Worthing National Trust Association

Home Programme 2020 Membership Contacts Recent Events About Us

Holiday - Cheshire & Derbyshire

September 2019

Each year a short break holiday is arranged to an area not accessible on day trips for the purpose of visiting National Trust and other properties.  Travel is by coach hired for the exclusive use of the members on the holiday.

This is Sue Bolam’s story of the holiday written in her own inimitable style which gives the reader lots of ideas about places to visit themselves.  We are indebted to Sue for the story and to Linda Woolway and Barbara Lidbetter who supplied many photographs, a selection of which illustrate the text.

It’s the first week in September and time again for the Worthing National Trust’s annual holiday. This year 32 of our members are taking part and we all set off from Worthing Station in a very comfortable Olympia coach.

Day two starts a bit later as we are going to Quarry Bank which is quite close to the hotel.  The

Quarry Bank cotton mill at Styal is a complex of buildings constructed by Samuel Gregg in1784.

Gregg was thought to be a very enlightened owner for his time.  He provided homes for his workers in the countryside & indeed these are still lived in.  The Greggs lived in a lovely Georgian house right next door to the mill, but today I am going to look at the mill, which was shut last time I visited, to install a lift.  The lift is very necessary as the mill has four storeys above the entry point and two below.

Starting at the top you come through the various stages of turning raw cotton into the finished product.  Volunteers demonstrate the machines and you realise what a noisy place it must have been to work when the whole floor was in use.  The demonstrators today wear ear protectors, but in Gregg’s day most of his workforce went deaf.  There was no protection on the machines so that there were many accidents.  Also, there was very high humidity and the dust from the cotton caused lung disease.  As you come to the bottom of the mill you see the huge water wheel and the river Bollin that drove the whole factory.  In the 19th Century steam power was used, but the first engine only produced ten horsepower and was very cumbersome, so by 1871 it was replaced by one of a much-improved design.  Both these engines still work and are on display.

After a quick lunch stop, we are off to the Apprentice House to see where the children in the mill lived.  Mr Gregg bought these children from the workhouse.  Although we do not think the conditions good now, for the time they had fresh produce from the garden, were educated, had straw beds to sleep in, and received medical treatment. Our guide showed us the sort of medicine which they had, brimstone & treacle for most stomach complaints and leeches for wounds.  We were reminded that leeches are now being used again by the NHS.

On the way back to our hotel we stop at Alderley Edge for a photo opportunity. Unfortunately, the weather was not very obliging.

On day 3 our first visit this morning is to Dunham Massey, and we are glad to be inside as it is spitting with rain.  The house is mainly 18th Century and was built on the site of a much older house.  Its owners were the Grey family who can date their history back to the middle ages, when Elizabeth Woodville married Sir John Grey.  Their two sons became involved in politics in the Wars of the Roses when, after her husband’s death, Elizabeth married King Edward IV.  Again, the family were embroiled in the plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne which ended in her being beheaded.  The Grey’s married into the Booth family in 1644, just in time to get themselves mixed up in the English Civil War, by trying to topple the Commonwealth.  Young Sir George Booth was thrown into the Tower of London and was only saved from execution by the Restoration of the Monarchy.

Over the centuries the house has sometimes been neglected due to debt and sometimes looked after; it was rented out in the mid-19th Century.  The 9th Earl of Stamford finally made it his family home in 1906 and began its restoration.  After his death in 1910 the estate passed to his thirteen-year-old son who became the last Earl.  He never married, living with his mother until she died in 1959, devoting his life to Dunham and leaving it to the National Trust on his death in 1976.

We have no time to look at the gardens or the deer park (although one inhabitant came close to the windows), as we must go to our next stop.

Today is our fourth day and we are going into Derbyshire to visit Chatsworth House.  This is not a National Trust property but still belongs to the Cavendish family, the Dukes of Devonshire.  The first house was built by William Cavendish & his wife Bess of Hardwick.  The fourth Earl pulled it down and rebuilt it; this in turn was remodelled by the sixth Earl.

