I have a great excuse for the lack of updates – I’m finally back in England and over the past few weeks I’ve been sorting out my jet lag and preparing for four months of travel, eating, travel, eating and Christmas. And eating. Already I’ve consumed far too many mince pies and fish and chips and it’s only mid-December.
One of the very first places I visited when I landed was something I’ve been meaning to investigate properly for years – Little Moreton Hall. It’s a beautiful authentic Tudor hall situated in Congleton in Cheshire, with the earliest part of the house dated circa 1504-1508 and the latest addition being completed in 1610.
Visiting is a real treat. You really feel like you step back in time when you see over 500 years of history with this picture-book moated manor-house. On first view you cannot help but notice the drunkenly reeling south front, with its Elizabethan long gallery, cobbled courtyard and of course the Great Hall.
Around the back of the property is the historic Knot Garden, together with traditional fruit trees of apple, pear, medlar and quince. When I went this winter, the trees were not in fruit but there was plenty of green and the grass still looked very lush, if a bit soggy from the autumn rain!
Little Moreton Hall was owned by the Moreton family, whose fortunes rose greatly due to the social and religious changes at the time. Due to the black death in 1348 land was available at a cheaper rate. It also helped they were eager tax collectors for the monarch and were royalists. So during the reign of Queen Elizabeth they were able to amass a huge area of land.
Sir Richard de Moreton built the earliest part of the hall, which dates from around the middle of the 15th century. William Moreton, built the kitchen area around 1480. Further building, general improvement and extension work was done by William Moreton II who was born in 1563. He added the 5-side bay windows and rebuilt the east wing of the home.
But nothing lasts forever. The decline of the Moreton family came during the Civil War of 1660 as they sided with the Royalist cause. They family in the 18th century could no longer afford to maintain the property and left, to live close by. Tenant farmers moved in and used the hall. It’s thought the because of this, the home was left in its original state and wasn’t extended or changed due to lack of funds.
At the end of the 19th century Miss Elizabeth Moreton had financed the restoration of the building. But the hall was never to be occupied by the Moreton family again.
The house was granted to the National Trust in 1949 and over time restored to its Elizabethan glory.
For more information on prices and directions, visit the Official Website courtesy of the wonderful people at The National Trust.
So – let’s begin…