Eyam Hall is a Jacobean manor house built just six years after the plague that had devastated the small Derbyshire village. Thomas Wright, a local landowner, had it built as a gift to his second son John Wright following his marriage to Elizabeth Kniveton. The house is still owned by descendants of the original owners who have leased it to the National Trust. This means that the Wright family still own the house and its contents, but they are managed and looked after by the Trust. It’s relatively modest in size and as it was a family home until relatively recently, it isn’t “preserved in aspic” although there are some historic elements and furnishings.
Visitors enter through the front door into the main hall where we given an interesting introductory talk about the history of the building and its owners by an enthusiastic NT volunteer.
The portrait in the corner is of Elizabeth, the wife of John Wright, the original owner. She doesn’t look so happy!
The large bench come cupboard, one of a pair, is a bacon settle, which was used for storing bacon and cured meats. These settles were included in a 1694 inventory of the hall and were probably bought by the original occupants.
Moving upstairs we looked into the “Tapestry Room”. As the name suggests, the walls were covered with tapestries.
The guide who was in the rom pointed out that they hadn’t been made for this room but had been bought by the owners who had then cut up and patched them to cover the walls as decoration but also, no doubt, to provide insulation.
Moving into the library where, the NT website tells us, there are 1042 books. The oldest is Thomas Elyot’s “The Boke named the Gouernour” (London, 1546); a treatise on education and being a gentleman.
The main point of interest was the poem carved into one of the windows extolling the virtues of Miss Fanny Holme of Stockport
This four poster bed with its elaborate carvings was the main interest in the principal bedroom
At first glance it looks quite old and impressive, but in fact, as the room volunteer pointed out, it’s actually cobbled together from various bits and pieces.
There was an interesting collection of old toys in the nursery, including an impressive train set
Back downstairs, the kitchen retains some original features
Outside there’s a pleasant garden.
Due to the time of year, it was looking a little bare and depleted, although some attractive flowers were hanging on!
and autumn colours were evident
The former stables and courtyard buildings have been converted to a craft centre
There’s a small number of shops including a jeweller (complete with workshop), an ironmongers, a cheese shop, a shop selling local beers and gift shops. And a secondhand bookshop – which seem to becoming very common at NT properties.