stoup for holy water about four hundred years old. The south aisle and the round central column are the oldest parts of the Chapel, and are of the Norman period; of which date is also the font, to which and to the central pillar with mutilated capital, attention should be directed. The lower west window, and north arcade, are of the date of about 1300. The upper west window, the chancel and the south arcade, (except the central pillar), are supposed to have been built by Sir Richard Vernon, whose name appears in the inscription on the glass of the east window, with the date

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1427. The stained glass in the windows of this chapel was formerly of remarkable beauty, but early in the present century the greater portion of it was mysteriously stolen in the night-time and it is supposed taken to the Continent, where oftentimes valuable and curious reliques are picked up by travellers.[2] In the east window is a picture of the Crucifixion, and it also contains figures of the Virgin Mary and S. John, and fragments of coloured glass, collected from some of the other windows, and arranged as at present, in 1858, when some of the plaster was chipped from the walls, revealing fresco paintings, probably four or five hundred years old.

These frescoes are now almost defaced, and it is certain they have been in this condition for very many years. It is therefore marvellous to read the interpretation of them

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Haddon Hall Chapel
Haddon Hall Chapel

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given (with illustrations) by Mr. Jewitt, in “Haddon Hall”, by S.C. Hall, F.S.A., and Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A., (published in 1871): “The groups form a series of subjects, and commence with the upper group on the east side of the window. The subject is a presentation of the Virgin in the temple by Joachim and Anna. The three figures remain. Below this is a group, much injured, apparently Anna teaching the Virgin to read, whilst Joachim stands by. The upper group on the west side is a Holy Family. The Virgin holds the infant Jesus in her arms; S. Joseph stands by; S. John the Baptist raises his hands and eyes toward the infant Saviour. Below this is a group, much injured, with four scrolls, and apparently four figures. A female figure, probably the Virgin, seems to be carrying a child, whilst a male figure follows behind. There seem to be indications of a fourth and small figure. The subject appears to be the flight into Egypt, with, contrary to custom, the figure of S. John introduced”.

At the bottom of the east window is this inscription “ORATE PRO ANIMABUS RICARDI VERNON ET BENEDICTE UXORIS EJUS QUE FECERUNT ANNO DNI MILLESIMO CCCCXXVII”. Sir Richard Vernon married Benedicta, daughter of Sir John Ludlow of Hodnet.

Observe the two brackets for effigies, the bracket for a similar purpose in the south aisle, and the piscina in the south wall of the chancel; also the old oak chest with the arms of Vernon and of Pembruge quartering Vernon and Pype.

In a concise and charmingly written account of Haddon Hall, by the present Duchess of Rutland, published in

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the “Queen” Newspaper, 22 Dec. 1888, (with illustrations), Her Grace relates that:- “The father of the present Duke of Rutland mentioned in a journal he wrote of his travels in England, which included a visit to Haddon, several interesting particulars about the chapel. The title deeds of the estate were kept in the chapel in a large wooden chest; and during the Civil Wars the rents were deposited after their collection under the chapel floor beneath the seats devoted to the use of the retainers. The whole congregation was on the ground floor of the chapel, the knight and his sons being on one side of the chancel, and the dame with her daughters on the other”.[3]

In the three lights of the south window of the chancel are fragments of coloured glass and shields of arms, one in the centre having also the inscription MARGARETA PYPE;[4] in another, Vernon impaling ......; the Vernon Boar's head and the Stackpole [or Talbot] lion also appear.

In the north window are figures of the Virgin being taught to read by S. Anne, S. George and the dragon, and S. Michael trampling on a dragon representing Satan.

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The upper stone slab of the east altar, and that of the one in the south aisle, are to be seen on the sites of the former altars. The five consecration crosses remain on these slabs. The doorway between the bell turret and the ancient rood-loft, and a singular squint from this loft in the south wall, were re-opened in 1858.

In the chancel are two large high pews, with gilt panels. one on either side, reaching nearly to the altar, and almost filling the chancel, in which the family and guests sat in later times. At the end of each pew is a fragment of the old rood-screen, in the shape of panels of open carved oak.

The organ-loft or music gallery - a small platform approached by a flight of steps (frequently described without any reason as a “confessional”) - is also a late addition. The instrument of music was probably the “Regal” - a small portable organ much used during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was played with the fingers of the right hand, the left being used to work the bellows.

