Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Tudors Again!

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Diane of Heart Shaped and Rosie of Corners Of My Mind at Haddon Hall. I hadn't intended doing a post about it as I still had the Tudor Revels post and at least a couple more from my Africa trip to do. On reflection though I decided I would write a little about it as I had such a lovely time with them (in spite of the rain!). Both have written much more extensively and with many more photos than I'm doing so do go and visit their blogs.
The photo above shows the fabulous topiary in the Gardener's Cottage which lies at the foot of the slope that leads up to the Hall itself. The Boar's Head and the Peacock are emblems of the Manners family who have owned Haddon Hall since the mid 16th century. Haddon itself dates back to the 12th century though and is one of the best kept secrets of the Derbyshire Peak District.

The reason for our visit was to see the Tudor Re-enactment that was taking place over the weekend. As we climbed up towards the Hall we met these Tudor youngsters on their way down.

I couldn't resist putting in this photo of the old stone trough planted up with wallflowers even though I know Diane and Rosie have both used it in their posts. It made such a lovely splash of colour on what was a decidedly grey day.

Gathering herbs to be used in some of the dishes being prepared for the Lord of the Manor and his guests.

In the Great Hall the menservants are receiving instructions on the correct way of approaching the Lord of the Manor's table when they are serving the meal. There was a very strict and formal way of doing this in Tudor times. I've visited Haddon many times but this was the first time I've seen a fire burning in the great hearth and it made such a difference to the room.

Pastry being prepared for one of the many elaborate pies that would form part of the meal. I have a green glazed bowl exactly like the one on the table but I confess that I've never made pastry or anything else in it in case it gets chipped!

Haddon has the most wonderful medieval kitchens and it's fantastic to see them being put to use again. The young man has the fiddly task of removing half the shell of these quail eggs so that they can appear at table looking as though they are whole!

Just look at all these wonderful bowls and jugs and jars - I can't tell you how much pleasure it gives me just to look at them.

More of the dishes and flagons and in the background you can see one of the bread ovens which has been fired and used to bake bread and pastries.

Again Rosie and Diane both  featured these lovely arrangements that were in may of the rooms of the Hall, they are so simple - sprays of beech and hedge parsley in a plain glass container but they look stunning. All three of us loved them.

The upper servants  dine before the Lord of the Manor and his family and guests. I was surprised to learn that' the family's priest was counted as an upper servant but apparently this was the case.  These servants eat  well though not the elaborate kind of meals that are served to their master. The lower ranks of the servant class certainly wouldn't be eating the beef and cheese that appear on this table, a bowl of pottage and a hunk of bread would have been about it. Sadly at this point I had to leave as my husband was away and a certain dog was waiting for me to take him out for his afternoon walk - a very late afternoon walk by the time I got home poor lad.  It was such fun seeing it all with Diane and Rosie and hopefully we will have another joint outing at some point.  


Diane said...

The weather didn't spoil it at all for me as I had such a great time. It was wonderful to meet you and Rosie at last. Although you both look much younger in real life than your photographs, you were both exactly as I though you would be. Haddon Hall came to life with the re-enactment - I thought it was marvellous!! I have Lemon Balm soaking in olive oil for my hand cream! xxxxx

Janet said...

The bread ovens would be my favorite, I think. I imagine the smell must be heavenly. There's nothing better than the smell of bread baking.

Even if it was rainy it looks as if you a wonderful day exploring Haddon Hall.

WOL said...

What fun! I'm like you. All that lovely pottery and crockery. Now that I think on it, it makes sense for the upper servants to eat first. They're the ones who'll be searving the meal, and if they've already eaten, they won't be inclined to sample things. . . . Did the servants have to whistle while they were carrying the dishes of from the kitchen to the hall? (you can't eat and whistle at the same time. . . !)

Rosie said...

It was a super day, wasn't it? I see from the H H website that the Tudor Group are back in September with 'My Lord and Lady's Bedchamber'! It was lovely meeting you and Diane and I hope we can meet again. Like you I loved all the baskets, bowls and flagons and, of course, those simple but wonderful floral decorations:)

Bovey Belle said...

Right - that's it - I am officially JEALOUS now!!! I love Haddon Hall and the thought of seeing it on a Tudor Re-enactment day - oh, that would be BLISS! Thank you for sharing it with us and I shall have to try and visit my daughter when it's on another time.

I'm glad you had such a lovely time meeting up with other blogger friends too.

Rita M said...

Beautiful post Rowan!!

Jayne said...

What a wonderful day! How amazing to see the kitchens being used and that fire in the hearth. I've never been to Haddon Hall but it sounds well worth a journey.

ChrisJ said...

I once had dinner at Haddon Hall with my husband and some friends. It was a very nice evening. That was quite a few years ago now. I don't know if they serve dinner there now or not.

Dartford Warbler said...

What an interesting post. Thank you for sharing your day. I would have loved it too!

