Wednesday 28 September 2022

Wednesday - day five

 Morning, everyone.  Two days ago, the weather forecast for here was dismal - today it looks really good, three cheers.  In fact, it looks fine until Friday when it says pouring rain.  That won't spoil our holiday but it will be tough for Suzanne driving back south. 

Edit:  Now it is light, I can see that we have a frost - brrrr.  I remember we got lots of early frosts when we lived near Derby all those decades ago.  I'm glad I turned the thermostat up yesterday evening.

So yesterday was cold, sure, but lovely and sunny with just two rain showers, one before we left the cottage and the other while we were eating a late lunch.

The morning was spent at Haddon Hall.  As I might have said once or twice this week, Haddon Hall is one of my most favourite places ever and it was lovely to be back there again.

It is (or was) a fortified manor house, although the turrets and battlements were more for decoration than for defence.  The earliest parts of the Hall were built during the late twelfth century and there are just a few remains of its Norman origins - a pillar and arches in the chapel, some wall and Norman lancet windows.  

The most modern actual building seems to have been in the early 1600s.  

By then, the estate was owned by John and Dorothy Manners who had a delightful love story of their own (true?  Maybe, who knows) and in 1703 their grandson was created first Duke of Rutland.  The place was uninhabited for two hundred years until the ninth Duke and Duchess started an intensive and extremely sympathetic restoration to make it the place it is today.  It is now inhabited by the eleventh Duke and his family; we met him as we were listening to a talk in the lower courtyard and he walked across to us to say hello prior to taking his dogs out for a walk.
One if several gargoyles (I've checked the guide book and it is a gargoyle)
Parts of the chapel date back to Norman times and the walls are covered with frescos.  They would have been very decorative, brightly coloured and probably dating back to the early 1500s.

This particular bit is called, unsurprisingly, 'the three skeletons'.
As well as the introductory talk in the Lower Courtyard, we were lucky enough to catch a talk in the kitchen, a very fine example of a Tudor kitchen.  

After the kitchen talk, we wandered around as we fancied.  There's no set route and once there, once can come and go as one pleases.  It's all very relaxed and one of the most friendly places I have ever been to.

This is an old spinet at one end of the Long Gallery.
There used to be a large collection of tapestries at Haddon Hall but, sadly, in 1925 a fire seriously damaged or destroyed about sixty pieces - a tragedy!

What could be restored was and then rehung and there are quite a lot of pieces left and the family are trying to find the best way to display them.

You can get really close to them and I could have looked closely for ages, noticing all those little clued to what clothes, etc, were like.

The actual gardens are not enormous and, at the end of September, weren't at their best but we could see they would have been lovely in June/July.

We enjoyed a very good coffee in the restaurant before visiting the shop (you have to visit the shop, don't you) which had been taken over by a couple of young photographers who had turned their work into various bits and bobs - coasters. key rings, jigsaws, books, notepads, etc.  We bought Christmas gifts!!

Then we left, setting our faces south and taking the scenic route round Matlock to Crompton Mill.

We didn't do the Mill tour.  Suzanne wasn't interested and I didn't mind, as I've already determined to come back next year.   Instead, we explored a whole load of interesting little shops including an 'antique' (ie 'posh junk') shop, a super yarn shop (yes, I did - I will be knitting more socks to keep my tootsies warm this winter) and the Visitors' Centre where I got a fold up backpack and shopping bag which will be most useful.  We had a late lunch there too and then came back up, staying on the A6 so we could drive through Matlock/Matlock Baths.  As a child and young teen, I had visited Matlock Baths a number of times and, despite many changes, it still looked happy and familiar.

If you're interested, here's a couple of links.  The first is to the Haddon Hall site and the second is to the Crompton Mills site.

It was a lovely day . . . 

In the evening we chatted and chilled.  I knitted and Suzanne cross stitched and I started looking a cottages for next year.  If I look just outside the National Park, properties are so much cheaper and I'd rather like a longer stay - there are so many things to do and places to see that we don't have time for as well as old favourites to visit.

Today, we hope to explore Eyam, the 'plague village'.  It's a delightful place with a little museum, a hall and lots of gorgeous cottages, etc.  I'm looking forward to today very much.

I hope you're all having a great week too.  xx


  1. Sounds like you are thoroughly enjoying yourself Joy. The week is flying past isn't it.

    1. I am having a lovely time, Cherie. Last day tomorrow as Friday is travel day. xx

  2. Ooh a blast from the past, I went to Haddon Hall and Eyam village on a school trip many moons ago. I loved both, I wonder if that's what triggered my love of architecture and beautiful cottages. Eyam is very humbling and very sad.

    That gargoyle looks far too chubby and jolly to be a gargoyle ... no wonder you checked!

    1. The Eyam story is very evocative and sad, but also inspirational. It's amazing how human nature can sink to such depths and rise to such heights. xx

  3. Oh wow that looks like a fantastic place to visit! I love the gargoyle. They have such character. I am always looking up and looking for strange things on buildings. I like the three skeletons too. Thanks for sharing the photos.

    1. It's a pleasure, Sharon. If you are ever this way, Haddon Hall is well worth a visit. xx

  4. Thank you for the links, Joy. I am planning a trip to this area next year. Xx

  5. Mornin' Joy. It's Thursday and your last but one day so have a lovely one today. I'll read all about it later on.