A very good plan of Haddon Hall, showing the Norman, Fifteenth Century, and Elizabethan buildings, is in “Parker's Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages” - a most excellent work. The brief description of the Chapel given therein is worth quoting: “The Chapel is in the south-west corner, standing at an irregular angle, and partly external to the line of wall. The nave and aisles were built in the latter part of the twelfth century, during the period of transition between the two styles of architecture; the south aisle is wide, and has four lancet windows, two on the side and one at each end; the font is plain, round, late Norman, attached by the plinth to the south pillar of the nave; the north

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aisle is very narrow, and has no windows in it, but an Elizabethan music-gallery has been erected in it. The west window of the nave is in the Early English style, of three lights with trefoiled heads, and the eyes pierced, an early example of very solid plate-tracery. Over this window another has been introduced along with the clerestory at a later period, probably when the roof was rebuilt in 1624, to which time also the pulpit and reading desk belong. The chancel .... is large in proportion to the nave, and is in the Perpendicular style of the early part of the fifteenth century. The east window is of five lights with good tracery, having intersecting arches across the head of the central light: it retains a part of the original painted glass, with some good figures, though much damaged, and in one part of it is an inscription, giving the daet [sic] of 1427. There is a plain piscina; and sedilia are formed in the sill of the south-east window ...... On the north side of the chapel is an elegant belfry-turret of the same period as the chancel, the lower part plain, the upper part of open-work”. The date of this turret is 1450-67.

The flight of steps which we see in the court-yard, on leaving the Chapel, were added for the convenience of access to the state apartments, leading from the Earl's bed-room and page's room, whence also a stone stair-case led up to the embattled wall. These steps were probably added circa 1550.

A stone receptacle for the water from a down-spout in this court was lately noticed to be the lower stone of a Quern, or hand-mill for grinding corn; the indentations or narrow channels radiating from the centre are perceptible, though very much worn; the metal pivot, on which the upper stone revolved, has been broken off.

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The squinches tying the angles of the north-western tower to the sides of the building will be noticed as very remarkable. The inner walls at their junction with the tower are thin, at least in some places, and this squinch work was necessary to give strength and solidity to the structure when the tower was added. The view from its summit is, if anything, finer and more extensive than from the Eagle tower, though of lower elevation. This tower was built circa 1515-50.

The Porch, Haddon Hall
The Porch, Haddon Hall

Passing across this Lower Court-yard, which has a stone pavement, and ascending the three steps which extend across its whole length, thus breaking, as it were, the large bare space, and (the ground on which the Hall is built sloping rather steeply) adding some dignity to the approach, the visitor enters the porch (added circa 1370) of the Great hall, (erected temp. Edward II. 1320) over the door-way of which are two shields of arms - one being that of Vernon, the other that of Pembruge, Lord of Tong, in Shropshire, to which Sir Richard Veruon became entitled in right of his wife. Within the porch is an old Roman altar, which was dug up between Haddon and Bakewell. It is about three feet in height. There is a drawing of it in Lysons' “Derbyshire”, p. ccvi., with the inscription on it:

V    S

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The inscription is now very much defaced and difficult to decipher. The letters in brackets are added by Lysons to complete the words, which may thus be rendered: “To the God Mars, Braciaca, Osittius Caecilianus, Prefect of the First Cohort of the Aquitani, in performance of a vow”; the name Braciaca has been thought by some antiquaries to refer to a place, others, including Dr. Pegge, that it is a surname of Mars.

The porch is the main entrance to the mansion, through the broad passage, whence the Great Hall, Kitchen, &c. are reached, and which provides communication with the upper court through a door at the end, immediately opposite. On the right of this passage is the Great Hall, separated by a carved oak screen; on the left are the door ways leading to the kitchen and other offices. The first of these, on the left, probably the buttery, has an old oak door with a small aperture in the middle (the buttery-hatch) just large enough to pass a trencher through to servants and to persons coming to the hall, who needed refreshments to be handed to them. The second leads down a dark sloping passage into the kitchen, in which may still be seen the immense fire-place, the huge wooden box, generally described as a “salt-box”, but probably used for fuel - the yule-logs of old - chopping blocks, and culinary apparatus, and the salting trough in the larder. The door next beyond the entrance to the kitchen was probably that of the wine-cellar. The cellars are entered by a spacious flight of steps from the Buttery.

The fourth door opens on to a flight of steps leading to the upper rooms of the north wing, many of them hung with tapestry. Here are rooms known by the names of

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Arms of Vernon quartering Avenell
Arms of Vernon quartering Avenell
Arms of Vernon of Sudbury
Arms of Vernon of Sudbury

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Lady Dorothy's, Lady Cranborne's, and Roger Manners' Chambers, the Nursery, &c. Margaret, Lady Cranborne, was daughter of John, Earl of Rutland, and wife of James, 3rd Earl of Salisbury and Viscount Cranborne. A quaint little balustraded gallery in a small quadranguglar opening leads across from one to another of the rooms.

