Rufford Old Hall is the nearest National Trust property to where we we live. We hadn’t been for a while so decided to visit on a fine, sunny Sunday a few weeks ago.
The house was built for Sir Robert Hesketh in about 1530 and although it has been extended and modified since then, the original Tudor style hall still exists and is the property’s outstanding feature. A Jacobean style rustic brick wing was built at right angles to the great hall In 1661 and a third wing was added in the 1820s. The lantern on top of the Great Hall is a Victorian addition to let more light in so the men of the house could play billiards.
The Heskeths moved to Rufford New Hall, across the road, in 1798 and then, through marriage, ended up living in the Baroque style mansion, Easton Neston in Northamptonshire, which was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.
There’s a relatively small garden at the back of the house.
One noticeable feature is a couple of of topiary squirrels.
The Great Hall is built of timbers sitting on a low stone wall with a wattle and daub infill and has a flagged floor.
Unusual for this part of the world, it has a hammerbeam room, the end of each beam featuring a carved angel.
There’s a large, carved stone fireplace – blackened with soot which is evidence that it is still in use on colder days.
You can’t miss the large carved oak screen. It’s very distinctive with the three large finials. Its original purpose was to screen the passage to the kitchen from the Great Hall
Photographs weren’t allowed in the other parts of the house where most of the rooms were decorated in various styles.
It’s a small property so it doesn’t take that long to have a look around. But it was pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.