Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas at Haddon Hall

 Continuing my attempts to ease into the whole Christmas vibe gently, this weekend we went back out into Derbyshire to see another country house decorated for the season.

Although it's called a 'hall', as you approach Haddon it has the appearance of a proper castle with towers and battlements. Inside it's changed very little since Tudor times - the walls are thick, the floors uneven, the kitchens preserved as they would have been 500 years ago - and it's easy to imagine the inhabitants in seventeenth century clothing walking along the corridors or sitting by fire and candlelight in the evenings.

It was already dropping dark as we arrived but the lights from within gave a welcoming glow and from the Great Hall came the sounds of music played by Doncaster Waites, costumed performers bringing a 'Renaissance Christmas' to life

lights in the Great Hall

A member of Doncaster Waites with
 replica 16th century hurdy gurdy


decorations in the Great Hall

The Christmas trees may not have been totally authentic for the period but for the most part the decorations were, with wreaths and swags of greenery, and flickering candle-light adding to the atmosphere.

The most lavishly decorated room was the Long Gallery where the theme appeared to be one of a Venetian masked ball ... with windows along three walls this is definitely one of the lighter rooms at Haddon.

 What Haddon does so well is recreating the feel of when the hall was at it's most splendid - whether that comes from imagining lords and ladies dancing while hidden behind jewelled and gilded masks, or from the recollection of quieter times sat by the fireside with shadows creeping up the walls. For me, it's a very atmospheric place, where the past is almost touchable.

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