The Great Hall is about thirty-five feet long, by twenty-five feet, wide. It was the old banqueting hall. At the upper end is seen the raised dais and the table at which the lord and his principal guests were seated, whilst the retainers and dependants took their places at tables placed in the body of the hall - ail dining together. The high table is a remarkable specimen of its hind, and a most interesting relic of the past. In those early times (13th century) the floor would be strewn with dried rushes for a carpet - a luxury not then known, and the smoke from the fire would ascend through the louvre in the open raftered roof - fire-places were adopted later. The fire-place is obviously an architectural addition to this building, if noticed from the outside. Along the end of the hall is the minstrels' gallery, the front of which is carved and panelled, and decorated with the antlers of stags; there is also a gallery along one side, which is not a part of the original plan, but has at some later time been added, in order to make a communication between rooms in the north and south wings, probably when the rooms on the north side were built. The immense open chimney and fire-place add to the completeness of one of the finest existing banqueting halls of the olden time. Affixed to the screen at the north end of the hall, immediately inside the entrance from

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the porch-passage, is a primitive kind of hand-lock, fitting upon a staple, and so fashioned as to secure a man's hand whilst ale or other contents of the goblet were poured down the sleeve of his doublet; for in those times it was considered as necessary to do honour to hospitality as it was to dispense it. This punishment was awarded, therefore, when a guest refused to drink his usual quantum. Another tradition says that the punishment was inflicted on those who took too much liquor, which is more reasonable: then water was gently poured into the sleeve.

The pictures now remaining in the hall are of no particular interest. They are described as portraits of a gamekeeper, a wine-cellar keeper, an old retainer of the family (Martin Middleton of Hazlebadge), and a large picture of a racehorse; but it is difficult to identify such pictures. Glover says they represent John Clarke, a huntsman, taken in his ninetieth year; John Ward, a game-keeper, living in 1527; Martin Middleton of Hazlebadge, a tenant, living in 1811, aged 87.

It may be well to state that in 1889 all the pictures in Haddon Hall were carefully cleaned and varnished by order of the 7th Duke of Rutland, and in some of them exquisite colouring has been revealed.

The window in the gable over the dais is an insertion, and the present high-pitched roof modern and incongruous; and as our thoughts are carried back to the period when this Banqueting Hall was built we should remember that then and for long afterwards the windows were not glazed, only shuttered. It was not until the time of Henry VIII that glass was fixed in windows; before then it was fitted

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Arms, Crest, &c. of the Duke of Rutland
Arms, Crest, &c. of the
Duke of Rutland

in frames in the windows and removed from place to place with their luggage, when the family moved. In Parker's “Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages” (vol. i. p. xxix). we read: “That in some cases the method of securing windows was very inefficient appears by an anecdote related by Matthew Paris. When Henry the Third was staying at the manor of Woodstock in the year 1238, a person who feigned insanity made his appearance in the hall, and summoned the king to resign his kingdom; the attendants would have beaten and driven him away, but Henry making light of his conduct ordered them to desist and suffer the man to enjoy his delusions. In the night-time, however, the same individual contrived to enter the royal bed-chamber through a window, and made towards the king's bed with a naked dagger in his hand; luckily the king was in another part of the house and the intruder was discovered and secured. Where windows were externally mere narrow apertures, widely splayed on the inside, it is probable that there were internal shutters; but it is clear from early drawings that shutters frequently opened outwards, being attached by hinges to the head of the window; in such instances they were kept open by props. It would appear that canvas, or a similar material, was occasionally used instead of glass in early times; that it was employed to fill in the windows of churches before they were glazed, as early as the thirteenth century, does not admit of doubt, inasmuch as its application to that purpose is specifically mentioned in the building accounts of Westminster Abbey in the reign of Henry the Third”.

