Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cheshire Halls - 12 August 2007

Arley HallArley Hall is a stunning Victorian reproduction of a Tudor mansion. The interiors are lavish period settings, but each room is also liveable and very appealing. The gardens are also lovely, and it was a great way to start a Sunday.

Lower PeoverOur next planned stop was Capesthorne Hall, and on the way we stopped at Lower Peover. This small village has a beautiful half-timbered black & white church.

Capesthorne HallCapesthorne Hall is the 17th century home of a branch of the Davenport family, whose Tudor hall we visited at Bramall yesterday. Being 200 years newer, the interiors were much more modern and more liveable.

Nether Alderley MillOur final visit of the day was Adlington Hall. On the way we happened to pass Nether Alderley Mill which was open, so made an unscheduled visit. This mill is unique in Europe; as it has two internal water wheels, one above the other, which doubles the grinding power of the mill as the water is effectively used twice.

Adlington Hall is really interesting to visit. Still lived in by the Legh family it is part Tudor and part Georgian. The star of the visit is the Tudor great hall.

Arley HallIn 1040, a Legh ancestor decided to build a hunting lodge in the Forest of Macclesfield. He came across two dead, but still standing oak trees 5 - 6 m apart and decided that they could form the main supports for his new lodge. They were hand adzed into octagonal shaped pillars and decorations were carved into them. 450 years later when the medieval great hall was built, these two trees (still with their roots in the ground) formed the basis for the end wall. The trees remain, nearly 1000 years later, still supporting the roof and the organ loft that spans between them: quite a testament to the building properties of oak.

Adlington HallThe organ they hold up was played twice by Handel and is the only playable 17th century organ left in Europe (and therefore, presumably, the world).

The hall is decorated with 17th century wall paintings, still vibrant in colour, as they were covered in plaster for over 100 years.

Arley HallThe other interesting connection was that it was 15-year-old heiress Ellen Turner that Edward Gibbon Wakefield (of The New Zealand Company fame) abducted and forced into marriage at Gretna Green. After the capture and annulment Ellen married Thomas Legh (from Adlington Hall) and bore him a daughter, before dying at the tender age of 19.

Adlington HallWe decided to cut across the Peak District again to drive home. A closed road diversion, clogged with traffic on a narrow lane, forced as to charge direction and head back west for the motorway. We then discovered parts of the M40 were closed due to a shooting. It has never taken us so long to head back to London before. A 3-hour journey turned into a 5-hour marathon.


Murray said...

Many people find this blog by a search that brings them to this page. I would love someone to leave a comment telling me why. What were you searching for and why is Arley Hall so popular?


Hey Murray, I was searching for "Tudor Mansion" because I'm making a sort of mansion in 3D. So I was searching for graphic information to know something more about this style. Your photos show the especific things I was searchin for. I didn't know anything about Arley Hall nut thanks for the pictures anyway!