Eggleston Hall ~ February 2023

Sophie and I went out for the day to visit Eggleston Hall, or rather the ruined church on it’s land, and Eggleston Abbey. We had been to the hall 11 years ago, but didn’t know about the abbey at the time. This time I took my Fuji X100F and my Contax with a roll of Cinestill 400 loaded. Not a lot to tell you about, (happy days eh? πŸ˜€ )but we still must have

The History Bit β˜•οΈ πŸͺ

If you read the website for Eggleston Hall, it will tell you that it is ‘a privately owned Grade II listed Georgian building, dating back to the 16th century’. Which it kind of is, but not really. Well it really is Grade II listed, but the 16th Century part is a tad misleading. The house was actually built in 1817 on the site of the original manor house at Eggleston. The original manor was owned by the Neville family, who we’ve come across frequently on this blog, and the last of the Nevilles to hold it was Charles, the 6th Earl of Westmorland, another familar chap to us, as we know being the leader, along with Thomas Percy, of the ill-fated rebellion, the β€˜Rising of the North’, in support of Mary, the Pesky Queen of the Pesky Scots, in 1569. He fled to Holland where he died in poverty in 1601. Consequently the manor was confiscated by the Crown and granted to the City of London, which seems odd as it’s a long way away, but we will shrug our shoulders at that and move on.

The Hall passed through several hands until it was acquired by the Hutchinson family, a family of many Willys, early in the 18th century. By 1817 Timothy Hutchinson (1732-1810) owned the Manor of Eggleston and an existing house on the same site as the present Hall. This previous house was described in 1779 as being white with turrets. After his death his son William 1 (1763-1826) commissioned a design by the wonderfully named architect, Ignatius Bonomi to build the new house. The two-storey house has a recessed two-bayed central block flanked by projecting end bays connected by a Doric order colonnade.

The Hutchinsons hung on to the Hall for a good few years. Willy 1 and his wife Mary didn’t have any bloodsuckers children, so Willy’s bro George Peter Hutchinson (1767-1833) a major in the Queen’s Dragoons inherited the Hall. His two sons then inherited the hall after his demise, Willy 2, the firstborn, got it in 1833, but he snuffed it young, age 26, so his younger bro Timothy (1818-1904) then had the Hall. Timmy and his Missis Liz lived there for 62 years and passed the Hall to their son, Cecil~Willy 3, whomst on his death in 1917, passed it on to his son, Willy 4, though as he’s the last Hutchinson in this tale I’ll give him his full title of Captain William Regis Claude Hutchinson.

Willy 4 must have thought sod this for a game of soldiers, and 1919 he advertised the whole 10,000 acres for sale. Wouldn’t you know it, 2 more Willys ended up with it. Sir William Creswell Gray bought the Hall for his son, William. Willy the son was a Captain in the 3rd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War, which wasn’t really great but that’s what they call it, and was mentioned in despatches. He was wounded and became a POW, so it was a nice present from his Dad to come home to I think.

The house is still owned by the Gray family. It was used as a convalescent home during the Second World War and, since the 1970s, was been used for cookery and flower schools.  Sir William (πŸ™„) and Lady Juliette own it now whilst Rosemarie Gray, Willy’s Mum, owns the gardens, which did start out in the 16th century and are open to the public all year round. The house though is not, and according to their website can be hired for “any large group celebrations, wedding anniversaries to birthdays, yoga retreats or Christmas gatherings or simply for a relaxing holiday to unwind in an idyllic, luxurious location”.

HERE is a link to their site if you want to see pictures of the inside, or book your party! 🀣

Eggleston Hall (contax aria)

On to the church now, our main reason for visiting. The chapel remained as a garden feature through the centuries. The building is [at least] late medieval, and the oldest gravestone dates to 1607. It was declared redundant in 1868 and over the next 120 years the building was allowed to decay into a romantic ruin after the roof was removed. Apparently the ruins have been planted with rare and unusual species of plants from around the world which thrive amongst them, but the outstanding thing is a bloody great tree growing out of the main part, which is not easy to photograph, but I gave it a go.

Chapel & graveyard & snowdrops (contax)
chapel (contax)
the tree trunk (fujiX100F)

trying to get the chapel and it’s tree in a single shot was impossible, so I stitched a few shots together for this next one, not the best but it does give you an idea of the size of it.

Chapel Tree

in the other bit of the chapel there were plants, though I’m not sure if these are the unusual ones, and remnants of what used to be there.

ruined remnants (fuji)

The graveyard was covered in snowdrops, which we tried hard not to trample on in our search for interesting graves.

snowdrops (fuji)

we didn’t see the 1607 grave (another visit needed for that!) but I did come across the Dowson family which gave me a few ponderings.

The Dowsons (fuji)

OK OK, I’ve digressed here and my History Bit just got longer. I’m going to hide it under the little arrow next to “details”, and if if you’re so inclined you’ll find Kings and Queens, pesky Scots and French all dancing through the years of Johns life.