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The doorway at the corner of the ball at the foot of the steps leads on to the terrace by a passage which was formerly included in the Dining-room, into which a door opens on the right hand. This room is characteristic of the period, and like many similar apartments has a sombre appearance. The ceiling is divided by five beams into compartments once coloured and heraldically ornamented, and the room is otherwise rich in the decorations of the age in which it was built, having carved oak wainscoting throughout, excellent in design and workmanship. In the oriel recess are portraits of Henry VII and his Queen, and of the famous court jester Will Somers, with the arms and crests of Vernon and their alliances. Over the fire-place are the royal (Tudor) arms, and below them the motto- “DREDE GOD AND HONOR THE KYNG”. Here, too, is a shield bearing the quarterings of Avenell, Vernon, and others; and the initials of Sir George Vernon and his wife - “G.V.” and “M.V.” - (the name of both wives, Margaret and Maude, beginning with an M, it is doubtful which is here particularly recorded - perhaps both) and the words: ANNO DOMINI 1545, MONSEIGNEUR DE VERNON. The old fire-grate, and the large copper laver, usually described as a wine cooler, are of interest. There is a panel about three feet long over the door, which has somehow got out of place, on which are two Tudor roses on either side the sacred monogram. This, doubtless, has been moved from the chapel.

Turning to the left on entering this fine old Dining-room - a really handsome room of its character - the shields of arms with which it is enriched, are as follow: Treamton

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(a bend engrailed); Gernon (three piles wavy); Vernon (antient): in the window recess - Pype (two pipes between ten crosses croslet); Pembruge (Barry of six), impaling Umfreville (a cinquefoil between eight crosses); Vernon of Harleston (fretty, with a canton), impaling Kyme (a chevron between ten crosses croslet); Spernore (three falcons on as many branches). Over the fire-place - Vernon (antient) impaling Talboys (a saltire and on a chief three escallops); the shield of England (antient) - quarterly 1st and 4th three fleurs-de-lys, 2nd and 3rd three lions passant guardant, supported on the dexter side by a small shield with the plume of feathers and the initials E.P., and on the sinister by a quartered shield of Vernon impaling Talboys with quarterings, namely Vernon - Vernon, Avenell, Stackpole, Durversall, Gernon, Vernon, Camville, Pembruge, Pype, Vernon of Harleston, and Baradon; Talboys (or Tailboys) - Talboys, Kyme, Umfreville and Baradon. This shield has the Lion and Boar as supporters. Next is a shield quarterly of four 1st three escallops, one and two, 4th ditto two and one, 2nd and 3rd chequy. Nearest the window is Stackpole, Opposite the fire-place: Vernon, Vernon of Harleston. Pembruge, and a shield of twelve quarterings, namely Vernon, Avenell, Camville, Stackpole, Durversall, Vernon of Harleston, Treamton, Pembruge, Baradon, Vernon, Pype, Gernon. In circles on each side above this shield is a Boar. Next follow - Pype; Vernon impaling Treamton; Vernon impaling Stackpole; Avenell.

The frescoes in the ceiling which have been partially disclosed by chipping away the plaster and whitewash, are the Talbot Dog, the Tudor Rose, and the antient coat of Vernon.

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From the Great Hall a stone staircase leads to the upper story. On the landing are three pictures, said to be the Reproof of Peter, the Offering up of Isaac, and Time destroying her children.

A door on the right hand opens into the Drawing-room, the walls of which are hung with tapestry concealing (when not hooked back) all the doors, of which one opens into the side gallery of the Great Hall. This room is is larger (being also over the passage) than the Dining-room below it. Both have an oriel window, from which lovely views of the terraces, grounds, and foot-bridge, are obtained. Here is a portrait of Francis Manners, sixth Earl of Rutland, dated 1630. The oriel window is wainscoted in panels, formerly painted and gilt - green and gold. The fire-dogs in the grate, the tapestry, and the deep ornamental frieze (now unhappily whitewashed) round three sides of the room, are worth particular notice. A door at the far end on the left hand communicates with the Earl's Private-room or Dressing-room, which is also hung with tapestry representing wild sports, scriptural subjects, &c., much of which is in confusion, the pieces having been cut and patched. In the Drawing-room, as in some of the other rooms, the old iron hooks for holding back the tapestry from the doors, when so required, will be observed.

The Earl's Bed-room, immediately communicating with the Dressing-room or Ante-room, is fitted up in the same style, the tapestry here representing hunting scenes, etc. The last room of this suite is the Page's-room, from which a flight of stone stairs descends into the lower court, near the entrance to the Chapel. In this room

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there is also a door at the base of a flight of stone steps leading to a terrace on the embattled wall, where the guards in olden time perambulated, conveniently situated for access from the Earl's Bed-room and Page's-room.

The visitor returns through the Drawing-room on to the landing, where are six steps, four of them very large and semi-circular, leading to the Long Gallery or Ball-room. These steps are of solid oak, and the tradition is that they have been cut out of one tree grown in the park, which also provided timber for the floor of the room. It is stated that at one time oaks of enormous girth were growing in the park: and there is now a remarkably fine avenue of trees on the rising ground behind the Hall, which is thickly covered with forest trees - oak, ash, lime, &c.