One of the first rooms you enter is the Painted Hall which is vast and houses the Grand Staircase.  It is the upper part of the hall however that takes your breath away.  The walls are decorated with scenes from the life of Julius Caesar, and the ceiling shows his reception in heaven after his assassination. These huge murals were painted by Laguerre (1692/94).  Behind the staircase is the grotto with its Diana fountain, and then we move into the Chapel Corridor, followed by the Oak Room with its vast oak pillars from a German monastery, and the Chapel.  We pass the Sabine Room which is kept in darkness and can only be glimpsed from the door.  On past the State Rooms, the bedroom of which has a ceiling, again by Laguerre which shows Dawn (Aurora) chasing away Night (Diana).  In the State Music Room, you can see peeping out from behind a half-closed door a Trompe l’oeil violin & bow painted on a further door.  (Jan Van Der Vaart c1723). There are also two libraries containing about 17,500 books.

All through the house is an exhibition of paintings and sculptures of dogs.  A few which caught my eye include: Laying down the Law or Trial by Jury by Edwin Landseer c 1840 (Dogs holding a trial. When the Duke bought this, he asked Landseer to paint in his own favourite dog); Queen Elizabeth II at Frogmore with her dogs in1974 by Terence Cuneo; Portrait of Charles Earl of Dalkeith & his brother Henry (a very strange painting of two boys lolling under a tree with their dog whilst above them in the tree hangs a very angry gorilla.  I really find this a very odd composition by Martin Ferdinand Quadal c1779); Fox Terriers at Newstead Abbey, William Eddowes Turner c 1870; and finally Anubis, a 25th dynasty painted wooden statue from Egypt (the Jackal headed Egyptian god) three thousand years old.

In the 19th Century a quartet of artistic people lived in the house (Marmion Ferrers, his wife Rebecca, her aunt Georgiana & her husband Edward Dering).  Most of the pictures in the manor are painted by Rebecca.  Upstairs is a lovely little chapel and in the bedroom is a portrait of Greycat (a pet of one of the later owners of the house) who was very special, living 21 years, and appearing in family photographs.

After a quick stop for tea at Dobbies we arrive back in Worthing safe and sound.  I would like to thank Jean for taking such good care of us and Phil for his careful driving.  I am sure we are all looking forward to next year’s trip.

Return to Menu

Our first stop is for coffee at Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire, which was once the home of Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister & novelist.  He acquired it in 1848 & lived there until his death in 1881. He and his wife are buried in Hughenden Churchyard. Hughenden became a National Trust property in 1947.  As this is a coffee stop there is no time to visit the house, but some people  were able to get photos of the garden.  I had visited many years ago and was surprised at how much had changed.  As well as the Disraeli artefacts in the house there is now an exhibition of secret map making in World War II that has recently come to light and it is well worth a longer visit.

Flowers and plants in bloom at Hughenden

We are now  heading off to our lunch stop at Charlecote Park, home to the Lucy family from 1189 until it was handed to the National Trust in 1946.  Indeed, some members of the family still live in part of the house.  The present house was built by Sir Thomas Lucy I in the 1550’s and looks little changed from the time in 1572 when Queen Elizabeth I came to stay, or when Shakespeare is said to have been caught poaching deer from the park in 1583.  Shakespeare’s revenge was to portray Sir Thomas as Justice Shallow in the “Merry Wives of Windsor”.  The river Avon still flows gently past the ground floor windows.

Inside, however there was a 19th Century makeover of the main rooms in the Elizabethan Revival Style.  In the Great Hall is a huge alabaster bowl with birds sitting on it, which came from Florence and there is a very fine 16th Century tabletop made of pietra dura (hard stone) using inlaid marble semi-precious stone which was said to come from the Borghese Palace in Rome.

