Saturday, 11 June 2016

Rufford Old Hall

I am not a huge fan of topiary. I went to an NT property last year and there was a hedge that looked like Bart Simpson in a cannon. Even the guide book wasn't sure what it was meant to be. 

But the topiary is one of the highlights of the garden at Rufford Old Hall near Preston. 

Rufford Old Hall squirrel

(Please note: I really need you to admire this picture of a topiary squirrel for longer than usual, because there was no guide book and no photographs were allowed in the house*, so this post is going to be a bit on the short side.)

So let me tell you what I know about Rufford Old Hall.

Rufford Old Hall

  • Rufford Old Hall was built in 1530 by Sir Robert Hesketh, the lord of the manor
  • The Great Hall is the only remaining room from that time - there are conservation works going on at the moment so it's a bit messy but it's a stunning room with a remarkable free-standing wooden carved screen that dates from 1530-1540
  • A brick section was added to the house in 1661 and another wing was added in the 1820s
  • There is evidence that William Shakespeare came to Rufford and performed with the Hesketh Company of Players in 1585 but nobody is certain

Rufford is the winner of Most Expensive Cream Tea on the National Trust Scone Odyssey so far: £6. It was a generous helping of two scones though and they were very tasty. The tea room is waitress service and the waitresses were excellent - it was very pleasant. 

Rufford Old Hall scones

Rufford also wins the MC Hammer Award for having the most You Can't Touch This signs. I suppose it is a relatively small house and visitors probably need to be reminded not to reach out and touch the carvings on a 16th century cabinet or whatever, but so many signs on every surface got a bit wearing after a while if I'm honest. 

Rufford Old Hall: 3 out of 5 (no guide book, confusing photography rules, and loads of 'don't touch this' signs don't really make for a nice experience)
Scones: 4.5 out of 5 
Nice gardens that were pretty even in pouring rain: 5 out of 5

* When I got home I realised that although photographs were not allowed in the house, they were allowed in the Great Hall, which I thought was in the house. The National Trust make things very complicated sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. THe first one looks like one of the Smash Robots from the 70s adverts

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