Yesterday saw our long awaited bloggy meeting with Diane and Rowan at the wonderful Haddon Hall which is close to Bakewell in Derbyshire. In spite of the rain we managed to picnic close to the river on the edge of the car park at Cauldwell's Mill at Rowsley before setting off for the Hall in time for its opening at midday. We were looking forward to experiencing a Tudor re-enactment within the hall, of the cooking and preparation of a family dinner, from - The Tudor Group
I think Haddon is my favourite of all the famous Derbyshire Houses - and there are many! It stands so majestically on its hill and is approached by an arched bridge over the river Wye.
There is then a flight of steps to the entrance - if you are lucky you may pass some little Tudor people on the way!
Through the entrance you are greeted by the loveliest courtyard - in here you feel protected and sheltered from the world outside.
At the top of the courtyard some of the servants were collecting herbs for the kitchen
The courtyard must seem such a huge expanse of stone to such a little one!
Inside the great hall where the food was to be served the male servants, often from high status families themselves, go through the moves of service which includes lots of deferential bowing towards the head table, thought to be the manners of the day. The higher status, pristine clothing and more graceful deference of the servants indicated the greater wealth and status of the owner of the house.
Female servants were quite rare at this period; only nursemaids, wet nurses and outside laundry and dairy staff were female. All the kitchen staff would have been male. Of course, this wasn't possible to re-enact as there were many female members of the group, as TV Historian Ruth Goodman pointed out that the role she was playing would have most definitely been held by a man within that household. 'I'm sorry I'm a girl' she said with a twinkle in her eyes. She really is a most charismatic woman holding the crowd fascinated as we waited for His Lordship and all his ladies to come down from the Long Gallery to the dinner table.
I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here as there was much to see elsewhere as the servants prepared for the feast and before we looked at the rest of the rooms in the hall and the gardens we hot-footed it straight to the kitchens to get in on the action.
I just loved this man's costume and hat.
Bread, salt and pickled onions!
The young man behind the basket of herbs had the thankless task of peeling the shell from quails eggs!
Lovely greens from the garden!
This lady was very interesting as she described to us the making of the different kinds of soap that were made for jobs like laundry, pot washing and the washing of metal pots and pans. She also told us how to make a calendula lotion which was used mainly on the hands as a barrier against the washing up water. As you can see, Diane, Rowan and I are fascinated.
I'll be back with more photos of the Hall and gardens in my next post.