Haddon Hall is everyone's idea of an old English country house. Much of it dates from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and is thus a relic ofthe Age of Chivalry. It owes its extraordinary state of preservation, ironically, to neglea For generations it remained empty, though not quite a ruin. Its 'Gothick' appearance attracted artists and poets and even an opera was written around it by Sir Arthur Sullivan. Haddon thus survived the modish architectural foibles of succeeding ages until, like some sleeping beauty, it was given the kiss of life by the 9th Duke of Rutland during the 1920s.
The Manners family inherited Haddon after John Manners, brother of the 2nd Earl of Rutland, married Dorothy one of the co-heiresses of Sir George Vernon 'King of the Peak', the last Vernon of Haddon Hall. Legend has it that Manners eloped with Dorothy Vernon, but there would seem to be no reason why this should be and it has never been proved. The Vernons had lived at Haddon for four centuries inheriting it from the Avenels who came there in 1153. Thus the present Duke of Rutland holds the property in direct descent from that date.
The magnificent Banqueting Hall is 14th century and the Long Gallery with its Renaissance panelling and diamond-pane windows, contains a large painting by Rex Whistler of the 9th Duke and his son, the 10th Duke.
The Chapel has medieval wall paintings and a fune marble monument to a young boy - Lord Haddon, the son of Violet Duchess of Rutland (he was the older brother of the 9th Duke). The Duchess herself designed the monument which has rounder portraits of other members of the family, including Lady Diana Manners, better known as Lady Diana Cooper.
The story of Haddon and its architecture is too long to embark on here, but it is all well set out in the guide book.
The house is open to the public at regular times during the summer months. For details apply to: The Curator, Estate Office, Haddon Hall, Bakewell (Telephone 01629 812855).
Open: Summer Months