This room is about one hundred and nine or ten feet long, eighteen feet wide, and fifteen feet high. On the south side, towards the garden, are three very large recessed windows, which relieve the length of this Long Gallery.

The stately Regent's Gallery at Belvoir Castle so much reminds one of this room, that one is led to believe that the old room here gave the idea for the modern one at Belvoir. The sides of this room are wainscoted with oak, divided by fluted columns, having decorated capitals into arched panels, above which are shields of the arms of Manners and Vernon. The frieze is decorated with carvings of boars' heads and peacocks, thistles, and roses, alternated. The plastered ceiling is relieved by ornamental mouldings, and the arms and crests of Manners and Vernon, interspersed all over. The ancient fire-dogs and grate are curious.

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Here the arms of Manners first appear. It is probable this room was built to celebrate the marriage of John Manners with Dorothy Vernon, which took place about 1570. The oak was subsequently decorated (as the fashion of the time was) by light coats of colour-wash. This would most likely be done somewhere about the year 1650 or perhaps earlier. The ceiling has unfortunately, been white-washed.

In a compartment of the first window on the right hand as you enter, appear the quartered arms of Manners, Earl of Rutland, encircled with the garter, with the date 1589. In the third window are the arms of the Earls of Shrewsbury[5] and Rutland, each encircled by the garter, and surmounted by an Earl's coronet; and in another the royal arms of England, similarly surrounded, and surmounted by a crown. Over the fire-place is a painting said to be Thomyris, Queen of the Massagetae, a people of Scythia, presented with the head of Cyrus; a copy from Reubens. On the window-sill at the end of the room is a glass case containing a bust of Grace, Lady Manners, wife of Sir George Manners, from a cast taken after death. A door, approached by a few steps, opens into an Ante-room to the state bed-room; the walls of the former are almost covered with old paintings, amongst which are

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Arms of Vernon of Haddon (Antient)
Arms of Vernon of Haddon (Antient)
Crest of Manners
Crest of Manners
Crest of Vernon
Crest of Vernon

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portraits of Queen Elizabeth, Charles I. and a large and very beautiful painting of domestic and wild fowl, after Snyders. Considerable alterations, the date of which is rather doubtful, have taken place here. This ante-room and adjoining bed-room have once been one room, but are now divided by an oak partition. Underneath is a spiral staircase starting from the basement and terminating against the floor of the bed-room, which is termed the State Bed-room, the floor of which is concrete. These stairs would probably lead to the rampart, at that time existing on the curtain wall. The chimney-piece has been re-dressed or restored, and over it is a very large bas-relief, in plaster, of Orpheus charming the wild beasts. The frieze and cornice of rough plaster are adorned with the crests of Manners and Vernon, and their arms impaled. The room is lofty and well lighted by a large recessed window in which stand a dressing table and looking-glass, described as “Queen Elizabeth's looking-glass”, veneered and set in malachite or tortoise-shell. The walls are hung with Gobelins tapestry, designed in panels, on the borders of which are medallions having subjects from Æsop's Fables. The state bed is of large dimensions, broad, long, and very lofty. There are also two very old-fashioned arm chairs. The bed is draped with green silk velvet lined with white satin, and is said to have been the work of Eleanor, wife of Sir Robert Manners, co-heiress of Lord De Ros, in the reign of Henry VI. This bed was restored to Haddon from Belvoir some years ago. The last person who occupied it was His late Majesty George IV, when Prince Regent, on a visit to Belvoir, where the Regent's Gallery then in

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process of building was named after him. Here also is a primitive cradle said to be that of the first Earl of Rutland. In a glass case in this room is the very curious washing-tally, and a sepulchral urn, in fragments, found in a stone coffin in Bakewell church-yard.

The tapestry hanging over the door is an illustration of the scene related in Acts xxviii. v. 1-6. There is a fine figure of S. Paul shaking the viper from his hand, the kindled fire, the boat, &c. A door concealed by this tapestry gives admission into a small and somewhat gloomy apartment, commonly called the Antient State-room, which is also hung with tapestry, the subjects of which are Samson and Delilah, the Goddess Diana, and others, some pieces being inserted from elsewhere. This is one of the oldest parts of the hall remaining in its original state, as is plainly evident to the visitor by the small windows imperfectly admitting light, the rude workmanship of the doors and their fastenings the huge bolts or bars shooting into the wall, the thickness of the walls, the low ceilings, etc.

