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? 😀 )but we still must have
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
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 ‘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 (🙄) 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! 🤣
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.
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.
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.
The graveyard was covered in snowdrops, which we tried hard not to trample on in our search for interesting graves.
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.
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.
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.
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 😊
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