Cash boost to restore part of Derbyshire's Haddon Hall described as 'the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages'
The Historic Houses Foundation is funding the repair of two windows which have begun to succumb to the effects of centuries of wind, weather and subsidence at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire.
Haddon Hall is a fortified manor house built over 500 years ago - featuring Norman, Medieval, Tudor and Elizabethan architecture and described by Simon Jenkins as “the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages.”
The funds will complete the restoration of the Norman and Medieval chapel including the important early 15th century chancel window with fine stone tracery and stained glass which is in a critical state; and restore two chimneys, also in a critical condition, which serve the medieval kitchens.
The house lay empty for over two hundred years and was saved from certain ruin in the 1920s by the 9th Duke of Rutland who made its restoration his life's work. Lord and Lady Edward Manners, the current incumbents, are the first family to live in the hall for over three hundred years and continue the restoration started by the 9th Duke to this day.
After the grant was announced Lord Edward Manners said: "Haddon Hall is truly grateful to the HHF for their generosity and funding that will enable essential work to be carried out here.
"Our elegant chapel is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year, but it is also a parish church and it sits at the heart of our community. Visitors and church goers alike will again be able to wonder at the early 15th century chancel window and its stunning and historic stained glass. In addition, two chimneys on the point of collapse that serve our medieval kitchens will be saved.
“These painstaking tasks would not have been possible without this terrific grant and Lady Edward and I are particularly pleased that this highly skilled work can be undertaken by local craftsmen and talented professionals in these most uncertain of times."
The Historic Houses Foundation is one of the leading funders of architectural conservation and one of the only bodies able to support buildings in private ownership. The nationally recognised expertise of its eight volunteer Trustees makes it ideally suited to identifying those projects most in need of support and after careful consideration, 18 nationally important properties across England were selected to benefit from these funds – of which Haddon Hall is one.
Norman Hudson OBE, Chairman of the Historic Houses Foundation says “Our grants go to historic buildings in all categories of ownership, so range far wider than the National Trust. That we have been selected as a Delivery Partner for this money indicates that the Government likes what we do and recognises the exceptionally cost efficient way in which we achieve it. It is good news for historic buildings and good news for jobs and the local community.”
The grant provided for work at Haddon Hall shows how vital the timely provision of funds can be to secure the structural survival of an important medieval house, described by Simon Jenkins in 2003 as “the most perfect English house to survive the Middle Ages.”
The grant was awarded last year and work is expected to start in the coming months.