Passing hence, a short dark passage leads to a spiral stone staircase. Here is a strong frame for stringing bows. The staircase commencing in the north-east corner with numerous windings, and landings connecting different rooms, which were probably used by the guards, emerges on the Peveril Tower, the highest part of the hail. This tower is of the thirteenth century, and its summit affords a splendid view of the valley of the Wye, and the hills and valleys beyond and around. From this point the best idea can be gained of the plan of the Hall; we look down from a bird's-eye point of view, and see its extent

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and arrangement; and if only for this advantage, the ascent amply repays the visitor. At one corner is a still more elevated square watch-tower having steps outside, now dangerous to ascend.

The lower part of the north and east walls is believed to have been (like that on the south side) a curtain wall of Norman date, the inner corbels of which may be seen in some of the rooms.

Descending the winding stairs, the visitor is conducted back again through the bed-room and ante-room whence a door leads directly on to the terrace in the gardens down a short flight of steps.

Here the attendant usually leaves the visitors, who may wander on the terrace and lawn, leaving the grounds through the garden door by the east end of the Chapel.

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Dorothy Vernon's Steps
Dorothy Vernon's Steps

Tradition says that John (afterwards Sir John) Manners formed a secret attachment to Dorothy Vernon, and that he disguised himself as a forester, hovering in and about the woods of Haddon in order to obtain glances of her, and to enjoy brief interviews. Tradition further saith that on the night of a ball or festive gathering in celebration of her sister's wedding, she left the Hall by these very steps, to join her lover, and passing through the gardens and across the quaint foot-bridge - Dorothy Vernon's bridge - they rode away, travelling into Leicestershire, where they were married the following morning. Probably some rivalry or personal squabble or jealousy between these two great families of Manners and Vernon, prevented at the time an open courtship, the match being in all respects suitable as to the rank and importance of both families.

It is to be regretted that no portrait nor any scrap of writing of this celebrated lady, Dorothy Vernon, are known to be in existence.

The Hon. Grantley F. Berkeley, a versatile and pleasant writer, in his “Anecdotes of the Upper Ten Thousand their Legends and their Lives”, (published in 1867) gives an altogether different version of the elopement of Dorothy Vernon with John Manners. He relates that the latter was staying at Chatsworth with his friend the then Lord Devonshire, and that the reason of Sir George Vernon's objection was the difference in their religious faith, John being a Protestant and Dorothy of the Romish Church. Further, it is there related that John Manners exchanged dresses with a pedlar, a class of men numerous in those days, and so attended the masked ball at Haddon. When

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the fixed hour of elopement arrived, their dresses were again exchanged, Manners fled with Dorothy, and the poor pedlar met with his death on leaving the house after the ball, at the hands of a rival who mistook him for John Manners, whom he was aware of having arranged to appear at the ball in a pedlar's costume, but was not aware of the re-exchange at the moment of elopement, when the dancing and excitement were at their zenith. The pedlar is said to have been buried in the church-yard at Bakewell; and his murderer, brought face to face with the body of the murdered man, admitted his guilt, and was forthwith hung by peremptory order of Sir George Vernon in a field afterwards called “Gallows Acre”. The old Knight was summoned to the Court of Westminster, when the crier of the court called thrice the “King of the Peak” without response, then as “Sir George Vernon” who at once said “I am here”. The lawyers and judges readily found some flaw or informality in the proceedings, which were squashed, and the Knight, who was too good and powerful a man readily to be punished, returned to Haddon Hall, “and so ended” writes Mr. Berkeley “the last execution by old Saxon law of ‘Infangthef’ and ‘Outfangthef’”. In this legendary narrative, Dorothy is said to be mistress of the house, her father, Sir George Vernon, being represented as a widower. According to this account the second wife, Dorothy's stepmother, was dead.

Some of the tapestry in Haddon Hall is very good, especially in one of the many rooms in the north wing, as well as in a room in the west wing, neither of which portions of the Hall are usually shown to visitors, and

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wisely so - the north wing is a labyrinth of small rooms, passages, and stairs, and in the other rooms we have already seen ample and excellent examples of this kind of drapery. The tapestry (believed to be Flemish) in a small room in the north wing, above referred to, is very fine, the walls being entirely covered with it, as well as the closet adjoining, where the royal arms (England and France) are worked in; in the room itself the work represents some classic subject which at present I cannot trace - trees loaded with fruit, and babes gathering it; and two sides are covered with vines - branches, leaves, and bunches of grapes; very beautiful work. In another small low room in this wing - a singularly old-fashioned one with hidden recess and little oriel window, known as “Dorothy Vernon's room”, is some good French tapestry - there is a fine full length figure of Henry IV. of France. In the room above mentioned in the west wing are two large and exquisitely wrought specimens of tapestry; the one a landscape surrounded with a border, the other S. Peter released from prison by angels.

