On my first visit to Manchester, after dozens of trips around England, I was eager to see some of the nearby Stately Homes. With two friends, we set off for Bramall Hall and were warmly rewarded with a spectacular house.
Bramall Hall in Stockport is a stunning example of the black-and-white style so admired in this region. Perhaps the look owes more to Victorian alterations and embellishments than to its Tudor origins, but why quibble? Portions of the house date to the medieval era, and others were renovated in the 1880's and subsequently brought up to date in some wings.
The tall Tudor Chimneys bear a resemblance to those at Hampton Court Palace. Below, the entrance in the rear.
The Great Hall has evolved from the original one room that housed all the family and servants at the beginning. Of special note are the windows, definitely a Victorian design, no doubt meant to improve on the small-paned Tudor precedents.
In the Banqueting Room, the Solar, and the Chapel, some of the original walls and wall paintings have survived.
The sign at right reads "Please do not touch the Wattle and Daub wall. It is extremely old and very fragile."
The Chapel is still in use. The Neville Room, below, was a Victorian remake of several smaller rooms for Mr. Neville to enjoy his hobbies and entertain his friends at billiards.
Below, the Paradise Room was designed for the previous family, the Davenports, who owned the property from the 1300's until the late 1800's. It is named for the embroidered bed hangings showing scenes of Eden, as completed by Dorothy, wife of William Davenport V. She also produced a family of eleven children in the late 16th century.
The Withdrawing Room occupies the upper portion of the Great Hall, dividing it into two levels in the 1570's. The ceiling is an excellent example of Elizabethan design; over the fireplace is the Royal Coat of Arms of Elizabeth I.
The Dining Room, below, has many Victorian features interpreting the Tudor originals.
We were unable to see one of the rooms -- as the sign below warned us!
I love the way in which the British always apologize for such "inconveniences." Below, views of the kitchen, laundry, and servants' rooms.
It can't be forgotten how much hard work had to be done to allow families to live in these great houses by both men and women in service. And finally, everyone's favorite spot: the Gift Shop!
Victoria Hinshaw, Author