Comfrey Cottages said...

oh what a wonderful time you had! adore the old crockery and those topiaries:) looks like a marvelous time and your are right, the fire in the great hearth is marvelous:) thanks for sharing with us xx

Carolyn said...

That would be a wonderful way to spend a day with friends!


Von said...

One of my favourite places. I used to visit quite often when I lived in Derbyshire. Lovely day for you!

Dog Trot Farm said...

Rowan, how lovey to connect with blogging friends. First I have to say you share with us the most exciting adventures...I so enjoyed this post as I am a fan of Philippa Gregory and her historic fiction. The visions I have from reading her books can be put in further perspective from reading this most interesting post. Looking forward to more! Blessings from Maine, Julie.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Such lovely antiquities in your country. We Americans can only sigh and be envious - not much that is old here, and what is "old" is young when compared. My heart longs to wander over your land and see the glories. Thank you so much for sharing - it is almost like being there.

Anonymous said...

It looks great to see the history being alive once again! :-) I like the costumes, arrangements and all the bowls and utensils.
BTW Some time ago my 7-year-old son brought home a spray of wildflowers he gathered on his way home from the bus station. He gave it to me, smiling and looking forward to my reaction. I didn't want to spoil his pleasure but I regretted the flowers as they seemed to be fading and I thought they wouldn't last long. So I thanked to him, put the spray into a vase, added water and ... surprise, surprise, those flowers decorated our table for many following days! What a beautiful decoration it was...

Wanda..... said...

The photos of the kitchen, bread making, brick oven and pottery are such a visual treat, Rowan. The table where the young boy is preparing eggs reminds me of my dining table, which is a reproduction of an old farm table. My son-in-law has made and given me similar pottery pieces too...loved your post, but always do!

Em said...

I've just discovered your brill blog via Heart Shaped!!
I'll definitely have to pay Haddon Hall a visit looks like so much fun!
Em xx

joanne May said...

Hi Rowan,
I enjoyed seeing your day trip and going back to the Tudor times. Your photos are lovely and you can imagine the smell of baking bread in that great kitchen!
The wild flowers in the vase look so beautiful as well.
I have never seen a proper medieval Re-enactment before and I would love to see one now after reading your post.
Thank you very much for sharing!

Roy said...

Love the old stone trough Rowan.

Mac n' Janet said...

Rowan, Mac is in love with you pictures too, particularly the one that's almost the same as Rosies, he wants to know if he can "borrow" it to paint too?

ruthie said...

Rowan, i should have loved to be there to see it all come to life. Tudor times hold a fascination for me & have done since i was a child. Thank you for sharing.

Jane said...

Hi Rowan, What a gorgeous place - so much work and detail must go into putting on this re-enactment. Love the yummy bowls and jugs as well. Your new blog background is lovely.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rowan, those pictures are lovely. I love the trough. It looks so colourful. The pottery is so robust and beautiful !!
Have a great day.

Gracie said...

Thanks for adding more photos and more explanations on the subject, I really enjoyed reading about it.

MorningAJ said...

I really really must go to Haddon. It isn't that far from me really - it's just that I tend to head for Calke because I can get in there for nothing on my NT card!

Mary said...

You always give us such beautiful English stories Rowan! Our long history is unsurpassed - even passing 900 year old Windsor Castle today gave me the shivers!

Thanks for stopping by - hope you do get your Lake District trip soon, so absolutely stunning there!

My friend Paula actually lived in Lytham St. Anne's in her teens before emigrating to the US where we met in 1962. Blackpool did look quite sad in the rain with all the seafront torn up.

Have just checked into our Heathrow hotel after coming up from Devon - final pub meal this evening then fly to Boston and on to Raleigh tomorrow. England has been delightful, as only home can be, seeing family and old friends, enjoying the scenery, and far too many Devon Cream Teas - just couldn't resist!!!!

Hugs - Mary

Medieval Muse said...

What an absolutely delightful way to step back in time. This is amazing. Adding Haddon to my wish list of places to visit.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I quite like this post, I would love to visit such a magestic place. All the old pottery, the picking of herbs, :) it's so fascinating. Friends of mine our visiting Scotland in July. My father and his family all were from Scotland. The more I think about it after this post I should be going with them...
Have a lovely Sunday,

Sheila said...

How wonderful to be able to step back in time like this!
I can almost smell the bread, the food, the flowers. The costumes are great and what a super garden. The topiaries are excellent, I wonder how old they are. I read recently that some can be over a hundred years old.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

OH, this sounds like such fun! I do so wish Edward and I could have joined you all!

Tea said...

Hi Rowan!

Wow, those sculpted hedges are amazing. I see you are going to so many interesting places. Missed coming here :)


FireLight said...

Rowan, I have bookmarked this post for my British Literature course next term! My students will love this tour!
Thank you for your kind remarks concerning my Gracie girl.
Warmest regards,