In Haddon Hall we find specimens of Gobelins work, a manufactory which was undoubtedly pre-eminent. I hope we may some time have a full treatise and exposition of the tapestry on these walls, for I cannot doubt its increasing interest and value, in view of the schools of art and design which now are so useful in educating and developing taste. Tapestry may be described as a painting in canvas with coloured threads, in contradistinction from a painting on canvas with pigments; a work by means of which coloured and most effective combinations are produced, resembling those from the painter's brush, but in

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their texture practically useful, and available as graceful adornments for our dwellings, and especially our public buildings.

The tapestry at Haddon seems to have been woven or worked in small pieces, even the shades of colouring being separate, and then sewn together.

The graceful hangings of woven wool and silk, not only decorating but rendering comfortable mediaeval houses with their ill-fitting windows and doors, and rough walls, came gradually more and more into use after the early part of the twelfth century; while we know that needleworked embroidery - the genuine tapestry - was the favourite work of ladies in the preceding century, an example of which remains in the famous Baveux tapestry, the work of Queen Matilda and her ladies.

“Tapestry is made by a process intermediate between weaving and embroidery, being worked in a web with needles instead of a shuttle. Short lengths of thread of the special colours required for the design are worked in at the necessary places and fastened at the back of the texture”.

There is an excellent succinct history of Tapestry in “Half-Hours with some English Antiquities” by that learned Derbyshire antiquary, the late Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A.

Tapestry is always hand-work, because it cannot be repeated altogether mechanically; it is not an unlimited repetition of a set design. Arras, the capital of Artois, in France, was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries celebrated for the particular kind of tapestry which bears the name of that town. In Henry VIII's reign a great

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effort was made to introduce this art into England. The beautiful work of this character which adorned the walls of that monarch's palaces, and the mansions of his nobles, came from abroad. Hence his effort to introduce so valuable an art into his own country. Later, the establishment of a tapestry factory at Mortlake, near London, early in the seventeenth century, was an historic event. Reubens and Vandyke were, I believe, connected with it. James I. established there some workmen from Flanders, and substantially assisted them: and although at one time their success was sufficient to make them fear no rival save that at Gobelins in France (established in 1662), the art does not appear to have taken root; but with the revival of mediaeval decoration in the present day, there is room for this graceful accessory. The late amiable Duke of Albany realised this, and exerted all his influence in favour of the successful tapestry works started at Windsor, of which he was really the founder. He considered the revival of this art necessary, in these days of art study, as a connecting link between painting and manufactures.

By the door of the Ante-room, as we have said, the beautiful heiress of Haddon eloped with her lover, passing down a flight of steps leading to the grounds. “Dorothy Vernon's walk” forms an upper terrace, shaded by limes and sycamores, and in spring-time the pathway and banks on either side in this avenue, are a magnificent natural carpet of aconites, and when in full bloom the effect is gorgeous. We return to the principal terrace, (which we crossed to reach the steps leading to “Dorothy's Walk”), covered with venerable yew trees; it is elevated considerably above the lawn, and separated from it by a

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The Terrace, Haddon Hall
The Terrace, Haddon Hall

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stone balustrade. This point affords a favourite picture for the study of the artist visitors, the outlines of the south side of the mansion, the east window of the chapel, the pretty garden and all the romantic surroundings combining to render the scene attractive and enchanting, and providing admirable objects for the pencil and the brush.

In one corner of the lawn is an old sun-dial, dated 1591, the Style of which remained in position until recently. The bell which was formerly in the turret of Haddon Hall Chapel has been transferred to the Church at Rowsley.

It should be noted here that there are many basement rooms, some of which show the enormous thickness of the walls, not usually shown to visitors, who are privileged, however, to traverse the principal parts of the mansion, and inspect the main objects of interest.

Haddon Hall, ever charming to the artist, is of abiding interest to the antiquary, for whom it has peculiar attractions, and will have as long as the very walls remain. Many old buildings, illustrating as it were our early history have become dilapidated, or have been demolished; others are now mere heaps of ruins, requiring close examination to understand their original plan; whilst here we have an almost perfect specimen of a feudal mansion, in a state as though just vacated by its tenants. And happily it is not likely to degenerate or decay, for considerable repairs are from time to time made in the fabric, by order of the Duke of Rutland, to ensure its preservation.

