Haddon Hall - History and Facts | History Hit

Haddon Hall

Derbyshire, United Kingdom

Described by many as England’s finest and most complete fortified medieval manor house, Haddon Hall in Bakewell, Derbyshire dates from the 11th century and is the seat of the Duke of Rutland.

Lily Johnson

28 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Edward Haylan / Shutterstock

About Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall is a medieval manor house located just south of Bakewell in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Its history spans the 12th to the 17th centuries and is today one of the seats of the Duke of Rutland, with a wealth of beautiful rooms and architecture to explore.

Haddon Hall history

The first owner of Haddon Hall was William Peveril the Elder in 1087, as is recorded in the Domesday Book. Following the fall from grace of his son William Peveril the Younger in 1153, the manor was repossessed by the Crown and distributed to the Avenell family. In 1170, Avice Avenell married Richard de Vernon and Haddon passed to their family, who constructed much of the house that stands today. Most was completed by the 13th century, with the magnificent Long Room added later in the 16th century.

A number of prominent Vernons occupied the house, from Royal Treasurers to High Sheriffs, until in 1563 heiress Dorothy Vernon married Thomas Manners, son of the 1st Earl of Rutland. Legend says that during a ball at Haddon Hall, she slipped away unnoticed and escaped into the night to elope with Manners – to her father’s abject horror! They were soon reconciled however as Dorothy and Manners inherited the estate 2 years later, with their grandson eventually inheriting the Earldom of Rutland in 1641.

From the late 17th century however, Haddon Hall was left dormant as the Dukes of Rutland shifted their main seat to Belvoir Castle. In 1912, after 200 years of lying empty, the 9th Duke John Henry Montagu Manners moved back to Haddon Hall, finding it neglected yet largely as it had been in 1572! Realising the hall’s importance, he devoted his life to restoring it to its former glory.

Haddon Hall today

Today Haddon Hall is a Grade I listed building and provides a stunning example of medieval and Tudor architecture. The gargoyles and crenelated walls of the medieval entrance courtyard greet you, while inside the 14th century kitchens and parlour are beautifully preserved, as is the 15th century stone Chapel. Here a stunning carved alabaster retablo and pre-Reformation frescos can be viewed, uncovered after centuries hidden behind whitewashed walls.

Amongst many others, the crowning glory is the magnificent Banqueting Hall dating from 1370 complete with minstrel’s gallery – what you see today is what diners saw almost 650 years ago! The oak-panelled Dining Room contains portraits of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, and the 35-metre Long Gallery is yet another highlight.

You’ll also find a spectacular collection of French, Flemish and English tapestries including five from the early 17th century that are said to have belonged to King Charles I, as well as a beautiful walled topiary garden.

Getting to Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall is located 2 miles south of Bakewell along the A6, and a car park is situated near the site. The walk from the carpark to the house is well signposted and takes around 5 minutes.

The nearest bus stop is Haddon Hall, a 5-minute walk from the house, and the nearest major train station is Buxton, a 20-minute drive away.

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