The dining-room houses one of the most massive sideboards I have ever seen with intricate carvings of fruit, hunting and agriculture.  I’m glad I don’t have to clean it!!!  In the Drawing Room is the harp of Mary Elizabeth Lucy, an accomplished player.  You can also visit the Kitchens where baking demonstrations take place.

Now we travel on to The Shrigley Hall Hotel near Macclesfield, which is to be our home for the next four days. This lovely hotel is set high up on a hill overlooking the Cheshire countryside.  The name comes from the De Shrigley family who originally owned the land.  It passed by marriage to the Downes family who owned it until 1818, when it was bought by William Turner, a local mill owner.  It became a hotel in 1989.  The only drawback was that some of us had a very long trek from reception to our rooms, but they were very comfortable when you got there.

Mary Lucy’s harp

Quarry Bank House and views inside the mill

Inside the Apprentice House

The view from Alderley Edge

Going through the rooms, I noticed two very fine satinwood bookcases in the Saloon; in the Great Hall there is a beautifully carved walnut bench.  There is the exquisite Green Silk Room in which the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia stayed in 1938.  In the Queen Anne Room, there is a state bed which was found by National Trust; this had been sent for restoration and had remained in its packing case for 100 years.  There is also a huge display of silver, and in the library a fine carving by Grinling Gibbons.

Below stairs is the service wing of the house including the Butler’s Pantry where the last Earl was entertained to tea every week by the Butler.  You feel very sorry for the old earl all alone in this huge house with only a few servants.  His stipulation to the Trust was that nothing should be removed from the house and so it hasn’t; some furniture that is beyond repair is retained in glass cases.

Below stairs is the service wing of the house including the Butler’s Pantry where the last Earl was entertained to tea every week by the Butler.  You feel very sorry for the old earl all alone in this huge house with only a few servants.  His stipulation to the Trust was that nothing should be removed from the house and so it hasn’t; some furniture that is beyond repair is retained in glass cases.

The bed that wasn’t seen

 for 100 years

We now move on to Tatton Park which was the home of the Egerton family for 400 years, until it was gifted to the Trust in1958.  The 18th Century house sits in a thousand-acre deer park. There are some lovely formal gardens in Italian & Japanese styles, a rare breeds farm and an old medieval hall.  But as time is short and the weather none too good, we will concentrate on the house.  The house is decked out with items from a grand costume ball held in 1897 to celebrate William Egerton’s earldom. There are pictures of the Earl & Countess in their finery.  During William’s time at Tatton, the Prince & Princess of Wales, the Shah of Persia and the Crown Prince of Siam visited.  Food and music for the ball are on show.  In the Grand Rotunda hangs a Susie Mac Murray installation of red velvet & barbed wire called the Gathering.

Main entrance to the house at Tatton Park

The Dining Room

“The Gathering”

We leave the house via the Sculpture Gallery with works by Canova, whose tools are displayed under a shelf on the left-hand side of the gallery.  Just time for something to eat and a quick stroll towards the Cascade before we must be on our way for a tour of the Peak District National Park with a stop at Bakewell to sample the Bakewell Pudding for those who wanted to.  I did not as I find them a bit heavy!

Friday morning, we are all packed, and on our way back to Worthing, but first we have one more stop to make at Baddesley Clinton, the lovely moated manor house in Warwickshire.  The property is of Saxon origin, but the present house is mostly 15th & 16th Century.  Originally owned by John Broome it descended through the Ferrers family, and was acquired by the Trust in 1980.  As you reach the moat there are loads of ducks coming to greet you, and if you enter under the gatehouse you come upon a very pretty garden.  The family were staunch Roman Catholics and you can see a priest hole in the kitchen which led down to the sewer.  Harbouring a priest was a treasonable offence in the 16th Century.

One of the many paintings of dogs

In the grotto

The ubiquitous Bakewell Pudding

Baddesley Clinton

The inlaid marble table

Shrigley Hall Hotel

Return to Recent Events