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In 1842, Mr. Douglas Morison published a book of Drawings of Haddon Hall, in large folio size, which are of considerable merit, but their bold and free style makes one regret the lost opportunity of detail, which is the subject of so much study by artists, and which the size of these drawings freely admitted.

The fine series of drawings on stone, by Rayner, (2 vols. folio, 1836), and the supplementary volume, issued in 1837, by Mr. Henry Duesbury, are the best existing illustrations of Haddon Hall. This work is unsurpassed. In the “Observations on Antient Castles” by Edward King (1782) in the “Archoeologia”, v.6, a brief but valuable account of Haddon Hall is given.

The scene of Sir Walter Scott's novel, “Peveril of the Peak”, is laid in Derbyshire, Peveril's Castle in the Peak, near Castleton, being mentioned in the opening chapter; and in some of the editions there is a picture of it. How the “Martindale Castle” of the novel has been confused with Haddon Hall is very, odd, for neither in the description of the surrounding country nor of the “Castle” itself is there anything at all in connection. The note relating to the arrangement of the apartments in “Martindale Castle” is sheer nonsense. It occurs, it will be remembered, in the earlier portion of the story, and is as follows: “This peculiar collocation of apartments may be seen at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, once a seat of the Vernons, where, in the lady's pew in the chapel, there is a sort of scuttle, which opens into the kitchen, so that the good lady could ever and anon, without much interruption of her religious duties, give an eye that the roast-meat was not permitted to burn, and that the

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turn-broche did his duty”. Such an experience at Haddon Hall is simply impossible: for the Chapel is in the south-west corner, and the Kitchen far away on the north side. This is such a very mis-leading note that it is a pity it has not been expunged. It has mischievously afforded the publishers of late editions the pretext for inserting a view of Haddon Hall to illustrate “Martindale Castle”.

The pictures, after being cleaned, were re-hung in various parts of the building - not always in those places where for years they had remained. This may account for some little discrepancies in relation to them in the foregoing account.

Haddon Hall Page Footer

[1] ERRATUM.- page 46, line 8. For 1451, read 1515. Sir Henry Vernon died in 1515. [See also page 43, lines 13, 14.]
[2] As witness, e.g. Chester Cathedral, where the visitor will see the fine marble font which Lord Egerton of Tatton picked up at Florence, and sent to the cathedral; the great candlesticks there (but more suitable to a cathedral like S. Paul's) which were purchased abroad by the Marquis of Westminster; the lectern from a Spanish cathedral, the altar-table from a Nuremberg church the pulpit from the historic Savoy - which now adorn the little church of Harwood, near Bolton-le-Moors; the magnificent and massive carvings in oak panels, altar-rail, stalls, screen, pulpit, &c., which now enrich the church of Cokayne-Hatley, in Bedfordshire - purchased on the continent, by the late Hon. and Rev. Henry Cokayne-Cust - and taken, some from the ruined Abbey D'Alne, near Charleroi, in the Netherlands, some from the Church at Malines, in Flanders, some from the church of S. Andrew's, at Antwerp.

So, probably, the glass stolen from this chapel has been sold on the continent, and now adorns some other building. A reward of one hundred guineas offered at the time failed to discover the thieves or the glass.
[3] Her Grace further writes: “It is mentioned in the journal to which I referred, that, when the family finally went to live at Belvoir, over a hundred persons travelled thither. The papers must have been taken, for not very long since a great mass of manuscripts were discovered at Belvoir - old accounts and deeds concerning Haddon, and many letters signed 'John Manners'. These manuscripts date from the fifteenth century, but some are very difficult to decipher. The signatures of Shrewsbury, Brackenbury, and Cecil, often occur, and there are letters from Lord Burghley. There is one from Warwick the king maker, to Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon”.
[4] ERRATUM.- page 58 ante, line 15. The Inscription in the east window of the Chapel should be Mergaretta Pype: ej: ux:
[5] Sir Henry Vernon, of Haddon, married Lady Anne Talbot, daughter of John, Second Earl of Shrewsbury. She died in 1494. George, the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury married as his first wife, Gertrude, daughter of Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland; his second wife was Elizabeth Hardwick, the celebrated “Bess of Hardwick” and Chatsworth.

The first Earl of Rutland (Sir Thomas Manners) was honoured by an augmentation of his coat of arms, by having a Lion of England quartered thereon, in token of his royal descent, through his grandmother who was a sister of Edward IV.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in May 2013.

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