The other “Haitches”

We then headed north to visit a friend from our Botswana days.  At her suggestion, we visited Haddon House, another fabulous medieval house, which had retained its “pristine medievalism” because it had been shut up for 200 years (its lord got an upgrade and moved to a bigger house) and it was only reopened in the early 20th century! 

So while Hardwick Hall reflected the heights of Elizabethan, rennaissance, sophistication, Haddon Hall took you back to an earlier, more rough edged time. The kitchen, for example was more of a true medieval kitchen with fewer mod cons. 

The family is actually still in residence now, but in a modernized section! Absolutely amazing. It was the middle of the week, so we had a very pleasant visit and a lovely lunch. 

The first mentions of a house/fort at Haddon date from around 1150. Around 1195, the owner was granted permission by John of Mortain (Later, King John. Yes, THAT John.) to build a low and un-crenellated wall around the buildings – hardly a serious fort. The building grew in fits and starts until 1703, when the owner was elevated in title and moved to Belvoir Castle. (Better view!) The site was then basically abandoned until the early 20th Century when the ninth Duke and Duchess of Rutland began a restoration program. Close to a time capsule.

John Henry, the 9th Duke, looking a bit like a fugitive from “Brideshead Revisited.”
Lower courtyard with Banqueting Hall entrance.
Nifty Roman votive pillar in the entrance way. When you invoke the Gods, remember to acknowledge your debts!
Not exactly a gargoyle, but impressive none the less.
Great chandler in the Great (Banqueting) Hall.
The head table.

All of that eating required a lot of cooking. The kitchens were large and, over time, connected to the Banqueting Hall by a large passage.

A lot of scullions have raced through this passage to wear down the stone steps!
Denise admires the kitchen fire, perfect for roasting whole critters! Nice and warm in winter and unbearable in summer.
This one is the real deal. Think how many people have sat here over the years.
If one did not drink “fayre”, that is, if you drank too much or too little, you would have your wrist manacled here and drink poured down your sleeve. Etiquette has so many rules!
Veganism was not a big thing, so you needed a large chopping block to cut up all the various meats.
A few modern innovations crept in during the renovations!

Haddon Hall has a small museum of things found over the renovations, mostly lost behind the paneling. The laundry tally falls into the category of never-seen-one-of-those-before. (

Horn book with prayers.
Simply amazing laundry listing device, to keep track of items of clothing sent out to be cleaned.
Graffiti from the 1800’s.

The Earl’s Apartment, One of the upstairs bedrooms preserves royal graffiti from over the centuries. Some of it dating way back, and some of it VERY modern!

The Hall has been owned by two families. Their crests are in the left photo and the Order of the Garter is in the right photo. The colored glass still glows on a sunny day. The diamond shaped panes are each set at a different angle to maximize the sparkle.

The Manners on the left and the Vernons on the right.
Both were knight of the garter.
Carved wooden paneling.
Sadly, not playable.
Date is clear.
Beautiful painted alabaseter reredos from behind the altar in the chapel. A modern relocation, may have been part of the original rood screen.
The bridge at the bottom of the hill is a classic English post card.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.