John Dowson died aged 80 in 1722, which means he was born in 1642 when the first English Civil War kicked off, and Charles 1 was the King. By the time John was 10, Charles 1 had been executed and Oliver Cromwell was in charge. John had his 20th birthday when Charles 2 had taken back the throne after Cromwell died. Before John reached his 30th year England had siezed the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, changing its name to New York and that heralded the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. There had been outbreaks of plague and fire in London, and Thomas Blood was caught stealing the Crown Jewels. On John’s way through his 40’s James 2 was on the throne and the pesky Earl of Argyll in Scotland rebelled and tried to place the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son, on the throne. The rebellion was crushed and Argyll executed. Jimmy 2 set about restoring Catholicism in England, and set up a standing army of 13,000 troops at Hounslow to overawe nearby London and believing in his Divine Right as King, issues the Declaration of Indulgence to suspend all laws against Catholics and Non-Conformists and repeal the 1673 Test Act. He seeks to promote his Catholic supporters in Parliament and purge Tories and Anglican clergy .This results in The ‘Glorious Revolution’. William of Orange lands at Torbay with an army of 20,000 and advances on London. Many Protestant officers in Jimmys’ army including Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and Jimmys’ own daughter Anne defect to support William and his wife Mary so James abdicates and flees to exile in France. By the time John’s 50th Birthday arrives King William III and Queen Mary II have been joint rulers for 3 years and at that time a Bill of Rights is passed by Parliament. It stipulates that no Catholic can succeed to the throne, and also limits the powers of the Royal prerogative. The King or Queen cannot withhold laws passed by Parliament or levy taxes without Parliamentary consent. But Jimmy 2 hadn’t given up and with the aid of Pesky Jacobites and the Pesky French, goes into battle at Killiekrankie, Dunkeld, and Londonderry. Willy defeats Jimmy and the French troops at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland and the Pesky Scottish Jacobites are defeated at Haughs of Cromdale. Willy offers the Pesky Highlanders a pardon for the Jacobite uprising if they sign allegiance to him, and this ends up a year later, in Johns birthday year on 13 February 1692. An estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by Scottish government forces, I think made up of the Campbell clan allegedly for failing to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs, this was and still is known as the Glencoe Massacre. Queen Mary died during John’s 50’s and Willy ruled alone. Jimmy died in exile and the Pesky French King recognised Jimmy 2s’ son Jimmy 3 prompting Willy to form a grand alliance between England, Holland, and Austria in order to prevent the union of the French and Spanish crowns. But then Willy fell off his horse when it stumbled on a mole hill and died. Our John hits 60 not out, and Queen Anne, Willys’ sister-in-law takes the reigns of the realm.The first thing she does is to declare war on the Pesky French in the War of the Spanish Succession. Eleven years and a lot of battles later the Peskies are French Toast. And the English capture Gibralter from the Spanish just to rub it in. The Act of Union unites the kingdoms of England and Scotland and transfers the seat of Scottish government to London. They’re still trying to get out of that. Anne vetoes a parliamentary bill to reorganize the Scottish militia, the last time a bill is vetoed by the sovereign and Jimmy 3 known as James Edward Stuart, or ‘The Old Pretender’, arrives in Scotland in an unsuccessful attempt to gain the throne. John makes it to 70 2 years before Anne dies and a year before The Treaty of Utrecht is signed by Britain and France, bringing to an end the War of the Spanish Succession. George I, the first Hanoverian King, succeeds Anne and a new Parliament is elected with a strong Whig majority led by Robert Walpole. The pesky Scots kick off again with another Jacobite Rising this time intending to place Jimmy 3 on the throne. The rebellion is defeated yet again, this time at Sheriffmuir. And there we say goodbye to John, he’s an old, old man now. Lived a long time for this era, as did his wife Mary. He will die 8 years after George becomes King, his 6th monarch, and 3 years after his Mary, leaving a son and daughter to grieve and follow him 6 & 28 years later respectively. I wonder how much they were aware of, how they made their living, and how did all this history affect their lives.

It was so nice to see all the snowdrops, the first sign that Winter is on the way out and Spring is springing in. We noticed these small gravestones, and realised they were for beloved pets.

Polly (fuji)
a faithful friend (fuji)

So that’s the end of our trip to Eggleston Hall, we’ll visit the Abbey next time. Well done if you got through either or both of the histories I appreciate your time 😊

53 thoughts on “Eggleston Hall ~ February 2023

          1. No worries. I couldn’t do the whole “hold up the pinky while drinking tea” thing for very long. Plus, I suspect punching people in the face doesn’t go down any easier over there than here πŸ˜€
            I guess I’m stuck as an American….

            Liked by 1 person

  1. The hall sounds spectacular ( I did take a peek at the website for some interior shots), but that old chapel and graveyard are hard to beat. The tree growing out of the chapel is amazing, and I’m fascinated by how far back in centuries the grave markers go. And tombstones for pets? Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, you are quite the Willy wagger . . . but the pictures are great and the history interesting. Mostly, the question of why all this to the city of London, several leagues away? The snowdrops are lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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