Lady Metal and I braved a cold, dark, autumnal evening recently to visit Haddon Hall; this fortified medieval manor house near Bakewell, in the heart of the beautiful Peak District National Park has a rich history, parts date from the Middle Ages. You may recognise it from both the small and large screen; the house has had starring roles in 3 versions of “Jane Eyre”, being a near perfect depiction of Mr Rochester’s Thornfield Hall. You might have also have noticed it’s familiar façade in “Elizabeth”, “Pride & Prejudice” , “The Other Boleyn Girl and “The Princess Bride”. In fact a little bird told us that currently Benedict Cumberbatch is filming Richard III for the BBC. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes open in the neighbourhood.
The reason for our visit was to experience Haddon at Halloween. Who could resist touring the hall by lamp light; hearing historic tales of all hallows eve’s long past and drinking hot cider in the great hall in front of a roaring fire.
Small groups were led by a costumed guide, who gave a themed commentary as we explored the house and grounds. We learned of long ago customs and magic spells.
The house captivated us and our imaginations, so atmospheric were our surroundings that some members of the party let out shrieks of terrified delight when we encountered a veiled lady.
In the kitchens we learned how single ladies would use apples on all hallows eve to predict their future love. One method of divination is to stand before a mirror and cut and apple in half around its middle, the pips and core will resemble a star, whilst eating the cut apple, gaze into a mirror, and a glimpse of any future love may be seen.
Another is to peel an apple in one long curl. If the whole apple can be peeled successfully, using the right hand, throw the length of peel over the left shoulder. A letter should be visible within the twists of peel. Your future loves name begins thus!
The ladies will definitely be returning to Haddon Hall during daylight to fully appreciate its romantic architecture and spellbinding gardens.
- Lady Sky